Egregious conduct by politicians

Sometimes you just can’t believe the egregious behavior of certain politicians. No, I’m not talking about Anthony Whiner, er, Weener — and I’m not talking about former California governor the Gropinator’s 13 year old love child. I’m talking about the egregious hypocrisy of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas.

Perry, you may recall, presents himself as religious man. He’s the kind of guy who attends prayer breakfasts where he puts his religious faith on display; he has even opened a national prayer breakfast for governors of U.S. states. But while eating breakfast in our Texas motel this morning, I opened today’s edition of the Amarillo Globe-News and read that Perry gives financial support to his church at a rate lower than even than most Unitarian Universalists (who are the worst contributors to their congregations of any U.S. denomination aside from Catholics). Here’s an excerpt from the AP story:

The San Antonio Express-News reports the Perry family’s income tax return shows Perry gave $90 to his church in 2007, a year in which he reported an income of more than $1 million….

Hmmm. If I were his pastor, I think I’d be giving Rick Perry a friendly little phone call right now. However, to be fair, Perry’s giving record was not that bad every year he’s been governor:

The records from 2000, when Perry became governor, through 2009 show he earned $2.68 million and gave $14,243 to churches and religious organizations, about a half percent.

In other words, over a ten year period, Perry earned an average of $268,000 a year, and gave an average of $1,424 per year to his church. By comparison, last year I earned about $60,000 and gave about $3000 (or 5%) to my church.

This leads to Harper’s Rule: Politicians may not use Biblical references, nor refer to their “Christian faith,” unless they contribute at least 5% for their income to their church. If a politician breaks this rule, you should shout “Matthew 6:5!” at him or her.

4 thoughts on “Egregious conduct by politicians”

  1. I’m gonna save that biblical reference for faculty meetings too. Especially when administrators talk gravely about how no one is getting a cost of living raise this year. (Except of course, the administrators. But it’s not a raise, it’s a change in title, which of course comes with a change in salary. *eyeroll*)

  2. I like your rule, but would make a small edit to it. I’d delete the last clause, staring with the word “unless.”

  3. I’d rather get the beam out of our own eyes, rather than Gov Perry’s.
    “The mean percentage of income given for Unitarian-Universalists was under 1 percent, the lowest amount among 23 other religious groups and denominations in America. ” http://biblicalstewardship.net/statistical-research-on-stewardship/ (This report uses the UUA’s own sources.)

    Gov Perry’s posturing may be regrettable, but UU’s are the LAST denomination in a place to point this out.

  4. David T @ 3 — Ah, ha! You picked up on my subtext! Yet for all our faults, Unitarian Universalists don’t pray in public, then give nothing to their congregation in private — in this sense we’re not hypocritical, we’re just stingy. Our hypocrisy lies in a different area — we give next to nothing, and then wonder why our congregations aren’t growing, our ministers and DREs are in debt, and our children leave Unitarian Universalism (kids aren’t stupid, they know exactly how much their parents actually value Unitarian Universalism).

    By the way, I personally can shout “Matthew 6:5!” at politicians, even though I am a Unitarian Universalist, because I do give 5% of my gross income to my congregation, and I’m very reluctant to pray in public. I have plenty of other beams in my eye, but at least I give more to my church than Rick Perry gives to his.

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