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Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.


Why Blue-Staters May Not 'Get' Using Faith-Based Organizations  | e-mail post

I know a a number of people who point to Bush's belief in using faith-based organizations to deliver services often provided by the government as another indication of his rabid attempts to further the aims of religion in the U.S.. I have always attributed it to more economically-sound reasoning: namely, these organizations have centuries of experience providing these services, a large infrastructure in place, and a far lower cost structure for providing the services (as the people who provide them are often volunteers or are paid less than government employees). Believe me, if I had $100,000 to give to help the poor, I'm pretty sure it would go a lot farther being distributed through a church, synagogue or mosque than it would going through a federal agency.

But maybe another reason why many blue-staters didn't get it is that they don't understand how important charity, of the non-governmental variety, is. The Catalogue for Philanthropy started computing a Generosity Index to "summarize Massachusetts' and New England's greatest problem in philanthropy: that we have the nation's largest gap between our ranks in income and our ranks in charitable giving." The Generosity Index makes clear which states are the most charitable, and the least charitable, color-coded here in traditional red and blue.

State Having
Rank
Giving
Rank
Rank
Relation
Generosity
Index
Mississippi 50 6 44 1
Arkansas 47 5 42 2
South Dakota 45 8 37 3
Oklahoma 43 10 33 4
Alabama 41 9 32 5
Tennessee 35 3 32 6
Louisiana 44 12 32 7
Utah 30 2 28 8
South Carolina 39 14 25 9
Idaho 42 20 22 10
North Dakota 46 29 17 11
Wyoming 18 1 17 12
Texas 19 4 15 13
West Virginia 48 33 15 14
Nebraska 34 21 13 15
North Carolina 27 15 12 16
Florida 21 13 8 17
Kansas 26 19 7 18
Missouri 29 23 6 19
Georgia 16 11 5 20
New Mexico 37 32 5 21
Montana 49 45 4 22
Kentucky 40 38 2 23
Alaska 25 27 -2 24
New York 4 7 -3 25
Indiana 28 31 -3 26
Iowa 36 42 -6 27
Ohio 33 43 -10 28
California 6 17 -11 29
Washington 11 22 -11 30
Maine 38 49 -11 31
Maryland 5 18 -13 32
Hawaii 31 44 -13 33
Delaware 14 28 -14 34
Illinois 10 24 -14 35
Pennsylvania 22 36 -14 36
Connecticut 1 16 -15 37
Vermont 32 47 -15 38
Virginia 9 25 -16 39
Oregon 24 41 -17 40
Colorado 7 26 -19 41
Arizona 20 40 -20 42
Michigan 17 37 -20 43
Nevada 13 34 -21 44
Wisconsin 23 46 -23 45
Minnesota 12 39 -27 46
Massachusetts 3 30 -27 47
New Jersey 2 35 -33 48
Rhode Island 15 50 -35 49
New Hampshire 8 48 -40 50

I imagine this is skewed by church contributions, however, I don't think that can account for the entire discrepancy, particularly given that church attendance figures are similar when you compare states like Minnesota and Mississippi. Moreover, setting aside the issue of church donations being used for charitable causes even secularists would agree are non-religious, I suspect that the teachings of most religions about the importance of caring for one's fellow man encourage higher contributions of all within the flock.

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Sunday, November 14, 2004
Comments:
Just found you site a couple of days ago and have already RSS'd it. Good work.
Anecdotally, this index can also demonstrate one of the failings of Blue State candidates. For all the populist talk of raising the lower classes, the candidate's constituents appear to be the least willing to do this themselves.
I should add that I just recently moved from New Hampshire and can add that while Massachusetts and the rest of New England suffer from a hearty dose of snobbery that prevents them from understanding what true need is, New Hampshirites are simply cheap skates.
 
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