April’s Harper’s Index reports that only 42% of American women believe they have a personal responsibility to help the poor. The report is even more disappointing for American men. Only 27% believe they have a personal responsibility to help the poor. The source for these statistics is Environics Research.
I am not sure what to make of this. In any given year approximately three quarters of American families give money to charities though it is not clear what percentage of these families give money to the poor. We do know that 75 million American give no money to charities of any kind.
In any event, most politicians obviously think the public does not care much about the poor. The poor are denigrated by Republicans and largely ignored by Democrats. I have no confidence that political leaders will cultivate concern about the poor. And such leadership certainly will not come from those who preach the prosperity gospel.
If the public does not care about the poor, you have to wonder what religious leaders have been doing or why they have been ineffective. I am an ex-Catholic, but I am praying for the success of Pope Francis.