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Giving to churches is flat. No turnaround of the economy is in sight. Many church attendees are unemployed or underemployed. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that givers to churches are traditionally more dedicated than others. They are more committed to God’s work than concerned about tax deductions for their gifts.

The so-called “fiscal cliff” negotiations in December between President Obama and Congress placed the charitable deduction very much on the table. Since 1917, the deduction has served as a vital giving incentive for charities. There were talks of percentage caps, dollar caps, tax credit substitutes and a variety of other alternatives, which could have cost churches and charities billions of dollars in contributions. Even church supporters were concerned. Anything that would hurt charitable giving is a negative for churches.

Thankfully, the fiscal cliff deal, formally titled the “American Taxpayer Relief Act,” did not result in a flat percentage or aggregative cap on itemized deductions.