Liberals are the least likely to help the poor. That’s the inescapable conclusion of this new study: states where people participate in religion at a high rate are also the most generous; conversely, the least generous states are also the least religious. Importantly, nine of the ten least generous states voted for Obama in 2008.
This new study is consistent with previous research. Sociologists Mark D. Regnerus and David Sikkink looked at the data gathered by the Religious Identity and Influence Survey and concluded that the more religious a person is, the more likely he is to give to the poor; those who are nonreligious give the least. In his book Who Really Cares, Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, examined this issue in depth. He concluded that “Religious people are far more charitable than nonreligious people.” Similarly, in their book American Grace, David Campbell of Notre Dame and Robert Putnam of Harvard found that religious people are more generous than nonreligious people.
It is well known that liberals are far more likely than conservatives to be nonreligious. It is also well known that liberals talk endlessly about poverty. Yet in their daily lives they do the least about it: they volunteer the least; they give less blood; they are less likely to help someone find a job; and they donate the least. Their idea of charity is to have the government raise taxes, i.e., take money from others, and spend it on welfare programs.
The data have grave implications this election season. Paul Ryan is being lectured by liberals—the most miserly people in the nation—for not being responsive to the poor. It doesn’t get more absurd than this. Not until liberals catch up with conservatives in their charitable giving are they in a position to lecture anyone about the poor.