Acton Institute Powerblog

Religion & Liberty: Governor Mark Sanford

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The new issue of Religion & Liberty featuring an interview with South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is available online, now in its entirety. From the very beginning, Governor Sanford has been a vocal critic of all bailout and stimulus legislation pouring out of Washington, regardless of who is occupying the White House.

For an update on the stimulus debate, and the governor’s role in the new stimulus law, The Wall Street Journal published Governor Sanford’s March 20 column titled, “Why South Carolina Doesn’t Want ‘Stimulus.'” Our interview is also unique in that Governor Sanford also talks about faith in the public square and the virtues related to spending restraint.

We have some excellent cultural analysis in this issue, which includes “Busting a Pop Culture Illusion” by S.T. Karnick. Karnick is the editor of the American Culture website. He calls the Disney “life without limits mindset, one of the main progenitors of modern, statist liberalism.” Bruce Edward Walker of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy offers a piece that uplifts the moral order over ideology. Walker declares:

For Eliot, the moral imagination derived from his Anglo-Catholicism; for Kirk, his Roman Catholicism. Devoid of moral imagination, all systems–political, social, economic, familial and spiritual–are bound to fail. True conservatives, both men believed, place moral considerations ahead of ideology. In fact, both held that true conservatism is the negation of ideology.

Two books are reviewed in this issue, Kevin Schmiesing reviews Philip Lawler’s The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture and I review Spiritual Enterprise: Doing Virtual Business by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch. Schmiesing’s review first appeared on the Powerblog in November.

In this issue we also pay tribute to one of the giants who was pivotal in the destruction of Marxist-Leninism. Alexander Solzhenistyn (1918 – 2008) is the “In The Liberal Tradition” figure for this issue. I was about 14 or 15 when my dad gave me a copy of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, and in reading his book it was plain for me that the fundamental flaws of the Soviet System were moral in nature. Nobody has written and articulated that case better and more effectively than Solzhenitsyn did. His works offered the first critique of the Soviet system I had come across from a non-Westerner. It’s not the first time we have written about Solzhenitsyn of course, Religion & Liberty’s Executive Editor John Couretas published “Solzhenitsyn and Russia’s Golgotha” in the Spring issue of 2007.

Ray Nothstine is opinion editor of the the North State Journal in Raleigh, North Carolina. Previously, he was managing editor of Acton Institute's Religion & Liberty quarterly. In 2005 Ray graduated with a Master of Divinity (M.Div) degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science from The University of Mississippi in Oxford.


  • Allison Haack

    Mark Sanford is definitely the real deal. We need more leaders like him to stand firm against fiscal irresponsibility.

  • anonymous

    Anti-Mark Sanford Rally Planned for April 1, 2009

    …angry state residents and state legislators are now facing the prospect of drafting two budgets — one that includes $700 million in federal stimulus funds over the next two years, and one that doesn’t.

    Sen. Hugh Leatherman says what the Legislature must do, given the uncertainty over whether the state can accept the federal money without the request of Gov. Sanford, who has said he won’t take the money.

    In a letter to the governor, Leatherman called the situation “chaos” and warned of dire consequences for state schools and prisons without the stimulus money.

    “Overriding your decision could lead to chaos in the courts,” Leatherman wrote. “Failure to override your decision most assuredly would lead to chaos in the budget.”

    Rep. Jim Clyburn contends that the U.S. Department of Education could bypass both the governor and legislators to help South Carolina schools directly.

    Leatherman’s view that the matter could be headed for the courts might be the most clearheaded. That can’t be good for anyone: It would mean that even if South Carolina eventually gets the money, it could be long after it’s most needed.

    Opponents of Sanford’s position plan to hold a rally on Wednesday, April 1, in front of the State House. The rally will run from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

  • anonymous
  • marc


    So what’s your point, anon?

  • Stephen Prather

    Be sure to get on here and vote for Gov. Sanford:

  • Michael S. O’Day

    What now?