Why are Americans the most philanthropic people in the world? I am not talking about the taxpayer money that our Congress wastes on well-meaning but poorly run United Nations programs or the government-to-government foreign aid that sinks in the pockets and the Swiss accounts of corrupt bureaucrats and politicians abroad. It is people like you and me who donate on average more than a thousand dollars per year to our preferred charities that makes the difference. What we give as individuals alone adds up to twice as much as the entire gross domestic product of Central America. Including the value of all the goods and services we produce as volunteers, one wonders what would be the least painful way to dismantle the system of entitlements that is pushing our economy closer and closer to the edge of bankruptcy?
In his book Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism," economist Arthur Brooks examines the real reason why Americans are so charitable. The fact that millions of them are reminded every Sunday to love their neighbors as they love themselves plays a major role. Nine out of 10 people who regularly worship God also give regularly to the needy compared to only two out of three among the "non-religious" folks. Christians are also much more generous with their time-two out of three people who hear sermons on ministering to the old, the sick, the orphans, the widows, the sojourners, and the poor actually go out and do it compared to less than half of those who sleep late on their weekends. And no, churchgoers do not just support religious charities-they are also significantly more likely to support financially various secular causes and are twice as likely to donate blood than people who have not figured out what those churches are all about.
Why are Americans so concerned about the needy? Because God sent a child about 2,000 years ago to show us how much He cares for our needs.