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Charity is to give true and should be anonymous?-some quotations and observations about charities

Salvation Army World War I poster. piublic domain

Salvation Army World War I poster. piublic domain

Magnificent Obsession

 When I was in my early teens I read what I thought was the greatest Religious novel I had run across. It was “Dr. Hudson’s Secret Journal” by Lloyd C. Douglas. It was a sequel to Magnificent Obsession, which I also read, and saw the movie version, with Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson (1954)

 The basic concept was that Dr. Hudson was a great philanthropist but he kept all his giving a secret.  It was only discovered after his death when his diary was found in which he recorded the good deeds he had done.

Later in college I was talking to a  political science classmate who mentioned that they had studied the papal encyclicals during a quarter I was not there. Not being a Catholic he was impressed with the attitude toward charity which amounted to that it didn’t count unless it was a sacrifice, not just giving away your extras.


Some Quotes on Charity

“Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.”

John D Rockefeller

I grew up with the attitude that big business was evil or to be held suspect. Like all generalizations I feel this one is not entirely true. It is an attitude that sill prevails and I think, in all charity, I should look into the truth of it. Whatever the case I agree with the quote.

“True charity is the desire to be useful to others without thought of recompense. “

Emanuel Swedenborg Theologian

This is the thought that I find among commentators of different countries, or religious faith.

“Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity. When I give, I give myself.”

Walt Whitman

This is in a way the hardest to do. It is much like the parable of the Good Samritan who took personal responsibility for a stranger.

Charity degrades those who receive it and hardens those who dispense it.”

Charity degrades those who receive it and hardens those who dispense it.”

George Sand-French Romantic writer (1804-1876)

I have been in the unfortunate position at one time to need the help of the welfare system, including living in public housing. It is degrading and there are lots of people ready to reinforce that. Many people I saw were young and had no idea of being self sufficient.. While I met some job counselors and other workers that were good, encouraging people, some tended to treat a person in a belittling way.

“Lots of people think they are being charitable if they give away their old clothes and things they don’t want.”

Myrtle Reed

This observation is much like what my college fried said about the Papal Encyclicals.

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“Christian life consists of faith and charity.”

Martin Luther

Contrary to the idea of faith alone, Luther did believe in “good works.” He was protesting against the idea that you could buy your way into heaven.

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog when you are just as hungry as the dog.”

Jack London

Another way of saying that true charity requires giving a bit more than is comfortable.

“Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.”

Albert Camus-French Novelist

It seems that celebrities, politicians who talk about “being their brothers keeper”, caring about the poor. Many of them do good things like give charitable concerts to raise money for causes. Many of them advocate giving other people’s money to help the poor..

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the constitution which granted a right to congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”

James Madison 4th U.S. president

I would add to this that it is even worse that the money on objects that the constituents do not approve of.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling symbol.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

This is one of my favorite Bible quotes. Again some people are “charitable” for show or their own gratification.

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American writer of humorous verse.

Or the modern version of charity concerts.

“Boards of public charity were invented by the devil to prevent real individual charity.”

Austin O’Mallery-United Irish Leader 1760-1850

I do thimk that the welfare system has preempted the role of churches and private charities and sometimes imposing their own agenda.

‘The charity that hastens to proclaim its good deeds, ceases to be charity, and is only pride and ostentation.

William Hutton


“I have come to the conclusion that charity is only charity when you give goods, services or money without personal gain, benefit or recognition of any kind. True charity is anonymous.

Jim Pinto-speaker, writer, consultant

One of my favorite quotes was from Henry David Thoreau which I will have to paraphrase: When some one comes to my front door determined to do me some good, I quickly leave by the back door.

© 2010 Don A. Hoglund


Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on June 14, 2011:

Anonymous giving is the ideal.Giving to charity does involve a variety of motives, including tax deductions.Sometimes someone who gives might set an example to encourage others. I guess we will not know how many are like Dr. Hudson in the book because we don't know about them.

Thanks for reading this and for sharing your thoughts.

Mark on June 14, 2011:

4 years ago, a secret santa died who gave away 1.3 million dollars over a 20 year period. Before he died, he revealed his identity.

While I found his acts of charity admirable, I was very disappointed that he gave in to his own selfish interests in the end.

