Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"uncharitable" things to say about Rick Perry's charitable contributions?

In Jacob Sullum's article in Reason about the 10th Amendment and presidential politics, he opens with this: 

Evidently Rick Perry is a Christian. But does he have to make such a big deal out of it?"

Sullum says he's not that bothered by his faith, but is more concerned with what he sees as his flip-flopping on the 10th Amendment. But Christians should be concerned, especially if they're in danger of being played by another politician. 

After living in Austin for two decades I know many Perry political allies, critics, and former staffers. They've helped me to develop a preliminary Perry SWOT analysis—strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats...

In the eyes of conservatives, Perry's strengths are many...deep convictions and is willing to take heat for them...politically shrewd...strongly committed to free enterprise and free trade...solidly conservative judicial appointments...for border protection but is also attuned to Hispanics...backed a school voucher bill...[and a variety of restrictions on abortion]...

Perry, 61, has been married for 29 years to his childhood sweetheart, Anita...Perry for years attended the mainline Tarrytown United Methodist Church but now goes to Lake Hills, an evangelical megachurch. A half-dozen years ago he became more publicly evangelical. Only God knows whether the change is primarily theological or political...

Along the same lines as Olasky's questions about his faith-- and far more disconcerting, here's Emily Belz in World on Perry's contributions to church and charity-- one more area where he is uncomfortably close to Al Gore and many other "compassionate" Democratic politicians. 

...despite his public commitment to his faith, Perry has given a pittance of his income to Christian organizations. Since 2000, Perry and his wife Anita have donated to churches $12,668—or 0.47 percent of their income—according to their personal tax returns. They have not donated personal income to any other Christian nonprofits...In 2007, when he reported income of over $1 million, he gave $90 to his church. 

In total, his charitable giving is a bit better: He and his wife have given 3.3 percent of their income over the last decade...the most money to the Texas Governor's Mansion Restoration Fund, and the second most to the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, an organization where his wife is a consultant.

The only candidate other than Perry to publish his personal tax returns is President Barack Obama. Obama has slowly edged up his giving, from under 1 percent of his income in 2000, to 1.4 percent in 2003, then up to 6 percent in 2006, and peaking at 13.6 percent last year...

One could say uncharitable things about Perry's charitable contributions. At minimum, it seems clear that, at least in this one area of his life, he is not a disciple of Jesus who is comfortable in the goodness of God's kingdom. 


At September 27, 2011 at 7:32 PM , Blogger Bryce Raley said...

Once in office, I'm sure he would be really good at giving our money away like the rest.

Hope more evangelicals see this, since Perry seems to have traction in the tea party movement that Ron Paul started. Wait a minute. Did I say that out loud?

At September 28, 2011 at 2:15 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

To clarify (based on a few comments from Facebook): One might reasonably wonder whether he was keeping his contributions anonymous-- left hand not letting the right hand know, etc. But he repeatedly claimed (modest) charitable contributions to churches and other entities.


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