Blog author: jcarter
Monday, September 15, 2014
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World May Be in Beginnings of World War III, Pope Suggests
Aleteia

Praying for war dead at Italian WWI Memorial, Francis condemns apathy toward ongoing conflict.

Eden Cast Out: Progressives Take Aim At A Traditional Organic Food Company
Fr. Benedict Kiely, Daily Caller

There is nothing quite so intolerant as a vegan, Buddhist, Gaia-loving, health food store owner.

Poverty, Not Climate Change, Bigger Concern for China and India
avid Kreutzer, The Daily Signal

Poverty is deadly. For instance, snake bites kill nearly 50,000 people per year in India (also see here) because poverty, especially rural poverty, limits access to appropriate medical care. In addition, the availability of refrigeration, needed to preserve many types of anti-venom, is severely restricted in India.

Religious Employers to Go Ahead With Contraception Lawsuits
Louise Radnofsky, Wall Street Journal

Sign that Obama administration compromise won’t end legal battle.

university-analysis-1To be a Christian requires, at a minimum, that a person subscribe to certain beliefs (such as that Jesus is God). For an organization to be labeled Christian would therefore imply that the members (or at least the leaders) also subscribe to certain beliefs. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) is, as the name implies, a Christian organization, so it isn’t surprising that it requires it leaders to subscribe to Christian beliefs.

Sadly, it’s also not surprising that some people are offended a Christian organization would expect its leaders to be Christians. That’s why it is not altogether unexpected (though still disconcerting) that California State University schools has “derecognized” IVCF. As Ed Stetzer says,
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In the United States, we’ve only begun to see how impediments to religious liberty can harm and hinder certain businesses and entrepreneurial efforts. Elsewhere, however, particularly in the developing world, religious restrictions and hostilities have long been a barrier to economic growth.

To identify these realities, Brian Grim of Georgetown University and Greg Clark and Robert Edward Snyder of Brigham Young University conducted an extensive study, “Is Religious Freedom Good for Business?,” which concludes that “religious freedom contributes to better economic and business outcomes.”

Katrina Lantos Swett and Daniel Mark summarize the key findings at Investor’s Business Daily:

Reviewing the GDP growth of 173 countries while controlling for 23 financial, social and regulatory factors, [Clark and Snyder] found that religious freedom not only is associated with global economic growth, but also is one of only three factors carrying that association.

As the study found, 20% of countries with low levels of religious hostilities and 20% nations with low levels of government restrictions on religion were economic innovators, while the figures for nations with high levels of hostilities and restrictions were only 8% and 7%, respectively.

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Blog author: jcarter
Friday, September 12, 2014
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Churches Offer Sanctuary to Immigrants in Danger of Deportation
Miriam Jordan, Wall Street Journal

Campaign follows Obama decision to delay action that might have staved off removal.

Evidence Grows of Russian Orthodox Clergy’s Aiding Ukraine Rebels
Andrew Higgins, New York Times

The Russian Orthodox Church, like the Kremlin, has strenuously denied any role in stirring up or aiding separatist turmoil in Ukraine. But as Slovyansk and other towns seized by pro-Russian rebels have fallen over the summer to a since-stalled Ukrainian government offensive in the east, evidence has begun to accumulate of close ties between the church, or at least individual Orthodox priests, and the pro-Russian cause.

Intervarsity Christian Ministry In Trouble For Acting Christian
Andrew Walker, First Things

To protect against discrimination, liberals increasingly seek to discriminate. News broke over the weekend that all twenty-three schools within the California State University system have taken steps to “derecognize” InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF), a para-church Christian ministry organization that’s had a longstanding presence within university life religious settings.

Now for a Really Destructive Innovation: A Europe-wide State
Theodore Dalrymple, Library of Law and Liberty

The best hope for the European Union would be for it to eventually evolve into an enormous Belgium. More likely, it will evolve into an enormous Yugoslavia circa 1990, which will not be quite so good.

It may not be the silver bullet for every financial challenge facing states at the present, but those states adopting right-to-work (RTW) legislation are becoming more competitive. In your writer’s native Michigan, for example, RTW was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in December 2012, and the results have been impressive. The American Legislative Exchange Council’s recently released 2014 “Rich States, Poor States” report places the Great Lakes State 12th out of 50. ALEC’s 2013 report placed Michigan at 25 between 1999 and 2009, and 17 in 2012. Michigan was ranked 50th in ALEC’s Economic Performance Ranking, which measures states’ economic performance between 2002 and 2009. Although RTW only accounts for one of the 15 variables ALEC considers, it places RTW and taxes at the top of the list:

[T]he two policy decisions that have the biggest impact on growth among the states are 1) the highest income tax rate faced by business and individuals, and 2) whether a state has forced-union policies or right-to-work statutes allowing workers to opt out of unions. If states are right-to-work and keep their corporate and personal income taxes low, and all other factors are held constant, this should go a long way to making those states a place where jobs, people, and capital move. Sure enough, our latest analysis covering 2002-2012 confirms this conclusion once again….

