“There are cases of rich helping poor … but I have not seen a lot of them.”

My friend John (who blogs here) has returned to the States for meetings, grant-writing, and visits to develop interest in our student trips to Honduras. Nice feature in the local media. The article contains links if you would want to help John’s ministry there.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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7 Responses to “There are cases of rich helping poor … but I have not seen a lot of them.”

  1. R.C. says:

    Of course you haven’t “seen a lot of them,” even though it happens *constantly* among the well-heeled Christians in the U.S.

    One is not supposed to let one’s right hand know what one’s left hand is doing. Any wealthy Christian who gives heavily to the poor is required by Christ not to let a lot of people know about it. If he does, “he has his reward”; that is, he gets brief terrestrial approval, but no treasures stored up in heaven.

    Which is why only the people who prepare their taxes know how profoundly generous some higher-income Christians really are.

    “Rich people” are not all of a piece, and I happen to know one such who was regularly giving away a quarter of his income by the time he died. He still lived in a nice house — not as nice as he might have had, but way better than mine — and few knew all the folks he helped until after he died. But that is the way he wanted it: He got his reward, eventually, with interest, from the One he most wanted to please.

    Now that’s just one anecdote; it doesn’t constitute statistical evidence. But the statistical evidence supports my contention as well, at least for ONE side of the political spectrum in the U.S.

    Those on the right-ward leaning side of the political spectrum in the U.S. give far more than their political opponents, on average. The data are roughly as follows: At all levels of income (including the very wealthy), conservative-leaning Americans give roughly twice as much money (both in absolute dollars, and as a percentage of their income) to charity as leftward-leaning Americans. And they also give blood more often, and volunteer in the community more often.

    I don’t know if this is what you meant by your post, but it seems to me that well-to-do Christians in the U.S. get a bad rap as being a bunch of hymn-singing Scrooges — quick to be judgmental, but never giving the poor a hand. This impression is amplified since they’re often associated with conservative political causes (e.g. opposition to abortion) and conservatives are caricatured in popular media as stingy and uncaring.

    But this comes from a misleading public impression, which itself is a consequence of doing exactly what Christ told them to do: Not making a big show of their charity.

    Lacking this data, the public judge high-income Christians on more easily-seen criteria, such as their declared political party loyalty or policy positions re: the welfare state.

    This is also misleading, since those conservative-leaning Americans (who give more to charity than any other segment of U.S. society) mostly oppose the welfare state for various reasons, including that they believe it to be harmful to the poor.

    For those of them who are Catholics, the “preferential option for the poor” requires them both to give generously (as they do, at least compared to other Americans) and to campaign against enlarging the welfare state. By doing this, they do their duty to prevent further harm to the poor in the U.S.

    As a result, the only visible (public) measurement by which their love for the poor can be measured — support for the welfare state — gives entirely erroneous results. Those who erroneously assume that stinginess or hard-heartedness are the only plausible reasons for opposing the welfare state conclude falsely that those who oppose it are hard-hearted and stingy…when in fact they’re the ones whose voluntary donations make up the bulk of the charitable giving in the United States!

    Anyhow, that injustice, that libel, of conservatives, or of Christians with money, in the U.S. has rubbed me the wrong way since I became aware how comparatively unjust it was. Perhaps I misunderstood your intent, and you weren’t perpetuating that criticism. But if you were, please be careful to level it where it’s deserved.

  2. Todd says:

    In the article, John was speaking of Hondurans, I believe.

    I’m not entirely convinced, by the way, that charity should be a wholly private thing. Catechumens and children need good examples, and if generous parents, godparents, and others won’t show the way, who will teach them?

    Thanks, however, for the commentary.

  3. dymphna says:

    At my parish we feed 100s of homeless. Where do you think the money comes from? We have some very wealthy parishioners who pony up. If the parish had to rely on me or most of the folks in the pews the meals program would have to be dropped.

  4. Sandra says:

    Me and my husband are disabled and having finacial problems. Are bills are higher than what we have to live on. If there is any one that can help we would be so gratefull. We don’t want to loose our home. Sandy Kukarola from Granite City IL.

  5. Sandra says:

    I shared with this website that I really need help finacally. I live at 2213 Washington Ave Granite City IL 62040. Our mailing address is PO BOX 1242 Granite City IL 62040. We owe almost 50000. I would be so grateful if some one had the money to help us. Sandy Kukarola

  6. Sandra says:

    Well me and my husband will be moving soon. We are going to have to give up our home. We are sad about this. Sandy Kukarola

  7. we are a group of maasai women who are devoted in changing the lives of our people and the face of our community. we live in the remotest part of kenya beneath mount kilimanjaro. we are facing many challenges and we will accept any help you would offer us. we are called: ENKII GREENLAND WELFARE GROUP. what do we do?

    1. descouraging female genital mutilation
    2. teaching about enviromental conservation
    3. finding sponsors to fund poor unfortunate kid’s education.
    4. creating awareness about HIV/AIDS.
    5. teaching about drug abuse and early pregnancies.

    we also accept clothes, shoes, stationery, learning materials, long lasting foods, e.t.c. you can ship these things or send them through post office to: p.o box, 282 loitokitok 00209, kenya, east africa.

    you can reach us on tel: (254) 712619180
    (254) 737253649
    write to us on: periskaranja2010@yahoo.com
    send your donations to barclays bank account number 016 – 4560732, bank swift code BARCKENX
    WE ARE FOREVER THANKFUL. MAY GOD BLESS YOU.

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