What’s More Important to You?

Election day is less than three weeks away. Do you know how you’re gonna vote? I do.

But that’s not what I’m really interested in. I’m interested in what you think about this.

When it comes to ending global poverty and fighting the war on terror:

  • 80 percent of those surveyed* by the Barna Research Group, who self identified as strong McCain supporters, believe fighting the war on terror should be a more important priority for the next president than the global effort to end extreme poverty.
  • 11 percent of McCain’s strongest supporters feel the opposite; the fight against global poverty should be a greater priority than the war on terror
  • Whereas, on the other side of the political aisle, 30 percent of Obama’s strongest supporters place a greater priority on fighting terrorism than on ending global poverty. And 45 percent reverse that priority.

What do you think about that?

*1,005 U.S. adults were surveyed in the custom research Compassion commissioned Barna to conduct.

67 Comments |Add a comment

  1. sdv November 20, 2008

    “The last time I checked, Compassion International has a pro-life, pro-abstinence approach to sexual issues. ”

    Last time I checked it with Compassion about this, they told me they did not, because anyone who has worked in Africa knows that “the pro-abstinence approach to sexual issues” is why the AIDS epidemic is so out of control.

  2. cjs October 28, 2008

    Thanks Vicki…
    Yes, I THINK I know the heart of Compassion. Even if there are employees who support a guy who is the most child hostile candidate in history. It is just dismaying to see someone support a guy who advocates the funding and murder(abortion) of almost 4000 kids a day in the US. Especially when Compassion is all about “the kids”.

  3. Craig Cochran October 28, 2008

    Limiting the discussion to a choice between ending global poverty and fighting the war on terror is overly simplistic. No decent human being would be against ending global poverty but to suggest that fighting the war on terrorism is not equally important is short sighted and somewhat unfair.

    Terrorists destroy lives, families and communities in a way that is even more violent and often more painful than poverty. To exclude dealing with one of those maladies in favor of the other suggests a flawed philosophy. Is a child who has lost his family to a terrorist less damaged than a child who has lost his family to poverty? Is a child who has lost a leg to a bomb less tragic that a child who limps because of malnutrition? I think not.

    In an imperfect world there are many enemies of mankind. It would be irresponsible to ignore any of them. Wars are unpopular even among most of those who have to fight them. But to ignore terrorist groups like the Taliban is to give them free rein to terrorize any person who does not philosophically agree with them.

    As a McCain – Obama issue this is only important in an election. To the people who suffer either from terrorism or poverty, it is an issue of humanity!

  4. Vicki Small October 28, 2008

    I agree, Dave. I keep thinking it’s over.

  5. compassion dave October 28, 2008

    I ve read the end of the Book…this country doesn’t survive.

    So vote for whoever you want!

    “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17

    And I should through in (because it is SO relevent to this post):

    “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’ ” 1 Peter 4:7-8

    In the name of Jesus, this post needs a chill-pill.

  6. Vicki Small October 28, 2008

    Shelly, as much as I want this country to survive–and, preferable, to turn some things around–everything Kirk’s comment said will still be true. How much our country will change, for better or for worse, is yet to be determined, but everything in Kirk’s list will remain. And therein lies our hope.

  7. sarah October 28, 2008

    I’m shocked that all of these people think that fighting terrorism and fighting global poverty are not directly linked to one another. Perhaps that’s not fair since they probably had to give a single choice answer, so let me rephrase. I’m shocked that anyone thinks such an inherently flawed survey is worth discussing.

    Oh, and Kirk Leavy, perhaps you haven’t heard the latest, but what Chuck Colson and Tony Perkins have been telling us that if this election doesn’t go how they want it to, our country won’t survive.

  8. Michael October 28, 2008

    Shelly, I’m glad you’ve decided to continue sponsoring. I have been a sponsor for over 10 years. I can assure you that after traveling to meet the children we sponsor, I am 100% sold on Compassion’s ministry. I’ve never seen another organization with such integrity. The staff both in the U.S., and abroad are truly the finest people I have ever met. I encourage you to, if possible, go on a sponsor tour. You will see that you are truly part of an amazing ministry.

  9. Shelley G. October 27, 2008

    Whew! I just became a sponsor of a precious little girl in India and I have to admit when I read this post, all the blood immediately rushed to my face and my initial reaction was to pull my pledge. I guess you could say I’m a Republican; but not just any Republican. I’m the kind that became Republican as a direct result of becoming a Christian. And no, I’m not saying because you’re a Democrat that your not Christian, but perhaps you’ve always been a Christian and a Democrat, not having had the perspective of another world view. Anyway, now that I’ve cooled down a bit, I realize I will not be pulling my pledge. I am already too attached to that little girl a world away. I just hope that the message that the Lord meant to convey in this poor fella’s slip of the pen, is that perhaps us McCain lovin’ Republicans needed that little eye opener so that we may open our hearts a little more and realize helping these children – campaigning for these children, is JUST as important as fighting terrorism – something we are given the freedom to do by this great nation – our duty!As important as casting our ballots!

