The Real Skinflints

Townhall.com Church Colson January 4, 2007

America’s Charity Divide

Are conservatives and Christians becoming too narrow and selfish? Are we hypocritical skinflints, indifferent to the suffering of the needy?

The liberals say so. But is it true? Do conservatives and Christians really love their money more than they do the poor?

A new book by an expert on charity says: absolutely not. The real skinflints, he writes, are secular liberals.

Arthur Brooks, professor at Syracuse University, writes in his new book, titled Who Really Cares, that he grew up in a liberal home and accepted one of the liberal political nostrums: that the political left “is compassionate and charitable toward the less fortunate, but the political right is oblivious to suffering.”

“If you had asked me a few years ago to sum up the character of American conservatives,” he writes, “I would have said they were hard-headed pragmatists who were willing to throw your grandmother out into the snow to preserve some weird ideal of self-reliance.”

But his own research forced him to change his mind. Religious conservatives give more, and do more, for the poor than anyone else. By contrast, liberals, who tend both to be irreligious and to believe that government can and should redistribute income, tend to be far stingier.

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