Some people argue that his story is inspirational. While that is true, it doesn't mean that it wasn't inspirational before he revealed his identity. Wouldn't it be even more inspirational to give without wanting acknowledgement from society?

It seems that humans are generally incapable of doing something charitable that doesn't eventually serve their own self interests. Charities generally want people to disclose their identities, which I suspect encourages people to give since they know society will give them credit.

Since his death, numerous people have stepped up to take his place. I often wonder how many of them are doing it because they saw how much fame the late secret santa gained - and the want it for themselves - and how many will be truly selfless and remain anonymous.

Charity is charity. The money you give is no more useful if you reveal your identity.

K Rajamanickam on January 01, 2011:

I am impressed on the Quotes of charity particularly on William Hutton. I have also requested the members joined in Giving Pledge Campaign that they should not go behind tax rebate alone. Here is my story if any one could help I shall be very grateful.

I am an Ex Army man from India. Retired from govt service in April 2004. In the anxiety of a house to fulfill the ambition of my wife to do my last rites in own house I have joined and arranged down line members in the National Federation of the Blind and Manav Foundation said to be for the backward community, with a high hope of getting incentive while serving needy people but they have cheated making loss of my entire pension benefits besides run into debit of more than 8.5 lacs in the process of coming out of the tragedy. As I have no source to repay the loan and my meager pension is not sufficient to pay interest (24%) on the loan amount trembling with fear and at the age of 67 in the street for daily bread and needs.Torture of down line members and mental agony of debit some time thinking of suicide also. I am running up and down but no help. If any one could help me at this juncture I shall be very grateful. Thanks

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on December 05, 2010:

Although I have heard of the place I do not know much aboput it and i only have sketchy knowledge of the church-state politics to the times.

Rod Marsden from Wollongong, NSW, Australia on December 05, 2010:

As humans we generally do the best we can.

Worms (Voems) in Germany has entered into my fiction of late because I find it a fascinating place. For some time it was the city of the Holy Roman emperor who supported the papacy and it was also the city that gave its allegiance in the end to Martin Luther.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on December 04, 2010:

I don't know if many of us live up to our ideals. The church did need reform at that time and Luther was only one of the reformers. Others chose to work from within.Human beings are always subject to various temtations and church leaders are not exempt.

Rod Marsden from Wollongong, NSW, Australia on December 04, 2010:

Well it sounds like your religion has got it right or, at any rate, the way you say your religion should be practiced. Martin Luther was a Catholic before he decided that the Church needed reforming. I would say he got some of his ideas from being a Catholic. The pope at the time was less than charitable to the people living in Germany. Other popes down through the centuries have, of course, proven themselves to be more in tune with God.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on December 04, 2010:

In my religion, Catholicism, Charity and love as I recall have the same meaning.

As I understand charity it is love. Whatever the case the giving should be done from love of neighbor and not for ones own satisfaction.

I agree with what you say on good intentions. there is the old saying "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Rod Marsden from Wollongong, NSW, Australia on December 04, 2010:

I'll go along with your Martin Luther quote only I will substitute the word charity with friendship or mateship or go one better and use that four letter word - love. To share with someone when you could do with the lot for yourself goes way beyond charity.

Good intentions have just about killed off the original inhabitants of Australia. Where Aborigines have found some way to be self sufficient they do alright. Where they are all on welfare they have the look of the lost and there's alcohol abuse, etc. It does feel great to work for a living and there is no substitute for the feeling. Any work, even digging a ditch, is something that can bring pride and hope.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 11, 2010:

It is sort of like the old joke about the Boy Scout taking an old lady across the street. the only problem was that she didn't want to go across the street.

At least that is the sort of thing I have run into. someone who decides wha i need and ignores my protests that I do not want whatever it is.

Thanks for commenting.

Kim Harris on November 11, 2010:

Thanks dahoglund. I once was in a situation where some people with really good intentions were downright offensive in their charitable actions. I was able to put a stop to it, but couldn't really explain why it was offensive. People thought I was cold! It just seemed like the "givers" were taking too much pleasure and there was something derogatory about how the recipients were expressing their gratitude. It was like a ritual public display of charity in which everyone had a permanent assigned role as either a giver or a recipient. Well, I still can't explain it. Thanks for the opportunity to try again!

