NCR Today

Tax breaks for charitable giving?

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Kim Klein teaches non-profit leaders how to raise money. She wrote a terrific book, Fundraising for Social Change, and founded the Grassroots Fundraising Journal. If you have a good cause, they are excellent resources.

But in recent years, schools, fire departments and even the mothers of soldiers have mounted effective fund-raising campaigns. They used to be fully funded by taxes. Now they are competing with homeless shelters and anti-war groups for scarce funds.

This has led Kim to develop workshops on tax policy. How much do we want to pay and what do we want for our money?

In this vein, on January 6 she posted a blog saying that we should abolish the charitable tax deduction. The philanthropic world is a small one and Kim has started a maelstrom there.

While there’s never been a big Catholic emphasis on tithing, we are generous too, so I expect NCR readers will also care about this matter of tax deductions for our charitable gifts. Here’s the link to Kim’s blog.

On this day: St. John of God

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. John of God, who died at Granada on March 8, 1550.

When he felt "that his time had come, he lifted himself out of the bed and embracing a crucifix, knelt upon the floor where he remained for a short while in silence. Then remaining in that position he said, 'Jesus, Jesus, into your hands I commend my soul.' Then he gave his soul back to his Creator. He was fifty?five years of age and he had spent twelve of these serving the poor in his hospital at Granada."

The big man on my street

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The tumult in Wisconsin reminds me of a guy in my old Bronx neighborhood who everybody called Nicky Large.

He earned the nickname: Nicky was, in fact, very large. Day after day, you could find him perched on a wooden folding chair in front of the corner candy store, just two doors down from my father's bread bakery. I must've been around ten years old when I finally asked my Dad what Nicky Large did for a living that he could sit out in front of the sweet shop like that all the time.

My father -- who worked seven days a week, 12 hours a day, baking and delivering bread -- smiled and said: Nicky works for the city.

The upcoming 'Muslim Hearings'

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Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is planning hearings in the House Committee on Homeland Security on what he calls the “radicalization” of some American Muslims. This move has caused an interfaith uproar, with prominent leaders of many faith traditions calling on King to cancel the hearings. The protesting groups include Pax Christi, the Interfaith Alliance and Amnesty International.

They point to the danger of increasing an already dangerous level of anti-Muslim prejudice and Islamophobia in the United States. Many have compared the hearings to McCarthyism. What used to be a “communist under every rose bush” could become a “Muslim terrorist under every robe.”

This week on Interfaith Voices, we featured two thoughtful American Muslims discussing these hearings and their potential fallout.

On this day: Sts. Perpetua and Felicity

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On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Perpetua and St. Felicity.

"In the springtime of the year 203, a young North African woman was taken into custody by Roman soldiers in the city of Carthage, in what is now contemporary Tunisia. Twenty-two, of good family, well educated, married, and nursing a child, Vibia Perpetua was charged with violating a decree issued the previous year by the Roman emperor Septimus Severus outlawing conversion to Christianity."

--from Happiness: A History, by Darrin M. McMahon, Grove Press, 2006.

Morning Briefing

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February 24-March 9, 2017

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