There is an idea going around that private charity can and should replace public anti-poverty programs. As leaders of both faith and charitable organizations, we need to articulate the importance of both private charity and public programs to improve the lives of those in need.
I highly recommend this opinion piece - "Paying Taxes and Giving to Charity Aren’t the Same Thing" - in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. In it, Mark Rosenman takes on the idea that private charity can replace government programs, and that in effect taxes are a form of charity. Rosenman writes, “By claiming that they should be able to make voluntary charitable contributions rather than pay taxes is for the wealthy to demand the right to decide what is best for the rest of us. It is the wealthy placing themselves outside and above the public will. It is an elite demand for undue and illegitimate influence in the democratic process.” He concludes, “The leaders of charities, as well as everyone else who cares about the common good, need to challenge the notion that private avarice—no matter what the false promise of additional philanthropy—is no substitute for public responsibility.”
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