Friday, September 28, 2012

Government funding of faith-based nonprofits

It was interesting to read about how Hennepin County tax dollars are being spent.  Listed among many  organizations in the county's 2011 financial statement recipients in the Public Aid category were: 

Catholic Charities: $293,526
Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, $150,264
Jewish Family and Children’s Services, $587,608
Lutheran Social Services, $566,912

Many faith-based organizations, such as these, rely heavily on county, state and federal tax dollars to provide services.  So, when it is suggested that the government slash funding for social services, and allow churches, temples, mosques and faith based organizations to pick up the slack, it would dramatically reduce services provided by many faith-based nonprofits serving those in need. 

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has a strong expectation of its members to give 10 percent to the church, some of which is targeted to help out Mormans in need. This level of giving is not nearly as great among most other religious groups.  Even though individual giving to places of worship may be high, they commonly prioritize their own financial needs (church mortage, pastor, music, lights, heat…) before feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, or caring for orphans, the mentally/physically ill, children and the elderly. Knowing that churches and faith-based groups can't do it alone, we developed a social contract in this country that includes paying taxes to care for those most in need.

An article “How Romney/Ryan would undermine churches and faith-based charities" elaborates how unrealistic it would be for the faith community to adequately respond to proposed government cuts.  There is simply no way on God's green earth that faith-based organizations and places of worship could  or would fill the void left by taking away tax supported medicare, medicaid, food stamps, and social security. If we remove the safety net there will be millions of people falling through, with little if anything to support them.

Some of us were born with strong family connections, bright minds, good looks, physical and mental health, the right color and gender, enjoyed nutritional meals, were competitive, lived in safe neighborhoods, attended the right schools, and made good investments. Others were far less fortunate. Some call taxes to support those less fortunate a "redistribution of wealth", for others it is simply a just and compassionate response.

1 comment:

  1. yes, I believe this; your last paragraph sums it up well!