Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, September 3, 2015
By

Puerto Rico’s religious leaders call for federal debt intervention
Joshua Mcelwee, Vatican Insider

A coalition of religious leaders, including five Catholic bishops, called Monday for the U.S. Federal Reserve to step in and restructure Puerto Rico’s $72 billion debt.

The Truth About Wages in Right-to-Work States
Natalie Johnson, The Daily Signal

Private sector wages are not reduced in right-to-work states as union advocates have argued, according to a new report released Tuesday by The Heritage Foundation.

How America Lost Track of Ben Franklin’s Definition of Success
John Paul Rollert, The Atlantic

According to Franklin, what mattered in business was humility, restraint, and discipline. But today’s Type-A MBAs would find him qualified for little more than a career in middle management.

Hunter-Gatherer Economics and Sustainability
Arnold Kling, askblog

To many environmentalists, sustainability means leaving the world the way you found it. I think that this may reflect the instincts of a hunter-gatherer.

Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
By

Istanbul declaration on climate change
Saudi Gazette

“The Islamic Climate Change Declaration” urges Muslims the world over to recognize and take action against the threat of climate change.

Study Guide on Care for Creation reissued; Metropolitan Tikhon addresses faithful on “Day of Prayer for Creation”
The Orthodox News

“As the summer draws to a close and children go back to or away to school for the first time and begin again a new academic year and ecclesiastical year, let us, being reminded by the pointers to Christ as mentioned by Saint Ephrem, take a moment to turn to the one needful thing in praise, worship and thanksgiving for the creation and all the blessings bestowed upon us by our merciful Creator,” Metropolitan Tikhon concludes. “It is my prayer that the parishes, Sunday Schools, Youth Groups and other organizations of the Orthodox Church in America will take up this time around September 1 to celebrate the Day of Prayer for the Creation.”

Pope Francis Holds Virtual Audience With Americans in ABC News Event Ahead of US Visit
Lauren Effron, ABC News

Pope Francis participated in a virtual audience today with Americans from around the country during an event hosted exclusively with ABC News.

(more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
By

acton-commentary-blogimage“The world is not a parsimonious place, in spite of the dogmas of the ecologists,” says James V. Schall in this week’s Acton Commentary.

Our most unsettling economic problems are actually not economic but moral—moral ones that cannot be simply passed on from generation to generation. They need to be chosen and internalized by each person in each generation at the risk of deflecting material goods from their proper purposes.

Work likewise is not exclusively for its own sake. Rather work, while being an expression of human dignity and concrete accomplishment, aims at a product, aims at the material wellbeing in which something more than work can happen. The basis of culture, as Josef Pieper wrote in a famous thesis, is not only work but also leisure that lies beyond work. We work in order to have leisure, not the other way around.

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

On September 8-10 we’ll be having a free ebook giveaway of Schall’s latest book. More information on the giveaway will be coming soon, so check back here on the PowerBlog to learn more.

March for Life(1)Imagine if the government were to tell an organization dedicated to veganism that, because of a new mandate, they must purchase a meat platter to serve at their monthly meetings and that the chair cushions in their conference room must be made of leather.

Appalled by this governmental intrusion, the vegans ask to be excluded from the mandate since none of their members wish to eat bologna while sitting on dead cow skin. They also point out that a group of Jain vegetarians who meet next door were given an exemption and that they are merely asking to be treated similarly.

The government considers their request and decides to deny the exemption. The reason? Unlike the Jains, the vegans’ objection is based on moral philosophy rather than religion.

Such reasoning would be morally and legally absurd. Yet it is the exact reason the Obama administration gave for denying an exemption from the HHS’s abortifacient mandate to March for Life, a non-religious, non-profit pro-life organization whose staff opposes all forms of abortion, including those caused by contraceptives that can act as abortifacients.
(more…)

Blog author: jsunde
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
By

creativity-capitalism-money-crashCapitalism is routinely castigated as an enemy of the arts, with much of the finger-pointing bent toward monsters of profit and efficiency. Other critiques take aim at more systemic features, fearing that the type of industrialization that markets sometimes tend toward will inevitably detach artists from healthy social contexts, sucking dry any potential for flourishing as a result.

But what if the opposite is true? I offer the argument over at The Federalist.

Free economies introduce their own unique challenges for artists and consumers alike. We are justified in cringing at the array of bottom-dollar record-company execs and merchandising-obsessed Hollywood crackpots (though I will always prefer their ilk to your run-of-the-mill Commissar of the Arts). But the increases in economic empowerment that have led to these many marketing machines have also led to plenty of artistic empowerment in turn.