  10. Ken M. October 24, 2008

    Compassion Dave,

    I still want the cookies. I haven’t had the taste for Capt’n
    Crunch in a while. Some of the kids at my schools used to call me Cookie Man. Now I have to live up to that name. So bring on the chocolate chips and peanut butter cookies. You can still have the Capt’n Crunch.

  11. compassion dave October 24, 2008

    Compassion International doesn’t accept government funding anyway, so isn’t all this discussion moot? I could probably make an argument that the less government does, the more the church responds–so bring-on governmental ineptitude so we can get something done!

    Now pass the Capt’n Crunch (I’ve had enough cookies).

  12. Ken M. October 24, 2008

    Compassion Dave,

    I have to agree with you. I’d like either chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies.

    After reading all of the replies I’m left with the feeling that since I’m a Democrat and especially an Obama follower, I cannot be a true Christian. I’m a member of the ungodly party and only members of the godly party understand what it means to sponsor children from their heart.

    I don’t think that Jesus is a democrat or republican. If he came to Earth today he’d tell both parties that they’re doing things in his name that he never approved.

  13. Vicki Small October 24, 2008

    Make mine 2% and chocolate chunk! :o)

  14. compassion dave October 24, 2008

    Can’t we all just get along…Anyone up for some cookies and milk?

  15. Vicki Small October 24, 2008

    CJS – Please go back and read the comments–at least those from Chris–explaining what the purpose was behind the post. If you know Compassion, at all, you know the apolitical stance it takes. Some of us objected to the post, as written, but even then, most of us still know the heart and soul of Compassion, and we trust that.

  16. cjs October 23, 2008

    Too bad this Compassion blogger has a bias toward Obama and has chosen this forum to display it. The method of ending global poverty in the Dems viewpoint is throwing a lot of government money after it. This has worked so well in the US, that maybe we could destroy other cultures and countries as well with our government “help”. Anyone who cares about a fact or two should watch this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MGYzhbKPDg

  17. Vicki Small October 22, 2008

    Oh, yea, Lisa!

    Moi aussi.

  18. Lisa Miles October 22, 2008

    Oh, oh, oh. I have one more thing to say and then I will happily sit down and keep my mouth closed. I promise.

    This is addressed directly to people who 1) considered pulling their funding from CI over one survey, 2) who are concerned about the rights of the unborn, which was mentioned several times here, and 3) are concerned about why we’re spending money on a survey.

    I did some research and there is a trade association that represents child sponsor organizations and other international aid organizations. It is called InterAction (American Council for Voluntary International Action.) Members include World Vision, Christian Children’s Fund, Plan USA and many other child sponsor organizations — Compassion International being noticably absent from the list.

    These organizations pay .15% of their operating expenses annually — yearly dues are capped at $40,000 — for InterAction to DO SURVEYS, write research papers, and “influence policy and budget-making in Congress by providing access to top-level policy-makers,” (i.e. lobbying.)

    Well, take a look at the member list of this organization. In addition to child-sponsor agencies how many pro-abortion organizations do you count? I see at least three. These are organizations that directly lobby for abortion on demand throughout the international community.

    For the many who are so passionate about the rights of the unborn, wouldn’t you have a problem with Compassion sending $40,000 a year to an organization that also provides support for pro-abortion organizations — like all of the other child-sponsor agencies are doing?

    Isn’t it better that Compassion remain independent?

    But by remaining independent, Compassion is forced to do some of the activities that would have been done by the trade assocation. Like the occasional survey.

    And I think the route Compassion has chosen to take is much more fiscally prudent — which I think is the hallmark of Compassion.

    Fiscal responsibility, true to their beliefs. I for one am sticking with Compassion.

  19. Lisa Miles October 22, 2008

    Responding to Steve:

    Who knows — perhaps 25% of Obama voters and 9% of McCain voters chose “don’t know” as their option? (Isn’t there always a “don’t know” option in these surveys?)

    What I’m saying is mine this survey for statistics that can further Compassion’s cause. A 45% block of voters listing “defeating global poverty” as their main goal is HUGE. And you can use that to speak to the Democratic party.

    A liberal Democrat administration may lean against advocating for a Christian-based NGO — but then isn’t it our job to show them our worth? To convince them that we have a role to play on the global stage? And we had better have statistics to back that up. Wouldn’t it be nice if WE were the Christian-based NGO that turned around the thinking of liberal Democrats?

    Perhaps the reason Compassion did this survey is in anticipation of a Democratic administration that will take more convincing when it comes to passing favorable legislation?

