The Perversion of the Establishment Clause

“Nothing in the Constitution has been so judicially perverted from its original intent as the establishment clause,” says Zack Pruitt in the first entry of this week’s Acton Commentary. “The same clause went from protecting the people from a tyrannical state-run church to punishing those who dare to voluntarily pray on government property.” A football coach in Washington was recently suspended from his duties because he made a habit of praying at midfield following games. Continue Reading...

Nature, Grace, and Thanksgiving

In this week’s Acton Commentary, “Cheap Grace and Gratitude,” I extend the notion of “cheap grace” beyond the realm of special or saving grace to the more mundane, general gifts of common grace. Continue Reading...

Acton and Burke: For The Conservative Wisdom of History and Tradition

“It was the genius of the English political system to adhere to the facts of English history,” says Gertrude Himmelfarb in this week’s Acton Commentary. What Lord Acton particularly admired in the later Edmund Burke was his empirical philosophy of politics, his refusal to give way to the metaphysical abstractions, the a priori speculations, that had been insinuated into public life by the rationalists of the French Revolution. Continue Reading...

The Frontier Spirit of ‘The Martian’

A new film set on Mars taps into the quintessential American story, says Dylan Pahman in this week’s Acton Commentary. After the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel to outer space in 1961, Nikita Khrushchev remarked, “Gagarin flew into space, but didn’t see any god there.” The Soviets would not pass up an opportunity to deride religion, even though, reportedly, Gagarin himself was a Russian Orthodox Christian. Continue Reading...

There is No Such Thing as ‘The Poor’

“With the news this week that Angus Deaton of Princeton University had won the economics Nobel,” says Victor V. Claar in this week’s Acton Commentary, “the question of how best to help the poor in developing nations takes on a greater level of urgency.” When it comes to understanding the specifics of global poverty, Deaton’s achievements are especially impressive. Continue Reading...

The Economic Reeducation of Pope Francis?

It may be too early to tell, says Kishore Jayabalan in this week’s Acton Commentary, but has Francis has learned something about economics from his American critics? Can we dare to say that Francis has learned something about economics from his American critics? Continue Reading...

The Bright Side of Sharia Law

Why aren’t church leaders who are so quick to condemn capitalism, asks Rev. Jerry J. Pokorsky in this week’s Acton Commentary, decrying Big Government bureaucracy? The warnings of recent papal teachings on questions of social justice rarely – if ever – identify the dangers of a highly bureaucratized central government. Continue Reading...

The Francis-Trump Populist Nexus

Populism makes for strange bedfellows, says Kishore Jayabalan in this week’s Acton Commentary. “Take Pope Francis and Donald Trump, for instance. They are certainly populists of very different sorts, but there is one issue that unites them – both are harsh critics of economic globalization.” Francis does explicitly and by name what Trump does implicitly and in practice. Continue Reading...