Category: Acton Commentary

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
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acton-commentary-blogimage“Since the end of the World War II, American politicians of the left and right agreed that it was in the country’s and indeed the world’s interest to promote the lowering of trade barriers,” says Kishore Jayabalan in this week’s Acton Commentary. But are American populists now presaging a turn against economic globalization?

It may not be surprising that avowed socialist Bernie Sanders is opposed to free trade, but who could have imagined that the wife of “new Democrat” President Clinton who signed the North American Free Trade Agreement would turn against economic globalization? Or that a Republican like Ted Cruz who grew up idolizing Ronald Reagan would follow suit? Only someone who foresaw the rise of the global businessman/American nationalist known as Donald Trump and the populist movements he and Sanders are currently leading.

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

acton-commentary-blogimage“For Martin Luther, vocation is nothing less than the locus of the Christian life,” says Gene Edward Veith in this week’s Acton Commentary. “God works in and through vocation, but he does so by calling human beings to work in their vocations.”

In Jesus Christ, who bore our sins and gives us new life in his resurrection, God saves us for eternal life. But in the meantime he places us in our temporal life where we grow in faith and holiness. In our various callings—as spouse, parent, church member, citizen, and worker—we are to live out our faith.

So what does it mean to live out our faith in our callings? The Bible is clear: faith bears fruit in love (Gal. 5:6; 1 Tim. 1:5). Here we come to justification by faith and its relationship to good works, and we also encounter the ethical implications of vocation. According to Luther’s doctrine of vocation, the purpose of every vocation is to love and serve our neighbors.

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

“Americans’ instinctively refuse to recognize as legitimate any international organization, law or treaty that claims any authority over Americans above the U.S. Constitution,” says Todd Huizinga in this week’s Acton Commentary, “particularly if that organization, law or treaty contradicts the Constitution or violates Americans’ constitutional rights.”

In the American system, it is because sovereignty rests in the people that the U.S. government does not have a right to transfer sovereignty to any other organization, government or group of governments. But in the EU, the member states have been ceding ever more sovereignty to “Europe” since the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952. Sovereign power is exactly what the European Union exercises over the national governments of the EU member states. And again, for EU elites it is not just about Europe. Their vision of supranational governance is a global one, and that is why a political and moral clash between the American idea of democratic sovereignty and the EU’s agenda is unavoidable.

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

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
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acton-commentary-blogimage“Do voters have a ‘commitment problem’ with Bernie Sanders?” asks Dylan Pahman in this week’s Acton Commentary.

So why would someone who seems really to want to be President (unlike candidates who appear to be using their campaigns to promote a book, for example) tell Americans he’s a socialist when half the country says they wouldn’t vote for one? How does that serve his interest? Shouldn’t it hurt his electability?

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

acton-commentary-blogimage“What would happen when these populisms collide at the first Francis-Trump summit?” asks Kishore Jayabalan in this week’s Acton Commentary. “We may shudder at the thought, but if Catholicism and strident nationalism are indeed so opposed, we may be left waiting for another St. Augustine to resolve the tensions between the City of God and the City of Man.”

Augustine wrestled with the question of whether Christians can be good citizens and turned his attention to the vices of pagan Rome rather than trying to detail how Christians ought to practice politics. The example of the recently-deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia would seem to follow suit. A traditionalist in belief and practice, he rejected any sort of “Catholic” interpretation of the law and went so far as to deny the importance of natural law for judges. For Scalia, there was no contradiction between the US Constitution and Catholic morality, even in cases such as the death penalty, which he addressed in a First Things essay, “God’s Justice and Ours”. If he thought the Catholic Church demanded the abolition of capital punishment, he would have to recuse himself from such cases or resign in protest, but he would not pervert the law to fit his moral preferences.

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

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
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acton-commentary-blogimage“Although its roots are often attributed to Latin America, liberation theology was born in German schools of theology in the early twentieth century,” says Ismael Hernandez in this week’s Acton Commentary. “From this birthplace in the ivory towers of the Old World, priests and theologians brought it to the jungles and plains of the New.”

Troubled by the genuine needs of the natives, these populist theologians challenged the pre-capitalist system that perpetuated the poverty of Latin lands. Energized by their vision of change and social justice and eager to make a mark of their own, they went to the favelas and barrios where desperate poverty cried out to God. There they found no solid middle class and no traditions of democracy, only abject poverty on one side and heedless opulence on the other. In the Church they found the piety of folk Catholicism with no social conscience and a structural alignment with elites. They offered as a solution a concoction of Marxist analysis and Christian praxis.

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

acton-commentary-blogimage“Sociological determinism informs our public policy,” says Ismael Hernandez in this week’s Acton Commentary. “Those with a stake in the maintenance and expansion of government bureaucracies feed upon pathology and find a willing constituency among those who perceive the world in terms of victims and perpetrators.”

If men are not free, they are not responsible for their misdeeds and ought instead to be treated with pity for falling prey to tragic misfortunes. They are to be healed by those who understand their powerlessness. Such enabling has produced a host of psychotherapeutic terms and treatments attempting to explain every human condition and every degrading act.

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