    I DO think the particular survey question we’re discussing was poorly constructed — and that it didn’t truly measure what it was aiming to measure — but I feel that what came out of it is a statistic that we can use.

    I don’t know how much work Compassion does in lobbying government — or if there is a trade association that lobbies on behalf of child sponsor agencies. But if you’re going to dabble in any kind of legislation, or try to persuade the government of anything, you had BETTER have statistics to back up what you’re saying. So I’m not scared of surveys.

    And Vicki, you can disagree with me — anytime — you have such a sweet spirit and you are one smart cookie. I’ll always listen to your views! Steve, too. 🙂 I’m the first to admit, I have a lot to learn!

  20. Michael October 22, 2008

    Since this discussion continues on… I thought many of you may want to read the perpective of Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family. It’s kind of long, but here’s a link:


  21. CJ October 22, 2008

    While I am very disappointed that politics has been brought into this, I believe we are instructed by God’s Word to carefully look at the fruit of the lives of the ones who are seeking to be in leadership. Look at the charitable giving of each of the candidates in their personal lives. This is the strongest indicator of where they truly stand. In the last 7 years, the Obamas have given a total of $148,392 to charity…$137,622 of that in the last 2 years since Obama set his sights on the White House. Contrast that with the McCains who have given over $10.2 million in the last 7 years. John McCain gave 25% of his senate salary, navy pension and book royalties to charity….independent of his wife’s enormous contributions. Cindy McCain has been on more than 55 mission trips to impoverished and war torn countries. Michelle Obama…..zero. One of these men walks the talk and the other just talks the talk. Decide for yourself.

  22. Vicki Small October 22, 2008

    It pains me to disagree with my friend Lisa, but I agree with Steve. I don’t believe for a minute that an Obama-style Congress (or President) would be interested in supporting a Christian-based organization. Even if they were, Compassion doesn’t take government funding, a fact which makes me very proud of this ministry.

    I do agree with Lisa, though, on the threats of pulling contributions and perhaps even sponsorships from Compassion because of one blog post for which Chris has taken responsibility and explained what was really intended.

  23. Steve K. October 22, 2008

    Lisa ~ Nice analysis, but I want to know what about the rest. If 30% of Obama supporters think fighting terrorism is more important than global poverty, and 45% think the reverse … what happened to 25% that are unaccounted for? (9% of McCain supporters are unaccounted for) Also, I’m willing to bet that a large percentage of Obama supporters and therefore left-leaning legislators don’t want to support a Christian-based organization.

  24. Lisa Miles October 22, 2008

    p.s. I’m sorry if that sounded mean. I haven’t had my morning coffee yet. 🙂

  25. Lisa Miles October 22, 2008

    Okay, I changed my mind, I AM going to risk offending some people. But hear me out.

    You know, I think it’s interesting that not one person here said, “Wow, isn’t it GREAT that 45% of Obama supporters consider fighting global poverty to be a priorty?!” Why would we not be happy about that?

    Are our politics getting in the way, perhaps?

    Let’s be realistic. We may be heading into an era where Democrats control the House, the Senate, and the White House. Instead of getting our conservative undies in a bundle, (mine included), let’s get our money’s worth out of this survey.

    Take the opportunity to write your newly-elected Democratic representatives and inform them that “a Barna Research study found that 45% of those supporting a Democratic presidential candidate (i.e. their base) consider fighting global poverty their NUMBER ONE PRIORITY.” And then tell them why NGO’s such as COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL are the IDEAL vehicle to address this issue.

    And then every time a vote comes up in Congress that will positively impact religion-based NGO’s or the war on global poverty — call your Democratic representatives and remind them that the people who got them elected consider FIGHTING GLOBAL POVERTY to be their number one issue. And remind them of the successes that Compassion International has had in the field.

    I mean, come on people. Let’s quit whining and use this info to our benefit. I am shocked that anyone would consider pulling their funding of CI over a survey. Or a blog post.

  26. Steve K. October 21, 2008

    The discussion can end, because post #17 by Stephi said it best regarding discussing such issues on this forum. Anyone that can work in the wisdom of William Wilbeforce ain’t all bad in my book!!! I think I’ll rent the movie Amazing Grace tonight!

  27. Kathy Redmond October 21, 2008

    Thanks to all of you for your good comments and questions about the poll.

    As you all know, Compassion’s goal is to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name, and we are not at all political. In fact, one of the things that make us different from many other groups is that we don’t work directly with governments or accept government funding.

    This poll was designed to gauge people’s perceptions about the role of government in addressing global poverty. The results will be used to help us better communicate Compassion’s non-governmental model in light of these perceptions.

    Please know that Compassion is not endorsing any political party or candidate, or in any way suggesting, if or how, the government should address global poverty.

