Category: General

In an essay for Big Questions Online, a site that examines questions of human purpose and ultimate reality, Rev. Robert Sirico considers whether morality is intrinsic to the free market:

Is a hammer intrinsically moral?

Your reply would most immediately be: “It depends on what it was used for. If employed to bash in the heads of people you do not like, the answer is no. If employed to help build a house for a homeless people, your answer might be yes. In either case, the precise answer is to say that the hammer is neither moral nor immoral; it is the person who chooses its use that can be evaluated morally.

Attending to these Big Questions will enable us to more deeply evaluate the economic organization of society. So the real issue here is not a financial one, but an anthropological one: What is man? Who am I? Why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going? What are my responsibilities to myself and others? How we answer these kinds of questions will have an enormous impact on every facet of our lives, including how we work and buy and sell, and how we believe such activities should be directed— in other words, on economics.

Read the rest of the article and join in the conversation at Big Questions Online.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
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Why Should Christians Care to Vote?
Hugh Whelchel, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

One way we answer the call to serve our communities is by voting. When we cast our vote, we contribute to the people and policies that will shape our communities and their ability to flourish or wither.

Principles for Voting
R.C. Sproul, Ligonier Ministries

As a Christian you have obligations opposed upon your conscience that in some sense other people don’t have, although they should have. And the first thing is this: You have to understand what a vote is.

Why Politicians Are Encouraged to ‘Flip Flop’
James R. Rogers, The Gospel Coalition

Ideological purity may be emotionally satisfying, but it typically doesn’t win a lot of elections.

Constantine’s Mixed Legacy
Fr. Raymond J. De Souza, National Post

How one views Constantine’s conversion and victory depends very much on how one thinks about Christendom.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, November 5, 2012
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Speaking into the Silence: Conservatives and Poverty
Josh Good, Values & Capitalism

Conservatives need to do a better job applying the American Dream to all strata of society. “My party has a vision for making our communities stronger,” Ryan said, “but we don’t always do a good job of laying out that vision.”

Faith, Economics & Liberation Theology
Elise Amyx, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

Liberation theology emerged as a reaction against poverty and social injustice. Though its roots are in a deep concern for the poor, liberation theology is far from biblical. As

The Kindest Cuts
Alberto Alesina, City Journal

Shrinking spending reduces deficits without harming the economy—unlike tax hikes.

Anti-Conscience Mandate Halted Against Second Family-Owned Business
Dominique Ludvigson, The Foundry

A second federal district court has granted a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of Obamacare’s conscience-crushing contraception mandate.

Too often, short term mission trips to the developing world trample on dignity or harm economic growth, says Ray Sawatsky. It’s time to stop confusing charity with generosity.

With summer over, another season of short term mission trips draws to a close. Churches, schools, and agencies (both for-profit and non-profit) have sent teams to work in the developing world. These mission trips (or “internships,” or “working holidays”) are major pieces in the lives of many North American believers—both spiritually and, as you’ll see below, economically. My primary intent is not primarily to defend short term mission trips as a concept; rather, I sketch a few criteria for measuring if planners, fundraisers, and, most of all, participants in these trips do their work in the proper frames of mind, for the right reasons, and while taking biblical precautions.

As steel sharpens steel, I hope some sharp warnings will prevent future well-meant short term mission trips that fail to protect dignity, that harm economic growth, or that confuse generosity with charity.

Read more . . .

Based on Nicholas Eberstadt’s book, A Nation of Takers, this Seussian video depicts the dangerous dependency of entitlements and the importance of liberty.

(Via: Values & Capitalism)

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, November 2, 2012
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Is Marriage the Key to Prosperity?
Ericka Andersen, The Foundry

What’s the number one antidote to child poverty in America? Marriage.

Arthur Brooks and Steve Forbes on the Morality of Free Markets
Values & Capitalism

In this video, John Stossel talks with Steve Forbes and Arthur Brooks about the moral case for free enterprise.

Faith, Work, & Vocation – As A Single Woman
Kristin Hansen, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

A 38-year old, single, Christian friend of mine recently told me that she got a promotion. The only problem, she said, is that she’d rather be a stay-at-home mom, “packing school lunches.”

Billy Graham Looks Forward to 94th Birthday
ChristianNewsWire

As evangelist Billy Graham prepares to celebrate his 94th birthday on November 7, he has been reflecting on the previous year and preparing for what God has in store for him during his 95th year on the planet.

In The New Republic, historian Jackson Lears explores the transition from 19th-century communitarianism to 20-century capitalist boosterism in Mormon culture:

The assumption behind much of the “Mormon moment” chatter is that Mormons are especially suited for success in the brave new world of unregulated capital: tanned, rested, and ready. Their abstention from alcohol and caffeine keeps them healthy. Their self-discipline, stemming from missionary work and a strict code of personal morality, strengthens their capacity to compete in a global marketplace. Their attachment to family and community insulates them from the market’s worst abrasions. Their zeal for education in science and technology gets them first-class seats on the cyber-express. And their organizational genius makes them the ideal candidates to steer the lean, mean neo-liberal corporation through the storm-tossed business cycles ahead.

The Mormon Ethic, which bears a strong resemblance to the Protestant Ethic in its Gilded Age prime, has become a powerful constellation of values for our second Gilded Age—perhaps a reassuring counterweight to the feeling that we are sailing into the globalizing future with no moral ballast whatever. Contemporary Mormons, whose ancestors were chased from town to town across the prairie by Protestant mobs, have become paragons of patriotism and icons of success. In 1856, the Republican Party platform declared Mormon polygamy one of “two relics of barbarism” in America (the other was slavery). In 2008, as in every other recent election, Mormons voted overwhelmingly Republican.

What any of this has to do with the Mormons’ religious beliefs is a tricky question. Most journalistic observers are content to characterize the Mormon faith as “weird,” then toss off a few lines about sacred underwear and a quotation from Mark Twain describing The Book of Mormon as “chloroform in print.” Few ask what is Mormon about the Mormon Ethic. How does it differ from an updated version of Victorian Protestantism? Mansfield quotes a cable news pundit’s characteristically profound observation: “Mormons have goofy, mystical ideas that produce wonderful, earthly success.” How this production occurs is anybody’s guess.

Read more . . .

(Via: Religion in American History)