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Religion’s Economic Contribution

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never miss viewpointsPenna Dexter

The Left expends considerable time, energy and money to marginalize and downplay the contribution of religion to the culture. The honest progressive might want to consider the latest research.

A major new study shows that religion actually has a positive impact on the American economy. The research, released in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, shows that the country has never been more dependent on the contributions of people of faith to society, particularly from a socio-economic perspective.

A father-daughter research team authored the study entitled “The Socio-economic Contribution of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis.” According to their research, religious groups contribute more to the economy than the top ten tech companies combined.

Georgetown University’s Brian Grim, a longtime researcher of religion and society, and his daughter Melissa Grim, a research fellow at the Newseum, analyzed the economic impact of 344,000 congregations from 236 different religious denominations – 217 of them are Christian — as well as religious institutions and businesses.   Their findings include a 31-page breakdown of ways religion contributes to the U.S. economy.

This study concludes that religious groups contribute $1.2 trillion to the economy and society. That’s more than the contribution of Facebook, Apple, and Google combined. If that figure was measured in GDP, U.S. religion would be the 15th largest economy in the world.

The research was sponsored by an organization called Faith Counts.

Most of the cash part of this 1.2 trillion-dollar figure is money people voluntarily give to religious organizations. According to the study, Americans give $74.5 billion to their congregations per year. The study also counted the work of faith-based charities and includes in its calculations the annual revenues of faith-based enterprises. This encompasses churches and also hospitals — religious groups run many of the hospitals in the United States.  Also measured were revenues from religious schools, and the sales of gospel music and books, and even halal food makers.

While religious affiliation has declined somewhat in recent years, the economic impact of religion on society has not. Georgetown’s Dr. Grim noted that, “in an age where there’s a growing belief that religion is not a positive for American society, adding up the numbers is a tangible reminder of the impact of religion.”

This study measured the benefit of religion to American society in monetary terms and found that it provides tremendous value. But the Left is playing fast and loose with that societal good in order to elevate certain agendas and its definition of social justice. A Catholic hospital sued for refusing to perform abortions must divert needed resources to fight back. Adoption ministries have shut down rather than obey mandates that they place children with same-sex couples.  When governments force religious institutions to violate faith principles in order to operate, they diminish or even destroy the good work of these institutions.

Religion is good for the economy. The country cannot afford to undermine it.

Viewspoints by Penna Dexter

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