Few have a stronger interest in promoting economic liberty than the clergy. Our religious institutions in the United States exist and thrive due to voluntary contributions. As nonprofit organizations, they depend on the benevolence of members and believers.
We believe that people should be generous in good times and bad, but the reality is that people often give from discretionary income. In practice, giving goes up in good economic times; when recessions hit and families have to cut back, giving to houses of worship falls. So, one might suppose that clergy might see this reality and respond to it. This may seem good justification to defend free enterprise, the only path to economic prosperity we know.
And yet it is well known that clergy are not strong supporters of free enterprise. I’ve reflected for years on why this is so. Many do not think about where wealth comes from. Some suppose that wealth is something woven into the fabric of society, or that the undeserving become wealthy through sheer accident.
This is an easy judgment to pass onto the wealthy without an understanding of economics. Many have never read about the cause and effect between freedom and prosperity. Many haven’t tried to come to understand economic logic. Many don’t think about the process of wealth creation, or how businesses contribute to the well-being of society.
What our leaders of faith need now more than ever is a deeper understanding of the economic dimension of civic affairs. Those who have acquired this understanding find that they relate better to their congregations and contribute more fully to the cultural life of the nation.
By supporting the Acton Institute you are supporting the enlightenment of our religious leaders, and making a valuable contribution to the future of freedom.
Rev. Robert A. Sirico,