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5 - Catholic Charities, Religion, and Philanthropy

Thomas J Davis Indiana University Press ePub

Fred Kammer, S.J.

THIS ESSAY FOCUSES on Catholic Charities in the United States—what it does, how it is funded, and how it faces the tensions of philanthropy and Catholic identity. In the Catholic Charities world, the framework for this consideration is captured in a single word: pluralism. This essay explains the network's understanding of pluralism, how the faith-based debates of the past two decades did or did not affect Catholic Charities, and, using “the pluralism diamond,” the tensions experienced by a religiously affiliated social service network, the ways to maintain balance and identity amid those tensions, and the rationale for religiously affiliated social service agencies to partner with government, the largest funder of social services in the country.

It may be helpful at first to understand that the Catholic Charities USA network is not a single national organization with local branches like the Boy Scouts of America, the Salvation Army, or the Red Cross. Because the Catholic Church is structured in individual dioceses and because of the grassroots histories of these ministries, the Catholic Charities agencies are largely “homegrown.” (Dioceses are administrative divisions of the Roman Catholic Church that are generally based upon geographical areas as large as a single state [for example, Idaho or Wyoming] or as “small” as a large metropolitan area [such as Boston or Washington, D.C.].1) Many agencies are organized as a single not-for-profit corporation within a single diocese—for example, Catholic Community Services of Baton Rouge. They also may have different names, such as “Catholic Charities,” “Catholic Social Services,” or “Catholic Family Services.”

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9 - Philanthropic Decisions of American Jews: The Influence of Religious Identity on Charitable Choices

Thomas J Davis Indiana University Press ePub

The Influence of Religious Identity on Charitable Choices

Arnold Dashefsky and Bernard Lazerwitz

A tourist to a foreign country entered the premier concert hall in the capital for a tour and inquired of the guide, “Is this hall named after the famous prize-winning author?” “No,” replied the tour guide, “it is named after a local person.” “So,” inquired the tourist of the guide, “what great work did your local author write?” To which, the tour guide replied, “A check!” Gifts of charity are generally viewed as generous, selfless acts, but Marcel Mauss and other social scientists noted that there is a payoff of some sort to the giver, although it may be viewed by some as in this world (i.e., social recognition or psychic gratification) or by others as in the next world (i.e., eternal salvation or a heavenly abode).1

Despite these rewards, a specter is haunting American society and the European community. It is the specter of devolution—the devolution of the responsibility for the poor, the ill, and the infirm from the government to the citizenry. This essay examines the conditions under which charity may fill the gap. Charity and philanthropy are conceptualized as part of the literature on gift exchange in society. Such gifts have reached extraordinarily high levels in recent years in the United States: $260 billion in 2004, representing 2.1 percent of GDP, with about three-quarters of that sum (or $199 billion) coming from individuals.2 The largest beneficiaries of those charitable gifts in 2004 were religious congregations and denominations, which received $93 billion or 36 percent of total contributions. That religion should receive the largest share of such contributions is not surprising since charity is a central tenet in the major religious traditions.

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4 - Heartbroken for God's World: The Story of Bob Pierce, Founder of World Vision and Samaritan's Purse

Thomas J Davis Indiana University Press ePub

The Story of Bob Pierce, Founder of World Vision and Samaritan's Purse

David P. King

AS FOUNDER OF both World Vision and Samaritan's Purse, Bob Pierce may rank as the leading religious philanthropist of the twentieth century. He first visited China as an evangelist in 1947. Upon his arrival, a Dutch Reformed missionary, Tena Hoelkeboer, invited him to preach to her school of four hundred Chinese girls. Pierce agreed, but, the day after his short evangelistic sermon, one of Hoelkeboer's students, White Jade, informed her father that she had converted to Christianity. Her father's response was to throw her out of the house. Hoelkeboer, distressed at the prospect of taking on yet another orphan, demanded of Pierce, “What are you going to do about it?”1 Pierce gave Hoelkeboer ten dollars, all the money he had, and promised to send more each month on his return to the United States. After his return home, Pierce recounted the story to his American audiences, and it continues to be retold as the origin of both World Vision and Samaritan's Purse. Pierce's initial overseas encounter changed him. He had gone as a young American evangelist but returned as a missionary ambassador, bringing both the spiritual and physical needs of the world to the attention of American evangelicals.2

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6 - “Intelligent Leadership in the Cause of Racial Brotherhood”: Quakers, Social Science, and the American Friends Service Committee's Interwar Racial Activism

Thomas J Davis Indiana University Press ePub

Quakers, Social Science, and the American Friends Service Committee's Interwar Racial Activism

Allan W. Austin

RECALLING THE EARLY years of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Rufus Jones wrote that he and the organization's first members, “conscious of a divine leading,” had gone to work “aware, even if only dimly, that we were ‘fellow-laborers with God’ in the rugged furrows of the somewhat brambly fields of the world.”1 Jones's remark reveals a fundamental characteristic of Quaker religious identity: a belief in “the duty of Friends to live their faith and in so doing make the world a better place.”2 The many Quaker books of discipline today with “faith and practice” in their titles bear clear witness to this enduring foundational tenet of Quaker identity. The 1997 edition of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting's Faith and Practice, for example, connects belief and activism in Friends’ testimonies, which it describes as “expressions of lives turned toward the Light, outward expressions reflective of the inward experience of divine leading.”3

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1 - New Wineskins or New Wine? The Evolution of Ecumenical Humanitarian Assistance

Thomas J Davis Indiana University Press ePub

The Evolution of Ecumenical Humanitarian Assistance

Elizabeth G. Ferris

THIS IS THE story of the global ecumenical movement and the way it has structured its philanthropic action in response to the needs of the world—and the needs of its members. In particular, it is the story of six decades of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and its many related organizations as they have grappled with the question of Christian responsibility to the poor and needy, to refugees, and to victims of floods, tsunamis, and earthquakes. The focus of this essay is on ecumenical humanitarian response—a term that perhaps needs some unpacking. An “ecumenical response” is one in which churches work together in their humanitarian action and see themselves as part of the global movement toward Christian unity. “Humanitarian response” refers to those actions toward people in immediate need or for people who are victims of conflicts, natural disasters, or oppressive governments. In its ideal form, humanitarian work is shaped by the basic principles of humanity, independence, impartiality, and neutrality.

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