Marvin Olasky

Where and when

Dr. Marvin Olasky is a theorist often cited by Republican welfare reformers. His 1992 book, The Tragedy of American Compassion, traces how help to the poor shifted from the providence of churches, synagogues and faith-based charities to the province of government, which he says “values atheism in practice.”

In his book, poverty stems not from the vast economic and social forces but from individual behavior and sin. His models for 21st Century compassion harken back to a time when religious people gave aid person-to person.

Olasky, 45, tours the country promoting his view of compassion from his home in Austin, Texas, where he is a journalism professor at the University of Texas. He is currently on leave from his college post, serving as a senior fellow in Newt Gingrich’s favorite think tank, the Progress & Freedom Foundation. He co-founded a part of the foundation, the Center for Effective Compassion.

An adjunct fellow of The Heritage Foundation, Olasky is senior fellow of the Capital Research Center and serves as a visiting professor of Christian Studies at the Reformed Theological Seminary.

A cum laude graduate of Yale University, Olasky holds both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in American culture from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Texas in 1983, he was a lecturer at San Diego State University.

Currently the editor of World magazine, Olasky previously served as editor of Philanthropy, Culture and Society; as general editor of the Turning Point Christian Worldview Series; as speechwriter/program coordinator for the DuPont Company; a speaker for the Christian Anti-Communism Campaign; and as a reporter for the Boston Globe and Bend (Ore.) Bulletin.

In addition to his hot-in-Congress Tragedy of American Compassion, Olasky has authored 12 other books, co-authored six books, edited 16 books, published 50 scholarly articles and written over 200 journalistic articles. He has been interviewed by CBS, NBC, CNN, PBS, C-SPAN, and NET television networks, heard on numerous talk shows carried by hundreds of radio stations, and featured in many major newspapers and magazines, including Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and USA Today.

Olasky and his wife, Susan, an author of children’s books and a correspondent for World, have four children, Peter, David, Daniel, and Benjamin.