It is no secret that Thailand is rife with human trafficking. It is the world’s number one destination for sex travel. (Yes, that means people travel to Thailand solely for the purpose of having sex with men, women and children who are trafficked.) Thailand’s fishing industry is also dependent on human trafficking, often using young boys at sea for long periods of time, sometimes working them to death.
That’s one of the questions that comes to mind when reading Bill McGurn’s op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal. Many free-market advocates, including yours truly, have already expressed concern over what may appear in the papal encyclical due this summer. McGurn concurs but, like a good entrepreneur, also sees an opportunity:
The fears are not without cause. There are many signs that do not augur well, from the muddled section on economics in the pope’s first encyclical [Actually, it was an apostolic exhortation. — K.J.] to his posing for a photo while holding up an anti-fracking T-shirt, to press coverage anticipating he will be to the fight against greenhouse gases what Pope John Paul II was to the fight against Soviet communism.
Even so, the topic is ripe for precisely the kind of corrective a pope has to offer: a reminder that God’s creation is meant to serve man—not man the environment. And its corollary: It is the have-nots who pay the highest price for the statist interventions so beloved of the Church of St. Green.
The term “human ecology” was used by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI (see my lecture on the topic), not only to speak about trendy environmental issues such as climate change but ones less popular among Western celebrities, especially the importance of marriage and family and the evils of population control. In doing so, the popes showed themselves to be pro-social-justice and pro-life/pro-family at the same time.
It’s possible, however, that the opponents of capitalism will use the occasion to attack economic freedom once again, even if it ultimately hurts the poor. Nothing very human about that kind of ecology.
Indiana Is Now The Most Hostile State To Religious Freedom
Dennis Saffran, The Federalist
Indiana’s ‘fix’ to its religious-freedom law increases burdens on conscience rights its original religious-freedom law was designed to protect.
Gender pay gap narrows when fringe benefits are included
Andrew G. Biggs, AEI Ideas
If you look at men and women while controlling for these differences, and then include the fringe benefits their different jobs pay, you find that benefits lower the pay gap, not increase it.
What Africa Needs More Than Food Aid Or Democracy
Interview with Ken Mbnugua, The Gospel Coalition
There are millions of Africans attending churches where the only message they hear is the prosperity gospel.
Another Infuriating Crackdown on Sharing Food With the Homeless
Baylen Linnekin, Reason.com
San Antonio targets a good Samaritan, because rules are rules.
Both my parents grew up in Detroit, and my childhood was filled with great trips to visit family for holidays and in the summer. The downtown Hudson’s store was always a destination. One of my aunts worked there, and it was the place to shop. Our trips always included a stop for a Sander’s hot fudge ice cream puff as well. My sisters and I played endless games on the stoop of my grandmother’s home, and a few miles away, rode bikes up and done sidewalks neighborhood sidewalks with our cousins.
That Detroit doesn’t exist anymore. What was once a thriving and beautiful Midwestern city is now a place struggling to remake itself. Harry Veryser, economist and professor at University of Detroit Mercy, has a few ideas as to how Detroit just might make a comeback, and why it ended up the way it is now.
Why are property rights important, even for those who own the least? Professor Tom W. Bell of Chapman University School of Law explains that property rights allow people to live together in peace, prosperity, and freedom.
According to Daniel Pardo, citizens of Venezuela have figured out the fine art of queuing (that’s “waiting in line” for Americans.) It’s a good thing, too, since things like milk, sugar, soap, toilet paper and other essentials are always in short supply in this socialist country.
The government regulates the price of these goods. It doesn’t subsidise them – it tells the producer what they can charge. That might just about make sense in a buoyant economy but with inflation running at over sixty percent and the value of the currency plummeting, it appears producers are not only failing to make a profit but are operating at a loss. Similarly companies who export food to Venezuela have given up waiting to be paid by a government that’s down on its luck and are now selling their goods elsewhere.
At the end of this week, on April 24, many will recall the Armenian Genocide by observing the “The Armenian Day of Remembrance.” This day remembers the more than one million Armenians who were slaughtered by the Ottoman government during and after World War I. Patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicos Karekin II, describes the genocide:
Centuries of honest accomplishments and creativity were swiftly plundered…Thousands of monasteries and churches were desecrated and destroyed. National institutions and schools were razed and ruined. Our spiritual and cultural treasures were uprooted and obliterated. Western Armenia, where for millennia — from the time of Noah – our people lived, created and built their history and culture, had been wrested from its native population.
In 1993, construction crews working at the college of St. Joseph Antoura in Lebanon made a macabre discovery. Buried in mass graves behind the school were human bones — the small bones of children.
Over the past hundred years few judges have been able to match the wit, wisdom, and intellectual rigor of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. During his thirty year career he has been an indefatigable champion of originalism (a principle of interpretation that views the Constitution’s meaning as fixed as of the time of enactment) and a vociferous critic of the slippery “living constitution” school of jurisprudence. When future historians assess his career Scalia will be viewed as one of the most thoughtful, principled, and important jurists of his era.
But even a legal genius can produce a disastrous opinion, and Scalia delivered his worst twenty-five years ago this week in Employment Division v. Smith. As Michael Stokes Paulsen explains, this ruling has “proven to be one of the most devastatingly long-term harmful Supreme Court constitutional decisions of the past half century.”
Culture War Questions: Can Christians Be Notaries?
Ben Domenech, The Federalist
The two 24-year magistrates were forced out by a fairly clear cut policy decision on the part of the AOC: either administer all marriages or none of them.
Keller’s 5 Ways the Gospel Transforms Your Work
Nicholas McDonald, Scribblepreach
I ’ll be honest: I’ve lived most of my life with a pretty low view of work. Being a pastor was fine – but I’m talking about NORMAL jobs, for NORMAL people. I thought, “Why would you be making widgets when you could be transforming souls?”
Ask the Author: Tim Gloege on Guaranteed Pure
Kristin Du Mez, Historical Horizons
Guaranteed Pure explains how evangelicals at the Moody Bible Institute created a modern form of old-time religion using business ideas and techniques. This smoothed the advent of modern consumer capitalism in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and transformed the dynamics of Protestantism in modern America.
Student sues public university for requiring ‘free speech permit’
Bonnie Kristian, The Week
“At Cal Poly, students have to wear a free speech badge in the free speech zone and can only get that authorization on weekdays. This is a cartoonish violation of the First Amendment, almost beyond parody,” explains Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The free speech zone is just 0.01 percent of campus space.
On Naharnet, a Lebanese news and information site, Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg and Director of Istituto Acton Kishore Jayabalan comment on Pope Francis’s forthcoming environmental encyclical, which the news organization says is planned for release this summer. (Note: The article describes Acton as a “Catholic” think tank but it is, in fact, an ecumenical organization with broad participation from Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians and those of other faith traditions.) Naharnet notes that “a papal encyclical is meant to provide spiritual guidance to the world’s 1.1 billion Roman Catholics, but among advocates of climate action hopes are high that this one will resonate far beyond the church.”
Samuel Gregg, research director of the conservative Michigan-based Catholic think tank, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, said he doubts that the pope will weigh in on the science of climate change or on any particular political course of action.
“Individual Catholics—lay people, as well as bishops—have a variety of views on the science of climate change, and as citizens, they’re quite entitled to hold those views,” he said. “It’s not the church’s responsibility, nor does it have the authority to say that Catholics must support this treaty, that treaty, or any treaty. It doesn’t fall into the area of faith and morals. And this is often a distinction not understood outside the Catholic Church, or even by a good number of Catholics themselves.” (more…)