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 10, 2010:

I certainly agree with you. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

magnoliazz from Wisconsin on November 10, 2010:

This is a very thought provoking hub to say the least. I think we should help other, up to a point. Then they need to help themselves.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 08, 2010:

Thanks for commenting. I'm glad you found it enjoyable.

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on November 08, 2010:

I think charity given in the right spirit can be good. I also believe that charity given by people who are expecting praise is bad. Charity needs to be given from the heart.

I enjoyed the different points of view. Rated up and awesome.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 08, 2010:

I appreciate your supportive comment and glad you enjoyed it.

RunAbstract from USA on November 08, 2010:

Very good article! I enjoyed these quotes, and the thoughts they have provoked! Thank you!

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 07, 2010:

Thank you for your encouraging comment.

Benny Faye Ashton Douglass from Gold Canyon, Arizona on November 07, 2010:

Thank you dahoglund, for this hub, I agree with you about charity should be anonymous, in fact that is what the word of God says. Charity should be given in secret. Great hiub. Thank you for sharing. Godspeed. creastiveone59

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 07, 2010:

Thanks for your comment.

I'll admit it took me awhile to come to the conclusions of preferring small government. The change in my thinking probably started with LBJ and the Great Society. I lived in one of what was designated a"model City" if I recall the term. It was a nice older neighborhood in North Minneapolis. It started to go downhill and became a high crime area. People moved out which tended to make matters worse.

There was an office that was supposed to help people with finding better housing, but we went in ther and there was someone with a newspaper clipping out classified ads. Maybe there are people so helpless than can't read the classifieds. But it really indicated that the people in charge didn't know what to do.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 07, 2010:

I agree with you. The local level is always best. Fewer layers with more interested people who actually live there instead of more removed disinterested government employees who are only doing it for a job.

As to those social services where sometimes the employees treat the people in a condescending tone...I just wish they could remember the phrase..."There but for the grace of God...", it could be THEM in that same place of needing help, after all. It can truly happen to ANYBODY for many reasons!

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 06, 2010:

I agree but I have found there is often a condescending tone in bureaucratic social services.

Tamarajo on November 06, 2010:

I think sometimes we view the reception of charity as humiliating but I think if given and received properly and for good reasons it could be interpreted as love.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 06, 2010:

Thanks you for the support.

summertime8 on November 06, 2010:

Very interesting hub - I'm voting it up and useful

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 06, 2010:

Hi Peggy W

Thanks for your comments. There is a place for government,preferably at the local level, but but It has a tendency to keep growing. I think generally that anything that can be done by the private sector should be and government can fill in the gaps. In Katrina it seemed that both private charities and private business worked better than FEMA.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 06, 2010:

This sentence: "I do think that the welfare system has preempted the role of churches and private charities and sometimes imposing their own agenda" rings true. Prior to having a welfare system people who truly needed help generally got it from family, friends, neighbors, churches and the like. It was not institutionalized and generations of people did not then grow up on welfare. Kids did not receive money for having kids! People worked hard to pull themselves back up and get back on their feet.

All of that being said...programs like SSI that help the disabled are great.

Many of the quotes are good ones. Very thoughtful hub. Rating this useful and up!

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 06, 2010:

Thank you for reading it and commenting.

daydreamer13 on November 05, 2010:

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this.

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 05, 2010:

Thanks for coming by and commenting.

eovery from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa on November 04, 2010:

Nice topic.

I like the story of The Mansion. It brings this message out very well.

Keep on hubbing!

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 04, 2010:

I suspected I would run into controversy and I am no expert on Rockefeller or your part of the country. Thanks for commenting and adding to the dialogue.

Tom Whitworth from Moundsville, WV on November 04, 2010:


My comment focuses on John D. Rockefeller. No matter what he said he raped the state of West Virginia by buying all energy resources and that legacy still prevails today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don A. Hoglund (author) from Wisconsin Rapids on November 04, 2010:

Yes it can be challenging. What concerns me the most is public figures who talk about charity but practice very little in the true sense. Thanks for commenting.

2patricias from Sussex by the Sea on November 04, 2010:

This is a very thought-provoking hub. Probably most people have a vague idea about charity, and as your quotes illustrate, there are a lot of different ideas about charity!

In our experience, it is very difficult to separate oneself from a so-called charitable deed, but we believe that true charity is for the sole benefit of the recipient. That can be very challenging.

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