[FoRK] What Americans Do...

Russell Turpin deafbox at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 5 08:23:03 PST 2005

Luis Villa:
>While I'm not a huge fan of the WSJ, particularly
>their editorial page, they point out that on average,
>individuals in the US give in the range of 5-8 times as much money annually 
>to charity as individuals in western european countries..

Many Americans belong to churches where tithing
is a normal practice. The question in my mind is the
degree to which this should count as charity. Some
of the money goes to feeding the poor, building
shelters, and many other commendable activities.
Some of it goes to funding preachers and churches.
And a large amount of it is mixed -- feeding the poor
and building shelters are an effective way to spread

For those of us who see the spread of religion as
something separate from charitable aid, the question
then becomes how to count all those "charitable"
dollars. When someone gives twenty dollars to a
Christian mission, is there any way to say that ten
of a it went to helping the poor, and ten to
proselytizing? And should the latter simply be
discounted? Or subtracted, to make up for the
poor having to suffer a preacher with their soup?

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