A survey of the literature on the economic effects of right-to-work laws confirms what the data above shows. Literature reviews done by two separate teams of researchers—Dr. Randall Pozdena and Dr. Eric Fruits, as well as Dr. Michael Hicks and Michael LaFaive—find significant support for the theory that right-to-work policies boost economic performance.In addition, both research teams’ own personal economic analyses come to similar conclusions that conform with the academic consensus. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, September 11, 2014
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DF_01_1[1]In his Epidemics, Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, wrote that the physician has two special objects in view: to do good or to do no harm. That same principle should be the special object of every educator. While they may not always know what is required to do good, the least they can do is to do no harm.

By applying that standard, it becomes inexplicable why educators are pushing for Common Core standards. A study released last year by a pro-Common Core group predicted that under Common Core’s stricter set of state education standards, six-year high school dropout rates will likely double for states adhering to the federally incentivized nationally-based testing.
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Those of you in West Michigan with a taste for libertarian cinema may want to to join local restaurateur Tommy Brann for a special screening of “Atlas Shrugged 3: Who is John Galt?” Brann is hosting the showing at Celebration Cinema North at Knapp’s Corner tomorrow (Sept. 12) at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7.75 and email tombrann@branns.com to reserve your seat.

Before you go, read Rev. Robert A. Sirico’s essay “Who Really Was John Galt, Anyway?” published at Patheos.com in 2011. Also see the PowerBlog post and video from 2012 in which Rev. Sirico talks about Rand’s “false gospel.”

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, September 11, 2014
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Naked Consent: Why Personal Speech Codes Won’t Curb a Social Problem Like Sexual Assault
Mark Regnerus, Public Discourse

Speech codes won’t fix what ails a relationship marketplace that aggravates—rather than relieves—the risk of sexual violence. California’s proposed law will simply multiply accusations, legal proceedings, and judicial headaches.

Christ’s teaching on poverty
James Chastek, Just Thomism

The older account of Christ’s elevation of poverty imputes a mystical character to to it, as though the condition itself was a sort of prophesy. The newer account is not mystical but practical and political.

Pope Francis ranked among Washington’s political elite
Michael O’Loughlin, Crux

While he prefers to associate with the poor and marginalized, Pope Francis has shown up on a list of the powerful and elite. Politico Magazine ranked the Argentine-born Catholic leader No. 6 on its “The Politico 50” list, dubbing him “Washington’s Favorite Populist.”

How the Rise in School Choice Helps All of Us
Ed Feulner, The Daily Signal

America is built on the philosophy of bootstrapping, or pulling yourself up through your own talents and abilities. No tool is better suited for doing that than a good education.

First-Amendment-Area-490x653The great British statesman Edmund Burke claimed that “to love the little platoon we belong to in society is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections.” Burke was referring to the mediating social institutions that that lie between the individual and the state. These “little platoons” include not only the family but our churches, labor unions, charity organizations, and other voluntary associations.

Since the dawn of modernity, intellectuals and politicians have been hostile to mediating structures since they put barriers between the individual and the State. As Brad Lowell Stone has noted, “Hobbes, Rousseau, and Bentham each envisioned an ideal condition in which the state guards the rights and fulfills the needs of unencumbered, desocialized individuals.”

Along with Hobbes, Rousseau, and Bentham we can add Senator Tom Udall (D-NM). Sen. Udall is the sponsor of a resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that would limit the power and influence of certain mediating structures by ending the First Amendment protections of political speech.

The second of the proposed amendment’s three sections reads:

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morechickenS. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-Fil-A, died on Monday at the age of 93. He once said, “We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed.” Extremely profitable and popular, Chick-Fil-A has given $68 million to charity since its founding.

Cathy was a master at forging relationships and he noted in his book Eat More Chikin: Inspire More People, “Courtesy is cheap, but it pays great dividends.” The profits of Chick-Fil-A and its customer loyalty testify to Cathy’s successful life and business principles. Customers love Chick-Fil-A not just because of the quality and affordable food but because there is often a noticeable difference on how they are treated compared to rival establishments. The core statement of Cathy’s business is a simple one: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick- fil-A.”

Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sunday, bypassing lucrative Sunday sales to honor the Sabbath. He told The Atlanta Journal Constitution, “It’s a silent witness to the Lord when people go into shopping malls, and everyone is bustling, and you see that Chick-fil-A is closed.”

In his book Eat Mor Chikin, Cathy discusses the power of giving:

Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, or our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return. That’s why I am so thankful that the Lord brought foster children into my life – truly needy individuals who need love more than money, and who appreciate smiles and hugs as much as popcorn and ice cream.

Unexpected opportunities almost always carry with them the chance to be a faithful steward and to influence others positively. These were the lessons I began to learn in childhood from my mother, my siblings, and others around me who cared enough to teach me.

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