    Each year Compassion spends a small sum of money to commission a poll in order to help us know you better, our partners in releasing the world’s children from poverty, and those who might want to join us, if we can speak to them in terms that make sense to them.

    Ultimately, by better understanding how people think and talk about global poverty, we can more efficiently use the resources you have entrusted to us.

    Your feedback matters to us. Thanks for taking the time to weigh in.

  28. Vicki Small October 21, 2008

    While I’m glad the commenter shared the information that compares the charitable giving of liberals and conservatives, I’m thinking this person read only the post, and not the comments, or he would surely have seen Chris’s @ #26.

    Anyone who knows Compassion at all should know that Compassion would *not* rather have people just talk about sharing than actually to share.

    1. Adelie June 23, 2011

      Heck of a job there, it absoueltly helps me out.

  29. Chris Giovagnoni October 21, 2008

    Here is another comment we received regarding this post. It wasn’t originally left here. Again, I’m keeping it anonymous for that reason.

    A little bit of perspective in response to your most recent blog posting by Chris Giovagnoni. He suggests that McCain supporters think military responses are more important than charitable outreach.

    “In 1996, people who believed the government should take greater measures to reduce income inequality gave, on average, only one-fourth as much money to charity each year as those who believed the government should not equalize incomes more. … In the year 2000, households headed by a self-identified conservative gave, on average, 30% more dollars to charity than households headed by a liberal (even though the average conservative family had a slightly lower income than the average liberal family.) … For many Americans, a mere belief about what the government should be doing substitutes for private giving.”

    All 3 quotes are from Arthur C.
    Brooks, Gross National Happiness, p. 31, 191, and 188.

    This suggests that liberals (more likely to be Obama supporters) TALK about giving, while conservatives (more likely to be for McCain) DO it.

    I guess Compassion Intl would rather have people talk about giving than actually give to them (or other organizations). I’ll keep that in mind when deciding how I should parcel out my charitable contributions.

    Also, why in the world is an organization like yours spending probably thousands of dollars to conduct a political survey and then publish it at a time like this? Did a large contribution from an Obama supporter fund it? Just asking.

    As you can probably tell, I am ticked by this. If Obama is elected, and taxes go up, and people’s discretionary income goes down, what do you think will happen to your contributions? Again, just asking.

  30. Josh October 21, 2008

    Yes, thanks Chris for your openess to our comments. I’m impressed at your honest and servant-hearted reply.

  31. Sarah October 21, 2008

    Group hug everyone 🙂 I am glad we are all here and that we all care about our Compassion kids. And we love Jesus. Hopefully that spans across party lines and any other kind of differences we may have.

  32. Lindy October 21, 2008

    Chris, Thank you for continuing to check this out. As a Compassion sponsor for nearly 20 years, I prayed much yesterday with a deep sense of concern and sadness over the expense of a survey like this and over the storm clouds it raised in the hearts of people who care deeply about the little ones we are trying to help in Jesus’s name.

  33. Lisa Miles October 21, 2008

    p.s. As for Chris, don’t shoot the messenger. He didn’t commission the survey or write the questions. It’s his job to come up with provocative posts that encourage people to discuss. And I would say he’s done his job here. As soon as I saw the word, ELECTION, I’m like, “Here we go!” 🙂

  34. Lisa Miles October 21, 2008

    The phrase “the war on terror” has become so associated with the Bush administration, it’s no surprise to me that Obama supporters would shy away from that option. And that McCain supporters would strongly endorse it.

    I think that is what accounts for the disparity in numbers — not that one political party cares more about global poverty than the other.

    Regardless, it should not be an either/or proposition. These issues are interrelated. I would make the argument that poverty breeds terrorism — and terrorism breeds poverty. And intervention at any point will help.

    God bless all people who truly love and care for children, whatever political party they belong to.

    I LOVE politics, and I LOVE to debate — but I refuse to alienate anyone on this blog who is willing to come to the table and be a great child sponsor. I think that’s where it’s at for me.

    BTW, the Barna Research Group site is very interesting!! Definitely worth checking out.

  35. Chris Giovagnoni October 20, 2008

    @ Caren,

    “I have asked for more information about this survey so I may share it with you (e.g., why was the survey commissioned, what sort of questions were included, etc.)”

  36. Caren October 20, 2008

    Hold on Chris… not so quick…

    Please tell us the purpose of this survey. After all it isn’t a random piece that Barna published, but one paid for out of funds which could have been used instead for program expenses.

    Why was this commissioned, and how does Compassion expect to respond to the survey outcome. Will we see an expanded marketing emphasis based on political demographics. Are sponsor sign-up tables likely at political rallies?

    I’m puzzled by the decision to commission what seems to be a spurious curiosity. Please tell.

