Charitable giving is up for three causes: arts and the humanities (6.3%), education (7.4%), and animals and the environment (6%). But giving to religious organizations was down 1.6% from 2012 to 2013.
When I was in my twenties and living in NYC, I volunteered at a Catholic Worker house on the Lower East Side. The Workers at Mary House lived with the poorest of the poor, providing food, shelter, health care and other forms of direct aid, while also working for economic justice.
One of those Workers was Kassie Temple. A brilliant writer with a Ph.D., she could have had a comfortable academic career. Instead, she devoted her life to doing what she could to keep hungry and homeless people from starving or dying of exposure to the elements.
We explore the complex ethics of global aid with a young writer from Kenya, Binyavanga Wainaina. He is among a rising generation of African voices who bring a cautionary perspective to the morality and efficacy behind many Western initiatives to abolish poverty and speed development in Africa.
Sixteen Muslims, in their own words, speak about the delights and gravity of Islam's holiest month. Through vivid memories and light-hearted musings, they reveal the richness of Ramadan — as a period of intimacy, and of parties; of getting up when the world is quiet for breakfast and prayers with one's family; of breaking the fast every day after nightfall in celebration and prayers with friends and strangers.
“The self doubt is crippling.” (photo: Meredith Farmer/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Folks will donate to help one person in need more often than two. And when presented with those thousands or millions suffering? It's overwhelming and we do not act.