There is always a war. That has no bearing on the charitable practices of the wealthy - who are even more likely these days than in 1940 to have shares in war-related industries and stand to profit hugely. However, the trends have changed since then. Rich people now hide their money in other countries, in long-term investments and in endowments for their favourite university or private school, where none of it will get to the poor in trouble. A few very wealthy people start their own non-profit organizations or foundations. These are far bigger tax shelters than a simple yearly pledge. They are also potentially very effective: some to dig wells in Africa; some buy business contacts in South America and big portraits of Der Founder. As for regular donations, the trend, according to the Forbes article I cited above is for the rich to give less and the poor to give more, relative to their incomes. Part of the reason for this is that wealth no longer has a nationality. A few rich people, like Carnegie, used to feel some obligation to put something back into the country that made them rich. Now, wealth is taken from all over the globe, its making causes misery all over the globe; it's harder to localize the source of and easier to escape the guilt. While I don't know what an opportunity cost is, I do know that a church should not be entitled to financial credit for any volunteer work done by its members. Tax can only be calculated with accuracy on financial transactions. Now, the church is not taxed on money freely (or under psychological duress) given by it members - which is also deductible on the members' income tax. Fine, if those tithes are used for the upkeep of churches, their staff, supplies and vestments. Fine, if used for community projects and services. The portion that goes to commercial enterprises should be taxed, and whatever income those enterprises earn should be taxed, like any other business. To whom does it seem fair that the Vatican's bank and the corner loan shark should be equally unburdened by civic responsibility?