The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue has found a new reason to snipe at atheists and other irreligious folks: They (supposedly) aren’t as charitable as religious people, and are thus a burden on society! Or something.
The top religion story of 2012 was The Chronicle of Philanthropy survey of American charitable giving, “How America Gives”; it was released in August. Its central finding was that the more religious a city or state is, the more charitable it is; conversely, the more secular an area is, the more miserly the people are.
The findings are consistent with other studies. It suggests that the rise of the “nones”—those who have no religious affiliation—are a social liability for the nation. It also shows that those who live in the most liberal areas of the nation are precisely the ones who do the least to combat poverty. They talk a good game—liberals are always screaming about the horrors of poverty—but in the end they find it difficult to open their wallets.
There is little doubt that the “nones” and liberals (there is a lot of overlap) are living off the social capital of the most religious persons in the nation. Perhaps there is some way this can be reflected in the tax code.
Of course, the reality is quite different: The only reason why more religious states appear to outperform more secular states in how much people give to charity on average is because most pollsters include money given to churches and other explicitly religious institutions as “charity”, which understandably and unfairly skews the numbers. It’s not as if “religious nones” had any centralized faithless organization to which they donated a faction of their yearly earnings. In fact, unskewing those numbers seems to indicate the precise contrary – that less religious regions are actually more charitable on average.
What’s more, there’s actually research that seems to indicate that secular folk may be driven more by compassion for others and less by some sense of duty to church or doctrine. You know, in case you needed yet another reminder that religion and faith in some deity aren’t useful factors in determining how good or caring any given person is.
So, with that in mind … who, exactly, should be getting higher taxes, here, Bill?