Copyright (c) 2010 Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy
Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy
ARTICLE: RE-ENVISIONING THE CHARITABLE DEDUCTION TO LEGISLATE COMPASSION AND CIVILITY: RECLAIMING OUR COLLECTIVE AND INDIVIDUAL HUMANITY THROUGH SUSTAINED VOLUNTEERISM
KANSAS JOURNAL OF LAW & PUBLIC POLICY
19 Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 269
Alice M. Thomas*
"I had a dream the other night that every volunteer in this country, disillusioned with the lack of compassion, had set sail for another country." 3
We are living in an increasingly (or differently) uncivilized world and society, marked by degrees of indifference and hostility. Several stories recently reported in the news prompt a need for a new debate about civility, compassion, interpersonal connectedness, and how to foster these qualities in American civil society. 4 These stories strike at the heart of the question: can (or should) we legislate compassion, civility, and interpersonal connectedness, and if so, how? This question is not fanciful or posed lightly. While we may agree that we cannot compel an emotion such as compassion through legislative action, we can legislate voluntary action. We can encourage participating members of our American civil society to take voluntary actions that have the potential to inculcate, deepen, and sustain the ideals of compassion, civility, and interpersonal connectedness by providing a charitable volunteerism tax deduction for direct service to both organizations (the third sector) and individuals (the fourth sector). 5 Traditionally, the focus of an analysis of charitable giving laws and practices recites the benefits that inure to the recipients of the charity; 6 this Article shifts the focus to the benefits that inure to society at large and to the volunteers who provide the charity.
Society benefits if we can facilitate re-instilling the ideals of compassion ...
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