The following appeared in the Feb. 5, 2012, edition of the Tampa Bay Times. Theology Professor Evelyn Parker provided expertise for this story.
February 16, 2012
By Leonora LaPeter Anton
Mitt Romney's recent tax returns, which show he donated $4 million to the Mormon church during 2010 and 2011, shed light on an interesting truth about his faith.
Mormons give to their churches at a much higher rate than other Christian denominations, three times as much in some cases. Romney's donation averaged nearly 10 percent of his $43 million income for that two-year period. Many churches encourage their congregations to give one-tenth of their incomes. It's called a tithe and the Old Testament, they say, encourages the practice.
But fewer people who identify with specific religions tithe and those who do are donating less....
"At best the pastor or authority in charge will use Scripture, especially in the sermon, to encourage people to tithe," said Evelyn L. Parker, a professor of practical theology at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University....