Americans Donated Over $300 Billion in 2007

Americans donated $306 billion to charities in 2007, as U.S. philanthropic giving rose to a record level despite a downturn in the national economy, a survey being released today has found.

Charitable giving increased 1 percent last year, when inflation is taken into account, and surpassed $300 billion for the first time, according to the Giving USA survey.

Read the whole thing

So despite a slow economy, Americans gave more money than ever before. And, while it does include religious charitable donations, it doesn’t include money liberals in support of their Messiah.

Book Review: Life of Christ by Fulton Sheen

I started this book back in December, figuring I’d make it my Advent reading, but it’s quite a read and I hardly got any reading done with the business of December. So, I made it my reading for Eucharistic Adoration and read it during my time in the presence of the Lord. It’s about 450 pages, with small print (at least the edition I have is), so it takes a while. I finally finished it up just a few minutes ago.

It’s a very profound book, raising many points about the life of Christ I hadn’t considered. it shows that despite his success on TV, Bishop Sheen wasn’t just telegenic and able to speak well: he was also a scholar. While reading it today, it hit me that it says something unique about Jesus that someone could write a book with over 50 pages about what He did after He died. Sheen concludes with a chapter about the Church as the Body of Christ, continuing His mission today.

There’s too much in this book, and I read some parts of it too long ago to write a thorough review, so I’ll just leave it at this: read this book, and you’ll learn a great deal about Jesus, notice a number of details you hadn’t noticed in the Biblical accounts and make connections you hadn’t either. You’ll learn a lot about Jesus and be given a lot to reflect on. It’s great spiritual reading in the best sense of that phrase.

Book Review: The Forgotten Man: A New History of The Great Depression by Amity Shlaes

Earlier this week, I finished Amity Shlaes’ The Forgotten Man, a re-examination of the Great Depression that points out the errors in the commonly believed myth of that period in our nation’s history.

One example is the belief that Herbert Hoover was a straight laissez-faire President who did nothing to attempt to revive the economy. In fact, Hoover was an activist as President, and even before during his tenure as Secretary of Commerce. The primary difference between Hoover and FDR was that Hoover restricted his activity to the Constitutionally permitted powers of the federal government; FDR showed no such respect for the will of law.

Similarly, FDR and his Brain Trust are commonly believed to have selfessly focused solely on reviving America’s economy. But like another President who promised to focus like a laser beam on the economy, the objectives spread far and wide from the promised goal. In fact, FDR’s advisors were open admirers of Communist Russia who were seeking to remake America in an image they chose. The Great Depression was actually viewed as a great opportunity to remake America, rather than something that needed to be overcome.

It’s also claimed that FDR’s policies brought us out the Depression. Shlaes shows that the US went into a double-dip Depression, with the economy getting worse just when the rest of the world was growing again. Others acknowledge that fact, and claim that it was World War II spending that brought us out of the economic funk. To the extent that World War II helped us, it was that focusing on the international situation took FDR’s focus away from the domestic realm, allowing the economy to grow without further fetters being placed on it.

It’s also claimed that FDR was a decisive leader who charted a bold course. In reality, he frustrated his advisers with his indecisiveness. On at least one occasion, he even sent representatives to an international economic conference with differing instructions, resulting in parts of the American delegation negotiating against each other, angering the British Prime Minister. On another occasion, after a conference that achieved the goals he had set for it, he repudiated it, rejecting the agreement reached.

This book was excellent in dispelling a number of myths about the Depression and careful readers will note a number of policy prescriptions for the future that will allow us to avoid similar situations in the future.

A few good points

“That anyone could doubt the right of the holy Virgin to be called the Mother of God fills me with astonishment. Surely she must be the Mother of God if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, and she gave birth to him! Our Lord’s disciple may not have used those exact words, but they delivered to us the belief those words enshrine, and this has also been taught us by the holy fathers.”

–Saint Cyril of Alexandria, 370-444

“The intelligentsia always know enough about religion to distort it…”

-Bishop Fulton Sheen, 1895-1979 “Life of Christ” page 390

I couldn’t help but think of Obama’s claiming the Sermon on the Mount requires Christians to support same-sex marriage when reading that second quote.

A few good points

“That anyone could doubt the right of the holy Virgin to be called the Mother of God fills me with astonishment. Surely she must be the Mother of God if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, and she gave birth to him! Our Lord’s disciple may not have used those exact words, but they delivered to us the belief those words enshrine, and this has also been taught us by the holy fathers.”

–Saint Cyril of Alexandria, 370-444

“The intelligentsia always know enough about religion to distort it…”

-Bishop Fulton Sheen, 1895-1979 “Life of Christ” page 390

I couldn’t help but think of Obama’s claiming the Sermon on the Mount requires Christians to support same-sex marriage when reading that second quote.