  37. Denise L. October 20, 2008

    Some people who answered the poll with high priorities on fighting global poverty may have short memories. Our country is beginning to understand the host arrayed against us, and growing in power and numbers in Europe. A few terrorist attacks could deliver a coup d’grace to our entire economy. Without sponsors living in safety and prospering with effort, who would fund Compassion? Without a strong America, we cannot fight global poverty at all.

  38. Vicki Small October 20, 2008

    Chris, thanks so much for chiming in. Despite the way the post read, I could not believe that Compassion was promoting one candidate over another…despite the way it read.

    I don’t fear any discussion of issues. But two things came to mind that helped to fuel my initial and secondary responses: (1) Compassion’s guidelines for anyone who wants to link to Compassion on a blog or website, including an agreement that the blog or website “Does not promote a specific political agenda or political party. (Compassion does not allow our name or our ministry to be leveraged in behalf of political causes)” and (2) on a recent visit to a Facebook site of a Compassion employee showed me that this person was supporting a particular candidate.

    As an advocate, I don’t want to find myself in conversation with a sponsor or potential sponsor who has gotten word of a post like the one today and is upset by the possibilities it suggested about Compassion.

    My church leaders are publicly addressing two propositions on the state ballot, because of Biblical issues involved; two members of the church are running for office, but the church is not promoting either one. Likewise, asking us what role we think government plays, or should play, in the fight against poverty probably would not have raised anyone’s hackles. So…grace to you, Chris, and thanks for shouldering the responsibility for this.

  39. Michael October 20, 2008

    Chris, I appreciate that you are such a passionate advocate for children. Keep up the good work!

  40. Stephi October 20, 2008

    Thanks for your candor, Chris, and for all the great work Compassion does.

  41. Chris Giovagnoni October 20, 2008

    Hello everyone.

    I understand that politics is a sensitive subject and that it stirs strong emotions in all of us. I appreciate what you’re sharing.

    I published this post because I promised you an honest and authentic blog.

    In my mind this post achieves that objective because I didn’t shy away from a subject because I feared the reaction. That doesn’t make it right. I’m not trying to justify. I’m just explaining.

    My intention was simply meant to share the results of the survey and get your thoughts on what you feel is more important, the war on terror or global poverty. It was not meant to provoke, divide, endorse, judge or hurt anyone.

    Also, the first paragraph wasn’t intended to suggest anything other than the fact that I have decided who I want to support. I can definitely see, thanks to Stephi’s comment, how the format of the post suggests that I’m voting for Obama and that I’m providing an endorsement based on what follows.

    Compassion is a definitely an apolitical organization, regardless of how bad a writer I am. The only thing they’re guilty of here, is hiring someone with poor judgement.

    In the press release that announced the results of the survey, Mark Hanlon said,

    “The contrast between Obama and McCain supporters likely reflects a fundamental difference of understanding about the role of government in solving global poverty. At Compassion, we are working with some 526,000 Americans, both individuals and families, every day to end global poverty—one child at a time.”

    He cautioned against inferring that Americans in general—and supporters of either presidential candidate in particular—don’t care about global poverty.

    When I wrote this post, I only had access to the press release. I wasn’t withholding information. I understand how that contributed to the sense of manipulation. Strike three, Chris. Time to sit down.

    I have asked for more information about this survey so I may share it with you (e.g., why was the survey commissioned, what sort of questions were included, etc.).

    Additionally, we received the following two comments regarding this post. Because they weren’t originally shared here, I will keep them anonymous. However, to be completely transparent, as I promised, and to take full responsibility for how I have affected you, I’m sharing the thoughts verbatim.

    i am not sure of the point of your story regarding McCain and Obama? I am disappointed in the implications I believe you were trying to make, but understand that your orgainization based upon its sated mission statement felt compelled to research and write such a story. Unfortunately, it will not be supported by my contributions.
    Stick to your mission statement, not politics.

    I think that your story about McCain and Obama supporters gives the wrong impression at this crucial time prior to the
    election. It makes Obama supporters seem more compassionate. I
    believe that what McCain supporters were saying is that it is more important for the govt. to be involved in the war on terror. There is only so much that the US govt. can do to end global poverty. We Christians have to do our part individually and as churches and organizations to end it. The Bush govt. has done much to fight AIDS and fight poverty. The publication of this survey at this time makes it appear that Republicans are greedy and only Democrats care about poverty. The conservatives that I know are much more involved in giving/tithing, etc. than Obama, Biden, and many past Democratic candidates. Where is the personal responsibility of the liberal-leaning voters? I cannot support a candidate that believes it is okay to end an unborn or “mistakenly born” infant’s life at any
    stage and for any reason. Words and warm fuzzy feelings do not
    influence my vote. Who is the candidate that adopted a needy Bangladeshi child? I think that speaks much louder than pretty sounding words. I really feel that your article made the wrong impression and might influence people to vote for Obama for the wrong reason. I read your article on Mission Network News, by the way.
    And although I am not a sponsor through Compassion, I am a sponsor through Holt, Intl. and I adopted a child from Thailand, so I feel that this survey gave the wrong impression about McCain supporters.