In an article for New York Times Magazine, Steven Johnson reinforces this very point, observing that the many apocalyptic prophecies about arts in the digital age have not quite manifested. “In the digital economy, it was supposed to be impossible to make money by making art,” he writes. “Instead, creative careers are thriving — but in complicated and unexpected ways.” (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
By

Why are Black and Hispanic Evangelicals More Favorable Toward the Prosperity Gospel?
Joe Carter, TGC

A new survey finds that black and Hispanic evangelicals are more likely than white evangelicals to say they have a favorable view of “prosperity gospel” preachers, believe wealth is a sign of God’s favor, and believe that prayer can improve their wealth.

The dharma of dollars: What Buddhism says about money and meaning
Reuters

Buddhism, which holds that wealth is temporary and no path to happiness, might not sound like the best source for money wisdom. Not so, says Ethan Nichtern, the prominent Buddhist teacher, who has written a new book, “The Road Home,” on self-awareness and spiritual seeking.

The Link Between Political and Economic Freedom
Julius Kairey, The Daily Signal

More than 50 years ago, Milton Friedman’s seminal work “Capitalism and Freedom” reminded Americans of the founding principles that made us greatest nation on Earth (economic and political freedom, individualism, and the rule of law).

Let’s hear our next president’s views on poverty
Angela Rachidi, AEI Ideas

More than five years into the economic recovery, the rate of families in poverty is still worse than before President Obama took office. Our next president should articulate an approach that will do better.

Pope Francis recently announced a “year of mercy,” making it easier for the Catholic Church to forgive women for having abortions. Acton’s President and Co-founder Robert Sirico went on WSJ Live to discuss this. Watch below:

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
By

sky-psalm192The mission of the Acton Institute is to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles. We seek to articulate a vision of society that is both free and virtuous, the end of which is human flourishing.

That phrase—“human flourishing”—has become such a buzzword, though, that it’s in danger of losing any real meaning. As Scott Swain says, “Due to its widespread usage across our culture, its susceptibility to multiple meanings, and its role in theological revision, some Christians have begun to disparage the language of human flourishing. I think this is the wrong tactic to take.”

The church has a stake in human flourishing, says Swain. Rather than discard the term, we should rescue and restore the concept:

The challenge for the church is therefore to define and promote human flourishing (which we might otherwise describe as human well-being, human happiness) in accordance with biblical teaching, to present and commend its alternative approach to human flourishing in the face of competing cultural visions, and to embody human flourishing in the presence of God amid a culture of death and destruction. Christian theology has a role to play in assisting the church to meet this challenge.

Christian theology has a lot to say about human flourishing. Following the instruction of Holy Scripture, Christian theology instructs us about human flourishing by instructing us about human nature and about human nature’s relationship to law and gospel.

Swain argues that “we may appreciate the true character of human flourishing by looking at Psalm 19.”
(more…)

The Acton Institute has been named as one of six finalists for this year’s $100,000 Templeton Freedom Award for its documentary film, Poverty, Inc. The announcement of the finalists was made Monday by the Atlas Network, a Washington-based organization that advances the work of market-oriented public policy organizations all over the world. The winner will be selected Nov. 12 in New York.

Atlas’ description of Poverty, Inc. says the documentary “provides a comprehensive perspective on the issue, giving voice to charity workers, local micro-entrepreneurs, politicians, and leading development experts such as Paul Collier of Oxford University, Marcela Escobari of Harvard University’s Center for International Development, and Hernando de Soto of Atlas Network partner the Institute for Liberty and Democracy. This film is part of Acton Institute’s multi-year educational initiative, PovertyCure, which also includes a dedicated website, a group study curriculum, a mentorship program, and a ReThink Missions toolkit.”

Kris Mauren, executive director of the Acton Institute, said that on issues of international development and foreign aid, the United States is at a tipping point. (more…)

Blog author: bwalker
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
By

5 Interesting Facts About The Christian Faith of Martin O’Malley
Ray Nothstine, Christian Post

O’Malley, a lifelong Catholic, grew up in an Irish Catholic home in Maryland and attended Catholic schools all the way through college. After college, he graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law. He is the only Roman Catholic presidential candidate on record of supporting Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change.

22 Pope Francis Statements Proving He’s a Leftist
Mike Garcia, NewsMax

Pope Francis upset many conservatives when he released his encyclical on climate change this summer, but it’s certainly not the first time he’s raised eyebrows. The pontiff’s past comments on homosexuality, capitalism, and international geopolitics have also ruffled those on the right.

Faith Digest, Aug. 28, 2015: Forum to focus on Pope Francis’ Encyclical
Santa Cruz Sentinel

The forum will include brief presentations from three distinguished local authorities followed by questions and comments from the audience. Presenters will include Keith Warner, a Franciscan friar with a doctorate in environmental studies; Jeffrey Kiehl, head of Climate Change Research Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research; and Andrew Szasz: chairmann of the Environmental Studies Department at UC Santa Cruz.

(more…)