Kristof on faith-based giving

A root problem is a liberal snobbishness toward faith-based organizations. Those doing the sneering typically give away far less money than evangelicals. They’re also less likely to spend vacations volunteering at, say, a school or a clinic in Rwanda.

Read the article. Then read this article. See the comments – I was being unreasonably snarky and I take it back (a reasonable rule of thumb is: don’t blog at the end of a long day).

3 thoughts on “Kristof on faith-based giving

  1. KS

    February 28, 2010 at 8:52pm

    Just what is your point Matt? Did you read the article?

    The point Kristof seems to be making was that US conservative evangelicals are improving and making a bigger impact and that they and liberals should try to come together on their common humanitarian concern – the paragraph that followed, which you chose not to quote:
    If secular liberals can give up some of their snootiness, and if evangelicals can retire some of their sanctimony, then we all might succeed together in making greater progress against common enemies of humanity, like illiteracy, human trafficking and maternal mortality.

    I can randomly select an example of large scale corruption in any agency’s work. The article you’re pointing out to us doesn’t seem to be at all relevant. Kristof certainly wasn’t arguing that World Vision is a perfect organization.

    What’s really annoying in his article, to me, is his idea that World Vision International, Save the Children, and CARE are U.S. based organizations. They’re all international federations (or alliances) and their individual and independent US branches do not represent any of them. Rich Stearns for example certainly doesn’t speak for the 40,000 employees of World Vision. Nor in fact does he speak for the employees of WV US with his book. Their may indeed be evangelical, conservative, Americans working for World Vision, mostly for WV US obviously, but it’s a federation of some 90 plus members around the globe.

  2. Matt

    February 28, 2010 at 9:14pm


    You’ve caught me red-handed – I never read Kristof’s work, I only scan it looking for buzz words that upset me.

    Actually, you’re right, I probably should have provided some text. The World Vision case is becoming old news now, but I just wanted to suggest that we shouldn’t assume that the faith-based model is one that is appreciably better than the secular one. I would be more nuanced, but I’m exhausted.

  3. Texas in Africa

    March 1, 2010 at 2:45am

    Yeah, Matt, I’m not sure that was fair. I’ve had some issues with management of a specific WV office in the field, but one incident of fraud in one country that was clearly perpetrated by a few bad seeds isn’t a good basis on which to dismiss the whole faith-based aid industry.

    That said, I do think that much of the faith-based crowd, especially the churches, etc. that go on “mission trips” to “help” need to do a much better job of learning about and following best practices. But Kristof’s overall point that their contributions shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand is valid.

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