    Finally, to borrow a little from Josh’s line of thought, I, Chris Giovagnoni, did not have the knowledge or sharpness to realize I was making a political statement, although unintentional. I was full of pride, and thought that I could post about the delicate issue without upsetting anyone.

    Please accept my apologies.

  42. Josh October 20, 2008

    I must also respectfully disagree with Abbie.

    Forgive my candor, but to me it seems clear given the post, that the writer was not only trying to pose a question on a debatable topic. It seems to me that the writer had a message he was trying to send.

    Asking a controversial question is a very different thing from sending a controversial message, and in my opinion (regardless of the writer’s intention), the latter was done.

    It is always easier to escape a message one should not have sent by saying that one was only trying to ask a question or raise an issue. But given the cultural context of Compassion and rescuing children from poverty being its mission; it is very difficult indeed to read the post as only trying to … raise a debatable question.

    This duplicitous nature of the post (which is my opinion only, I cannot read the writer’s intention), is what is giving me pause after all this time with Compassion.

  43. Michael October 20, 2008

    In a population of 301,000,000 the survey doesn’t tell us much, having only surveyed 1,005.

  44. Michael October 20, 2008

    Don’t get me wrong from my previous post. Political issues are clearly important for us to discuss as Christians. A recent experience at the Advocate’s conference in the DR solidified my reasons for wanting to keep politics away from Compassion.

    I had been asked which candidate I support. When I answered, the person replied with “interesting” in a clearly disapproving tone. He then proceeded to tell me ALL the reasons he was voting the other way… as if I had not carefully considered the issues myself.

    I’d rather discuss politics with my family and friends whom I have developed a history with.

  45. Abbie October 20, 2008

    Stephi-I would agree that if Compassion began a “pro-choice, comprehensive sex education program”, then of course, I could see there being an issue.

    For me, I don’t look into words for deeper, under lying messages. Maybe it’s my ignorance of the topic. Maybe it’s my lack of wanting to let something bother me.

    More what I was trying to convey is–in no way, would I allow the words of 1 Compassion employee to keep me from fulfilling my desire to continue my sponsorship. I care about our Compassion kids too much and they don’t deserve it!

  46. Stephi October 20, 2008

    I respectfully disagree with Abbie. I agree that there are some trite political issues that should not get in the way of sponsoring a child in need; that said, there are certainly some political issues that should come between you and a benevolent organization such as Compassion. For example, if Compassion began a pro-choice, “comprehensive sex education” program with the children it attempts to help, I believe a conscientious Christian would have no choice but to withdraw support, lest he or she be guilty of sponsoring infanticide and contributing to the deception of young men and women.

    That said, I do not believe any sponsor of Compassion has to worry about this issue. The last time I checked, Compassion International has a pro-life, pro-abstinence approach to sexual issues. While Mr. Giovagnoni’s post might lead the average person to think Compassion supports Obama, I think this is simply an oversight on Mr. Giovagnoni’s part. Certainly Compassion, if it is truly an apolitical organization, would not imply an endorsement of a candidate on a blog, especially not the most pro-abortion candidate ever to run for office. The idea that an organization that works so tirelessly to save children would choose to support such a pro-abortion candidate is unthinkable.

  47. Josh October 20, 2008

    Yes, I am very disappointed with Compassion that this blog post was created.

    It seems to me a blatant political statement shrouded with and hidden within Compassion’s values. You read it thinking you must be a bad person if you feel differently politically.

    That is, you read it thinking, yes I agree with Compassion’s values. Then it tells you (without staying it directly) that you should vote a certain way if you share these values. It does this underhandedly without stating this seeming purpose overtly. Also, it does this in a manner that does not make the content of the survey accessible to the blog readers. I mean no personal attack here, but that is manipulation. I’ve never known Compassion to pressure sponsors politically before.

    This seems to be to be an attempt to promote a certain political perspective without having to do it overtly, in the way that would be obviously inappropriate.

    That does not reflect integrity or honesty. And that, truthfully, scares me.

    How can I trust Compassion when it so clearly is making a political statement without the honesty to state this?

    Even if it was unintentional–even if Compassion does not have the knowledge and sharpness to realize they are making a political statement here, then do they have the knowledge and sharpness to effectively release children from poverty in Jesus’ name??? I’m afraid my confidence in Compassion has been very severely shaken.

  48. compassion dave October 20, 2008

    Let’s make one thing perfectly clear–I am only voting because God wants me to be obedient to those in authority. while I will be voting for one man over another, it is incredibly obvious that [as far as world poverty goes], my vote and/or my choice makes little or no difference.

