Much is made of the supposed much higher level of "charity" amongst the religious as opposed to the non-religious. The common wisdom is that religious people give away a lot more of their money.
But the question remains, when you take away the billions of dollars of "charity" given to enrich Pat Robertson and Jim Bakker et al, to building certain "Bible Colleges" that only function to teach people a disfunctional and limited vision of the world, building Chrystal Catherdrals and corporate churches with health clubs and espresso shops in them - how much of it actually goes to help people with real needs and problems? And don't forget all the money that's been used to help churches tell their parishoners to vote Republican.
Many people argue that private charity is better than government programs, and point to government waste and mismanagement. All the while exhaulting the shills and frauds of private charities, and bragging about how much better they are because they give away more of their money to send people Bibles, or print out and distribute Jack Chick tracts (and I suppose entertainment that elicits a cynical humor is a sort of public service), or makes people sing hymns and pretend to be penitent to get a little soup and a sandwich.
Don't get me wrong, there are many fine religious organizations and privately funded NGO's out there, and you can find them and give them as much or as little as you want and feel great about it.
However, if your idea of "charitable giving" is sending unwanted bibles to newspaper subscribers around the country, you can keep your Bible; you smug, sanctimonious sense of superiority; and your money for all I'm concerned.
It's enough to make me glad I don't subscribe to a hardcopy of any newspaper, but instead get the electronic versions. I'm saving the trees twice! Once with the newsprint I'm not getting, and once with the "charity" Bible I'm not getting.
(Hat Tip: Pharyngula)