Recently, the Chronicle of Philanthropy released a study titled “Faith and Giving” that found that
…residents in states where religious participation is higher than the rest of the nation, especially in the South, gave the greatest percentage of discretionary income to charity.
The same study, which was based on 2008 IRS records, found that states with the fewest religious residents are the stingiest about giving to charity.
Lee Habeeb cites the study in his article titled “God, Mammon, and Leviathan”, concluding that while the study isn’t necessarily breaking news to most people, it is the interpretation of that study by a few that lead Habeeb to comment that “…paying higher taxes is an act of altruism. It is an act of charity.”
Habeeb arrives at that conclusion after reading the remarks of Alan Wolfe, a political science professor at Boston College. Wolfe, when asked to interpret the findings of the study responded by stating,
It’s wrong to link a state’s religious makeup with its generosity. People in less religious states are giving in a different way by being more willing to pay higher taxes so the government can equitably distribute superior benefits.
Habeeb interprets what Wolfe is really saying.
The government has a kind of quasi-religious status to many on the left. Government, for them, is the institution best situated to solve our nation’s toughest social and spiritual problems. For many on the left who have no religion, Wolfe seemed to be saying, government is their charity. Government is their . . . religion.
He goes on to quote G. K. Chesterton, who says,
When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.
In many European countries, the reigning sentiment is that there is no need to give to the Church because the government is busy doling out benefits to the needy. Churches suffer, and, even more, society suffers.
The mission of the Church in this world is clear. Sharing and preaching and singing and living the Gospel to the glory of God – that’s the purpose of the Church. The freedom to live and proclaim the Gospel is why this nation was born, and its governing principles find influence from God’s Word.
We need God. And, a majority of Americans believe that. September 12, 2001 testifies to that.