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A gift certificate for a local grocery store is written out for fishermen and their families at an aid station on May 20, 2010 in Port Sulphur, Louisiana. The Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans distributed the vouchers to families affected by the BP oil spill.
The ongoing calls for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to issue additional years of his tax returns haven’t ceased.
Romney has faced criticism for his reasoning — that doing so would violate his religious freedom because it would reveal exactly how much money he has tithed to his Mormon church. Democrats continue to press the issue, but should they be so vocal about taking a look at charitable contributions?
According to philanthropy.com, a website that tracks charitable giving state-by-state, Utah tops the list of giving, with residents donating 10.2 percent of their discretionary income to charities. Utah is a solidly red state and went for John McCain 62 percent to 24 percent in 2008 and it has a large Mormon contingent.
Blue state New Hampshire is bringing up the rear with residents of the ‘The Granite State’ donating only 2.5 percent of their discretionary income to philanthropic organizations. But if you tweak the numbers to remove donations to religious charities the giving evens out some.
Historically, many charitable organizations are affiliated with a particular religion so is it possible to separate the giving from faith? And why the disparity? Do liberals not put their money where their bleeding hearts are or is there something wrong with the math?
Arnold Steinberg, political strategist and analyst; a libertarian-conservative long associated with Republican campaigns
Peter Panepento, assistant managing editor of The Chronicle of Philanthropy