The mainstream media is biased, so they have no problem posturing with some Harvard religious bigotry.
When you hear an “expert” prattling on about something, remember: He may be a totally ignorant, bigoted, and biased yahoo popping off about his own pet cause and ideology—and be totally and completely wrong.
Robert D. Putnam is Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. Sounds like an amazing title, and a smart guy, right? Well, he was quoted in the Washington Post saying Christian churches and groups give lots of money to social issues—like abortion and marriage—and almost nothing to poverty relief.
Being especially generous, the author of the essay at this link shows that such policy donations total—at most—$270 million last year, while contributions to provide medical care, disaster relief, and other services of compassion far surpassed $100 billion (and given the few facts cited, I think that’s a significant underestimate of the reality).
See the commentary from the Religious News Service for yourself: “On conservative religious activism, the numbers speak for themselves.” Here’s one part of it:
This is utter nonsense, to the point of absurdity.
Broadly speaking, American churches are incredibly generous to the needs of a hurting world.
As noted by The Philanthropy Roundtable:
“In 2009, overseas relief and development supported by American churches exceeded $13 billion, according to path-breaking calculations by the Hudson Center for Global Prosperity. (This includes not just evangelical churches but also Catholic and mainline Protestant congregations, and covers both direct missions work and donations to private relief groups.) That compares to $5 billion sent abroad by foundations in the same year, $6 billion from private and voluntary relief organizations apart from church support, and $9 billion donated internationally by corporations. The $13 billion in religious overseas philanthropy also compares impressively to the $29 billion of official development aid handed out by the federal government in 2009.”
So, what of the apparent specific targets of Mr. Putnam’s dismissive, patronizing crack?
In 2012 alone, the evangelical relief group World Vision spent “roughly $2.8 billion annually to care for the poor,” according to World Vision U.S. President Richard Stearns. “That would rank World Vision about 12th within the G-20 nations in terms of overseas development assistance.”
$100 billion versus a generously figured $270 million—that’s around 400 times more for helping the downtrodden than for the issues named by Mr. Harvard Expert.
Think Harvard “experts” and journalists are unbiased? Pfft. Think again.
As the author here concludes: “Mr. Putnam might be a fine political scientist, but he needs remedial education in arithmetic.” I think that’s being very… um… charitable. Personally, I don’t think I’d put much of any stock in Mr. Putnam’s views on politics, either.
As for the Washington Post, this is yet one more example that journalism is far, far, far, from the unbiased reporter of facts it’s supposed to be. Everyone has an agenda, and the most dangerous people are those who tell you they don’t have one.