There's this statistic I encounter every so often about how conservatives donate so much more money to charity than progressives. I guess it must be true since there's supposedly hard data to back it up, but I wonder how much religion pays a role. After all, conservatives tend to be more religious than liberals, and donations to churches count as tax-deductible charitable contributions. Mormons, for instance, are expected to donate 10% of their income to the church. That's a lot of charity.
That's a lot of charity even for me personally, considering that I started paying tithing before I turned eight. When I was a poor college student with a part-time job, after I wrote that big monthly check the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I didn't feel like I had a lot of money left over to give to other organizations.
When I quit going to church and could give specific amounts to specific groups, I found that I favored organizations that took care of animals. But instead of saying, "Well, I care a lot about animal welfare, so I'm going to give money to groups dedicated to that," it was was more like I figured out that I cared a lot about animals because I preferred donating to the Humane Society over writing a check to the Red Cross. It's not like I never give money to organizations dedicated to taking care of people; I just give more to groups focused on animals.