  49. Abbie October 20, 2008

    “If you ask me, it is a good way to lose some of your sponsors!!”

    I wonder how many people would choose to really end their sponsorships over a blog post with some issues about the election.

    Personally, I choose not to read and read and discuss and discuss about who said what with the election. It’s a nice to come somewhere that it isn’t being discussed.

    BUT I would hope that posing a couple of questions would not result in termination of giving to a child who truly needs it.

    If you read the previous post about Compassion receiving its seventh consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, you will see that Compassion is doing what they say they are doing for these kids with the money that God lent us. That’s important in a sponsorship.

    It’s not about a couple of questions posed on a blog. Chris always delivers some very thought provoking questions or stories in this blog. I can’t imagine that he wanted to just rile people up. I believe that it isn’t what he or any other of Compassion’s blog contributors want to do. He just happened to pose a question about a topic that is very debatable.

  50. Stephi October 20, 2008

    I disagree with the notion that political discussions are inappropriate for this forum. Yes, they are uncomfortable. And yes, it is a beautiful thing that believers (and nonbelievers) can come together to work on something as important as world poverty. That said, Christians have a mandate to speak out for the oppressed and abused. It is easy to ignore the unborn–we do not see their faces. Yet the millions of children aborted every year also deserve to be defended. Robert Will had documented Obama’s frightening support of this gruesome procedure here: http://www.citizenlink.org/content/A000008450.cfm.

    Where would we be if William Wilberforce neglected the issue of slavery within his borders because it was divisive amongst those who claimed to be Christians?

    Let us fight on the behalf the world’s children who are starving. Let us also fight on behalf of the infants who are massacred. To look the other way on either issue would be to invite the judgment of a fiercely loving God.

  51. Kathy Redmond October 20, 2008


    I am Kathy Redmond, US Communications Director for Compassion International.

    Your comments regarding the poll are extremely interesting and I want you to know that you can’t infer from these poll results that Americans don’t care about global poverty. It likely reflects a difference in the role of government in solving global poverty and the role of government in dealing with terrorism.

    In addition, it is interesting to note that only two questions about global poverty have been asked in the history of the modern presidential debates. That is what we were aiming to gauge – where people stood on the issue of poverty. It is in no way an endorsement of any candidate.

  52. Cindy October 20, 2008

    I agree totally with Vicki and Michael. It is rediculous that this is being discussed here. If you ask me, it is a good way to lose some of your sponsors!!

  53. Kirk Leavy October 20, 2008

    I received this Top 10 Predictions No Matter Who Wins the Election from a Compassion Advocate earlier this week. It really sums up the reality of our election.

    1. The Bible will still have all the answers.

    2. Prayer will still work.

    3. The Holy Spirit will still move.

    4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.

    5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.

    6. There will still be singing of praise to God.

    7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.

    8. There will still be room at the Cross.

    9. Jesus will still love you.

    10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.

    and God approves this message!

  54. Vicki Small October 20, 2008

    Thank you, Michael. I was thinking along the same line, while I was washing dishes: Leaders at the top and throughout Compassion believe that God has so richly blessed this ministry because all that we do is centered on Jesus Christ. We represent Him to the children and their families as the only real Source of hope.

    I certainly don’t put any hope in either candidate, or any candidate in any election, to solve the problem of poverty–or most other problems faced here or abroad. I make my selection based on the best information I can get (sorting through the garbage), and based on which one I believe is more likely to do what is right for the country and in the world. But they are all fallen people, as we are. Jesus really is our only hope.

  55. Michael October 20, 2008

    Well said Vicki! My hope is neither in McCain nor Obama. I DO have a preference, but I despise the fact that it is being discussed here.

    We need to decide what we TRULY believe, and live accordingly. My world will not come crashing down as a result of this election.

    If you want me to return to this blog, tell me about opportunities to serve the poor, or care for orphaned children. Don’t turn this in to another place to bash on each other for our differences.

  56. Vicki Small October 20, 2008

    Several of the comments above preceded mine, although at the time I wrote, only the first five were showing. That happens. But reading some of the others, I feel really sad that this discussion is taking place, here.

    I know, we’re supposed to be open. But one of the policies I have so appreciated in Compassion is to steer clear of political discussion. Yes, I know: Poverty is not really a political issue; but it is. It is used by politicians in their campaigns and their propaganda.

    When I go to Compassion conferences, I don’t usually hear politics entering into conversations. I heard more in DR than usual, but given the election campaigns in the U.S. and the duration of the conference, I guess that was to be expected. For the most part, it was heavenly, for me, to be away from all the campaigning, all of the prognostications, and to be among people of “one passion, one purpose, one voice.”

