LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Joe Biden Ticks Me Off

Last year, Joe Biden made $320,000 in income. And yet, how much did he give to charity? He gave a whopping $995...about 1/4 of 1%.

Maybe he had a bad year? Nope, it turns out that last year he gave more to charity than any of the past ten years. Joe Biden's total giving to charity over the past ten years adds up to $3,690. That is how much a tithing family making 1/3 his salary gives every four months.

Why does this matter? Can't you run the country without giving to charity?

Maybe, but for me, this is huge. Charitable giving speaks to your belief in people. It reflects your heart and whether you truly want to help people who are less fortunate. Lack of giving reveals a selfishness and self-sufficiency. It says, "Screw the world, they are on their own." As a politician, it speaks loudly that your confidence is in big government and not in the American people. And, for someone running for political office who knows his tax returns will be made public, it shows a lack of political astuteness at best (and sheer stupidity at worst) to not think this will make a difference.

I'm not saying Biden needs to be a Christian and give money to a Baptist church to be vice president. But couldn't he find any cause to believe in? Perhaps finding a cure for cancer, helping people with the AIDS epidemic or giving money to help unwed mothers. Surely there is some cause in the world worthy of his support? Nope.

Biden's spokesman, David Wade, says that he simply "doesn't have piles of money to give." Yeah, I feel bad for him. Only $320,000 last year. Imagine if that was the attitude of every American family. Hospitals would close. Churches would cease to exist. The Red Cross wouldn't be around to help during the next disaster.

How are the other candidates doing? Barack Obama wasn't doing much better until 2005 when he began running for president. Prior to that time, his charitable giving averaged 0.9%. Since he's been running for president, it increased to 4.7% in 2005 and 6.1% in 2006. Whatever his motive, I'm glad to see it increasing.

Governor Sarah Palin has not yet released her tax returns, but I'll be watching closely. John McCain gave more than 25% of his income in 2007 to charity. He and his wife believe so much in the concept of helping others that they set up the John and Cindy McCain Foundation to help manage their charitable giving. He didn't just start doing this recently. He has given ALL of his book royalties to charity since the first book deal in 1998 (more than $1.8 million given to charity in ten years). In 1991 (yes, 17 years ago), he opposed a pay raise that the Senate voted for themselves, so he gave that pay raise to charity that year, and every year since, adding up to more than $450,000.

This stuff matters. It's not the only issue on which I'll base my vote, but it is a very big issue. And right now, I'm pretty ticked off at Joe Biden and his lack of leadership and terrible modeling.

Without being partisan, do you agree or disagree with me?