Dec 17, 2007

Still Kicking

This year, as Washington's spending spree has continued, several conservative pundits have sat in air-conditioned offices and written about the death of compassionate conservatism, which they say has become a euphemism for big government spending.

If that's true, that's a shame, because the concept originally captured the excitement of thousands of small groups, often Christian, dedicated to fighting material and spiritual poverty. Their faith-based initiatives began without governmental help and are likely to continue regardless of what happens inside the Beltway.

But the punditocracy's over-generalizations about compassionate conservatism are not true, as this special section indicates. Included in this week's issue are profiles of 15 small programs that are the 2006 finalists in a contest run each year by the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, a Michigan-based think tank that has as one of its components the Center for Effective Compassion. (Disclosure: I'm an Acton senior fellow.)

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