theGrio: Black Churches Hit By Economic Downturn, To Tithe Or Not To Tithe? (VIDEO)

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Source: Shartia Brantley / theGrio

To tithe or not to tithe, that is the question.

Tithing, or giving 10 percent of your income to support the ministries of your church, is vulnerable during the slow economic recovery. As the national unemployment rate trends downward, currently at 8.5 percent, the opposite is true for African-Americans. Since October 2011, black unemployment has increased from 15 percent to 15.8 percent in December, according to Bureau for Labor Statistics.

The jobs crisis has impacted giving. The non-profit, Faith Communities Today, says 80 percent of congregations in a recent survey said they took a financial hit during the recession.

According to Giving USA, religious charitable giving accounted for 35 percent of the $290.89 billion in charitable contributions in 2010 or about $100.63 billion. Approximately 87 percent of donations came from individuals and family foundations or an estimated $87.5 billion. This includes contributions to houses of worship, national offices of denominations and faith groups, ministries, and religious communities.

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