Cheat Sheet Q&A - Part 1: Government assistance vs. direct charitable assistance:
Today's Entry: Hi Brian, As I was driving to work this morning and listening to the Morning Rush, I paid special attention to the discussion of defunding food stamps and Meals on Wheels and the behavior of G-d fearing people. I have a few comments/questions on this. Keep in mind that we are at opposite ends of the spectrum on politics and religion. I am a female Jewish Democrat/ Semi-Liberal woman, however, I am married to a Catholic who chose #45 as the lesser of two evils and I respect everyone's right to their opinions.
As you know, people all over FB are complaining about cuts to MOW, senior citizens, and families. I was thinking the same thing until I heard your explanation of the amount that actually goes to MOW and that taxpayers are filling some bigwigs coffers. You added that we'd all be better off if we donated directly and you said, "G-d fearing people will do the right thing. "I understand that you are a religious Catholic and I respect that, but I wonder why you involved G-d. I began to think about the term G-d fearing and what it meant. Do people do the right thing only because they are afraid of G-d's wrath and not simply because they are caring people? Aren't there people out there who are kind and generous but aren't afraid of a higher being? I guess what I'm saying is that I believe we should not bring G-d into every discussion because everyone has a different belief or is merely spiritual. Giving from the heart is, IMHO, much better than giving out of fear. But then again, maybe that's what you meant. I personally only give to charities which spend 100% on their cause such as Make A Wish.
Bottom Line: I greatly appreciate your thoughtful email. It really made my day for reasons that aren't even really related to this topic. Ashley tells me at least once a week that we need to do a better job collectively bringing Jewish and Christian people together because we're really just friends in this together.
You're absolutely right about your assessment regarding where I was coming from. Sometimes when I'm making an impassioned plea, the specific choice of wording could be more effective. Jim used to tell me that frequently. Your note made me really think about why I/we do what we do. If I'm thinking about what the real motivation is behind charitable efforts I engage in and am being completely honest with myself the reasons would be in this order:
I was raised that way
I feel a sense of responsibility
It's the right thing to do
Candidly, there's not really a "what would God want me to do?" component to it but my belief in God is probably the reason why those are the considerations that come to mind. Also, I personally don't fear God. You also reminded me of a couple of stories from my father that are related to this topic. Both in terms of how I was influenced and also how government can be the enemy of altruism. Those are part of today's 2nd part of the Cheat Sheet Q&A...