Category: News and Events

museum of the bibleDetails have been released surrounding the launch of a new Bible museum on the National Mall in Washington D.C., a project founded and funded by David Green, president of arts-and-crafts retailer Hobby Lobby.

Museum of the Bible will open in 2017, displaying artifacts from the Green Collection, “one of the world’s largest private collections of rare biblical texts and artifacts,” along with other antiquities, replicas, and various exhibits.

“Washington, D.C., is the museum capital of the world,” says Green, “So, it’s only fitting that our board selected Washington as the home for this international museum. We invite everyone—adults and children, the intellectually curious and most seasoned of scholars alike—to Museum of the Bible to explore the most important and influential book ever written.”

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In progressive ideology, liberal billionaires are like a cardigan-wearing Mr. Rogers, inviting the rest of the world to the Land of Make Believe for a cup of nonfat, organic, free-trade cocoa. On the other end of the spectrum reside the Koch brothers, twirling their respective mustaches as they push wheelchair-bound pensioners down flights of stairs. Such increasingly has been the narrative since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, a controversial (for progressives) ruling that launched activism to overturn it from every left-of-center group, including religious shareholder activists As You Sow, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and Bruce Freed’s Center for Political Accountability.

On September 24, Freed’s group released its annual CPA-Zicklin Index, about which it trumpets:

On their own initiative, dozens of leading American corporations are embracing disclosure of their spending to influence political elections. These companies are supporting disclosure even as several of the biggest trade associations oppose it, according to a nonpartisan index released today.

As the nation approaches mid-term elections that may be the most expensive in history, the Center for Political Accountability issued its fourth annual CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability.

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exileStephen Grabill and Evan Koons recently joined John Stonestreet on BreakPoint to discuss For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles, the latest film series from the Acton Institute.

You can listen to the full discussion here.

The conversation covers a range of topics surrounding the series, but focuses mostly on the central theme of life in exile: How ought we as Christians to think about our role in culture and society, and what does the series aim to uncover when it comes to that question?

As Grabill explains:

Exile, in the Old Testament was God’s judgment on the nation of Israel for not doing something or being something that they were called to be. In the New Testament, exile is more a state of being. It’s more like being a sojourner and a pilgrim. And you’re kind of always on the way, in between. And that’s the sense of exile that we’re really building on in For the Life of the World—that sense of that new state of being. And Christians are feeling like they’re on the outside of their culture right now. Everything is changing and things are getting all messed up. We want to capture that sense of tension and exile, but we want to take it in a…constructive way.

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Blog author: bwalker
Thursday, September 25, 2014
By

Leo is dreamyThree-hundred thousand protestors waved signs and shouted slogans about man-made climate change in midtown Manhattan on Sunday. Among them were representatives of the same group of religious shareholder activists who – like the swallows returning to Mission San Juan Capistrano each year – annually submit proxy resolutions to the corporations in which they invest. Some of these resolutions demand companies divest from holdings in the fossil fuel sector, draft policies geared toward limiting carbon emissions, end hydraulic fracturing or deal with carbon-based products as “stranded assets” in hopes that solar and wind energy replace them in the near future. According to the progressive online newspaper, The National Catholic Reporter:

Faith leaders joined politicians, celebrities, musicians, labor unions, and tens of thousands of concerned citizens in the march. Demonstrators waved signs that read ‘Jesus Would Drive A Prius’ and ‘System Change, Not Climate Change’ as they snaked their way through the heart of New York City.

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Common Grace 1.2 Front Cover Proof 1 (1)Christian’s Library Press has released the second in its series of English translations of Abraham Kuyper’s most famous work, Common Grace, a three-volume work of practical public theology. This release, Temptation-Babel, is the second of three parts in Volume 1: The Historical Section, following the previous release, Noah-Adam.

Common Grace (De gemeene gratie) was originally published in 1901-1905 while Kuyper was prime minister. This new translation offers modern Christians a great resource for understanding the vastness of the gospel message, as well as their proper role in public life. The project is a collaboration between the Acton Institute and Kuyper College.

Picking up where he left off in Noah-Adam, Kuyper reminds us that in the Garden of Eden, man’s body was “unimpaired and whole,” and “in terms of his spiritual existence, he was perfectly wise in mind, perfectly holy in moral nature, and perfectly righteous in his standing before God.” Such a state would have progressed if not for the Fall, but alas, Adam would indeed fall, and do so by violating an “apparently arbitrary command” — doing “good” because it seems good, rather than “because God wills it.”

Yet, even when sinking into the depths of death, Adam and Eve did not die. Why? (more…)

2014 Acton University Participants

2014 Acton University Participants

The Acton Institute’s biggest event of the year, Acton University has been named a finalist for the Templeton Freedom Award. Every year since 2004, the Atlas Network gives out this award, named after the late investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton. It “honors his legacy by identifying and recognizing the most exceptional and innovative contributions to the understanding of free enterprise, and the public policies that encourage prosperity, innovation, and human fulfillment via free competition.”

