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January 8, 2007

Who really cares?


I read a Chicago Tribune review of Arthur Brooks’ book, Who Really Cares? The Surprising Truth about Who is Charitable, Who Isn’t and Why it Matters for America. Brooks, professor of public administration at Syracuse University, argues that how much a person gives of their time or money is usually considered an important indicator of character.

He concludes that liberal secularists are the least charitable, favoring the state to meet societal needs, while religious political conservatives are twice as likely as liberals to give to charity in a given year. Interestingly, the most generous Americans, measured as a share of their income, are the working poor, followed by the rich and middle class.

The book review got me thinking more about the important role we all have, whether we are liberal, conservative or somewhere-in-between, in helping those in need by giving generously of our time and treasure. The review also reminded me that our government has a responsibility in providing a more just society.

If giving generously indicates character, I wonder what giving generously plus working for justice might mean. I don’t know, but wouldn’t it be great if we all strived for that in 2007?

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