Perry has not overburdened the collection plate

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry has never been shy about putting his faith on display, from speeches at prayer breakfasts to his 2005 signing of abortion restrictions into law at a church school’s gym to inviting the nation’s governors to a prayer meeting at Houston’s Reliant Stadium that some are calling “Prayer-a-palooza.”

But when it comes time to giving, the governor doesn’t come close to the biblical guidance of tithing.

From 2000, when Perry became governor, through 2009, he earned a total of $2.68 million according to his tax records. Of that amount, he gave half a percent to churches and religious organizations, or $14,243.

By comparison, Americans averaged gifts of nearly 1.2 percent of their income to churches and religious groups from 2004 to 2008, according to Empty Tomb Inc., an Illinois-based research firm specializing in U.S. church-giving trends.

In 2007 — a year in which Perry reported an income of more than $1 million — he gave $90 to his church, according to the Perry family’s tax return. Twice since becoming governor, in 2000 and 2009, he reported no contributions to churches or religious organizations.

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