The criteria for Templeton Freedom Award finalists:

  • Achieved strategic impact (in areas of policy impact, social impact, academic impact, media impact, or student impact, etc.),
  • Made innovative contributions to the field of free enterprise education or policy research, and
  • Laid the groundwork for future progress in improving countries’ scores in rankings of economic freedom (e.g., The Index of Economic Freedom or the Economic Freedom of the World report).

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The Acton Institute is thrilled to be hosting Makoto Fujimura’s “Walking on Water – Azurite“, which is Fujimura’s official entry for ArtPrize 2014 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The 8′ x 11′ work, created with mineral pigment on polished gesso, must be seen in person to be appreciated; the depth of the colors and textures of the piece are stunning. Acton also has the privilege of hosting additional works by Fujimura from his series, “The Four Holy Gospels,” in the Prince Broekhuizen Gallery inside the DeVos Family Conference Center.

Hosting such a monumental piece of art is not a simple matter; for instance, we had to deal with the basic problem of where to hang such a large work. In this short film, we document the process of preparing an exhibition space in the Acton Building upon which to display Fujimura’s beautiful work for the duration of ArtPrize.

religion-politics1Americans are tired of religion influencing politics, right? Apparently not.

According to a new Pew Research Center study released yesterday, a growing number of Americans think religion is losing influence in American life — and they want religion to play a greater role in U.S. politics.

Since 2006, Pew had found falling support for religion in politics, notes the Wall Street Journal. But something changed this year. “To see those trends reverse is striking,” said Greg Smith, Pew’s associate director of research. One reason could be that a growing majority—72%, according to the study—say religion is losing its influence in U.S. life, Mr. Smith said, “and they see that as a bad thing.”

“It could be that as religion’s influence is seen as waning, the appetite for it moves in the other direction,” he said.

Here are some of the highlights from the study:

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UN Climate Summit

No sooner does one proxy resolution season end, it seems, then another begins. The religious shareholder activist group As You Sow has announced last week it will continue to push proxy resolutions at Exxon Mobil Corporation in 2015. If there’s any doubt what stance they’ll take, those doubts should be allayed by As You Sow’s presence at last weekend’s Climate Summit at the United Nations:

The world will be watching, and this is a time to stand up and be counted. As You Sow will be there to march and stand up for the voice of investors. We invite you to walk with us, raising our voices together against climate risk, for a sustainable future, and a strong economy.

What exactly is meant by AYS’s assertions for climate risk, sustainability and a strong economy? In a Sept. 12 press release, the shareholder activists reference a recent report by Carbon Tracker Initiative, a London-based nongovernmental organization in which ExxonMobil is accused of “understating climate-change risk to investors.” CTI’s agenda is to reduce the use of fossil fuels, of course, but over the past several years they’ve presented a new wrinkle to the argument. It seems that – if successful in their renewable-energy mandates and carbon caps – ExxonMobil investors will be left holding an empty sack as a result. According to AYS and Arjuna Capital, another group of progressive investor activists:

ExxonMobil is underplaying the risks presented to its business and investors by the need for international action to prevent climate change, according to a new report.

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On Tuesday, September 30, 2014, the West Michigan World Trade Association will sponsor a panel discussion: ‘US and EU Sanctions on Russia: How They Affect You.’ Andy Wahl, WMWTA president notes that “This topic is very much on the minds of our members and of critical importance to many in the wider business community.” The panel will discuss:

The recent annexation of Crimea, subsequent downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, and ongoing unrest in East Ukraine have significantly altered US and European Union (EU) relations with Russia. Both these geopolitical developments and the resulting sanctions present significant challenges to US companies doing business with the Russian Federation, directly or through European affiliates. Strategic questions that arise include:

  • Which market segments are or could be lost as a consequence of Western export bans?
  • How might sourcing channels be affected by Russian responses?
  • What are the legal and ethical implications of US products reaching consumers in Crimea, bypassing Ukraine?
  • How are shipping rates and the prices of commodities likely to change in the face of global uncertainty?
  • What impact will political tensions have on commercial risk profiles in the Baltics, Moldova, the Caucasus, and other adjacent areas?

Members of the discussion include: Todd Huizinga, Acton’s Director of International Outreach, Dr. Gerry Simons, Professor of Economics at GVSU, editor of the Seidman Business Review, and a native of England; Brian Gill, a Russian-speaking lawyer who worked at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe; and Dr. Joel Westra, Professor of Political Science at Calvin College and a specialist in multilateral and regional security.

The event will take place at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School Grand Rapids Campus. A reception will begin at 6PM and the panel discussion will start at 6:30PM. To reserve a seat or to learn more about this event, you can contact Rebecca Climie at manager@wmwta.org or 616.301.0032. The cost is $20 or $15 for WMWTA members.