Does Money Speak Louder Than Words?

by Jose Medina

Is the amount of money people give to their church an indicator of how devoted they are to their faith? What if a person has ambitious political goals that include the White House? What if that person is the governor of large state? Namely, what if that person is Rick Perry?

Those are all questions being asked in a San Antonio Express-News story published over the weekend that delves into the amount of money Gov. Perry has given to the church during his time in office.

The Express-News found that Gov. Perry has given an amount of money that’s well below the average amount other Americans give to their churches.

The story came about following Gov. Perry’s announcement that he would team with a hate group group — the American Family Association — to hold a prayer and fasting rally later this summer, prompting criticisms from many that the the governor was using faith as a political weapon.

A spokesman for Gov. Perry responded to the Express-News story:

“Gov. Perry agrees tithing is important and what he has given to the church should not be discounted. Additionally, tithing is only one aspect of a person’s faith, and the personal decision of each family.

“Gov. Perry has followed his words with action regarding his own faith, having taken many opportunities to stand up for people of faith and promote values important to the church, including signing legislation that protects religious expression, protects unborn life and promotes adoption.”

So what do you think? Is it fair to question someone’s faith because of the amount of money they give to the church? Are the criticisms valid given that the governor has not been shy about elevating his faith into the political arena and given the prominent role he will play at this summer’s prayer event in Houston?

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