    In this ministry of Compassion, I want to plead with everyone to stay focused on our cause. Discussions of which candidate we should vote for, and why, quickly become cause for division among us. We lose trust in those who don’t agree with us. The devil would like nothing better!

  57. Vicki Small October 20, 2008

    Count me in with the first five comments. Several years ago, I tried to share Compassion with a couple I had known years before. Both are more liberal than I, now, and while the woman thought what I was doing in sponsoring my girls was wonderful, she said, “The government should be doing that.” I choked, but recovered quickly enough to tell her, “The government never would, and it never could do all that Compassion is doing!”

    Back to the survey results shown in the post…in addition to questioning the phrasing of items on the survey and the reason for it, I would also like to know how respondents were weighted and how the survey was conducted.

    Mostly, I have a strong preference for leaving political discussions (of particular candidates or parties) out of all things Compassion. That is, of course, a requirement of personal bloggers who link to Compassion, and with good reason.

  58. O.T.Goodman October 20, 2008

    Here’s some truth- most of the people who think fighting poverty is more important ARE IN POVERTY themselves so they have a vested interest. Therefore they are only being selfish. They think terrorism doesn’t affect them because, for example, most of the people killed on 9/11 were white professionals with money. I know this for a fact because I LIVE IN A SLUM and see and hear their attitudes first hand. Some even found it laughable that whites were targeted! Who cares about killing the poor in slums? Most people supporting Obama are Black and say they are voting ONLY BECAUSE HE IS “Black” so they automatically expect him to elevate their positions in this country little knowing that part of his calculated strategy is to DISTANCE himself from them because he KNOWS their support is not good enough, he want to bamboozle whites by making them think he’s their (unGodly) messiah. But those of us with the Holy Spirit know he is part of satan’s plan to destroy this country. God’s anointing is on Sarah Palin- she is an Esther and an Intercessor. Glory!

  59. Cheryl J October 20, 2008

    I have two thoughts here. First of all, if we do not make fighting terrorism a high priority, then we may not have a free country in which to fight global poverty. Secondly, I agree with Prairie Rose. I don’t think our government is effective in fighting poverty. Our government tends to give money to the governments of countries in need. I don’t think a high percentage of that money trickles down to the people that really need it. The private sector will always be more effective.

    Also, if we just rely on our government to take taxes from us and distribute it to help the poor, that relieves of us of the necessity of thinking about it. In other words, it doesn’t grab our hearts and minds and take us to our knees over the situation like it does when we actually make the conscious decision to find out what is happening out there and donate money out of our own pocket.

  60. Steve K. October 20, 2008

    I agree … how were the questions asked. McCain supporters believe it is more important to fight terror because you have to get rid of it first before you can end poverty. Why is that so hard for some to understand? Tell me, do Compassion and other organizations have trouble getting food to those who need it because dictators and terrorist organizations block it and take it for themselves first?! You see it all over Africa, North Korea, etc. In a free and democratic world “ending poverty and hunger” has its best chance. Many, but not all, Obama supporters live in a perfect world where everyone thinks like them. Many Obama supporters would have rather kept Saddam Hussein in power and fight poverty and hunger in Iraq under his control. Tell me, is it easier to help the Kurds now, or when Hussein was in power?!

  61. Caren October 20, 2008

    Devoid context, and without the population demographics of those surveyed, no valid inferences can be drawn… these “facts” are without correlation and causation…

    FWIW, Barna also finds that “Three out of four adults (72%) consider poverty to be one of the most serious social problems facing the United States today.”… and that is in the U.S.! … and how many in the U.S. live on two dollars a day or less…

    Barna also finds that “Two-thirds of Americans (64%) consider poverty to be an issue that the government is primarily responsible for addressing”. Whoaaa… just imagine that rating Charity Navigator would give the U.S. government for effective stewardship of money to release families from poverty… which is ~$21k for a family of four here in the U.S. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau).

  62. Lindy October 20, 2008

    I just came back on here to ask a similar question, but Prairie Rose said it better than I would have!

  63. Tom Joeckel October 20, 2008

    How does the survey break out with regard to abortion? I wonder how many of those supporting Obama consider abortion as part of the strategy in fighting world poverty….

  64. Prairie Rose October 20, 2008

    I don’t think this means anything at all. Phrased the way it’s phrased here, it almost sounds like the implication is that if we believe in fighting global poverty, we should vote for Obama. But I think many people who have answered that fighting the war on terror should be a greater priority may have said that not because they don’t believe in fighting poverty, but because they feel that is the responsibility of the private sector, not the government. I’d be interested to also see from those responses which people are actually doing something personally to contribute to fighting poverty.

  65. Lindy October 20, 2008

    I’m with Amy, and I also wonder–What was the reasoning behind commissioning the survey?

  66. Amy October 20, 2008

    I would be interested to see how the survey questions were phrased.

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