May 18, 2015

MEGAN MCARDLE ON THE LEFT, THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT, AND THE POOR:

Conservative Christians are taking part in the “national conversation” on poverty. They’re also taking action. If there is a society-wide effort to fight poverty, it is arguably the secular folks who are shirking.

There’s a common trope among liberals, that many Christians are abdicating Christ’s message by focusing on stupid issues like sexual morality and abortion rather than his true message about serving the poor. This shows ignorance about how conservative religious denominations actually operate. Why do so many people hold such a distorted view? It’s a product of availability bias: If you don’t actually interact much with those churches, then your understanding is shaped by the politically controversial stories about abortion and gay marriage. These are readily called to mind because they are perennially discussed, while the vast work that churches do to help struggling people, day in and day out, goes unremarked.

Well, there’s also a general agenda to demonize and marginalize conservative Christians throughout the media, so this isn’t just an accident. Plus:

To put it another way: What if conservative Christians started saying that secular liberals don’t care about poverty, and the only way liberals could show their human decency would be to step up charitable donations to the same level as conservative religious people, get active in efforts to provide private assistance, take in foster kids, and aggressively support stable nuclear families through a combination of exhortation and social sanction? It doesn’t feel quite fair, right?

I dunno, it seems pretty fair to me to suggest that people should put their money where their mouth is, instead of demonstrating their “compassion” largely through a willingness to redistribute other people’s money.

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