Category: News and Events

Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, met with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on Oct. 16 after the session of the Synod of Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church.

In an interview for Acton’s Religion & Liberty quarterly, the Russian Orthodox bishop in charge of external affairs for the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk, warned that that the situation for the Christian population of Syria has deteriorated to an alarming degree. Hilarion compared the situation today, after almost two years of fighting in Syria, as analogous to Iraq, which saw a virtual depopulation of Christians following the U.S. invasion in 2003.

The Russian Orthodox Church has been among the most active witnesses against Christian persecution around the world, particularly in the Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East. In November 2011, Kirill, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, visited Syria and Lebanon. In a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Kirill said that he shared a concern with Assad about the “spread of religious radicalism that threatens the integrity of the Arab world.”

That sentiment has been expressed widely in Christian communities in Syria — some of them dating to apostolic times — as civil war has progressively taken a heavy toll. Now almost two years on, as many as 30,000 people may have perished. Despite having few illusions about the nature of Assad’s autocratic rule, many Christians feared that the Islamist groups, involved in what the West initially viewed as another “Arab Spring” uprising, would eventually turn on them. Indeed this is what has happened. Entire Christian villages have been depopulated, churches desecrated, and many brutal killings have taken place at the hands of the “Arab Spring” insurgents. Most recently, Fr. Fadi Haddad, an Orthodox priest, was found murdered with brutal marks of torture on his remains. Car bomb attacks are now being waged against Christian neighborhoods. (See these backgrounders on the Syrian crisis from the Congressional Research Service and the Council on Foreign Relations). (more…)

This morning, Autocam Corp. Chief Executive Officer John C. Kennedy joined us on AU Online to give a free presentation on ObamaCare, the HHS mandate, and the practical implications of this legislation from his perspective as a Roman Catholic businessman. His presentation was spot on and spurred some good questions from attendees. But why take my word for it?

If you didn’t attend this morning’s session, you still have the chance to enroll for free to listen to a recording of the talk. We have also posted resources such as the slides used during the session and links to articles related to the Autocam Corp. v. Sebelius lawsuit on the From a Businessman’s Perspective: ObamaCare and the HHS Mandate course page.

Also, read this article by reporter Shandra Martinez about this morning’s presentation.

Blog author: jballor
Friday, November 2, 2012

Encyclopedia Entry: “Arts”
Tyler Cowen. The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. 2d ed. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2007.

General economic principles govern the arts. Most important, artists use scarce means to achieve ends—and therefore recognize trade-offs, the defining aspects of economic behavior. Also, many other economic aspects of the arts make the arts similar to the more typical goods and services that economists analyze.


According to an article from the Chicago Tribune,

U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland, in a ruling late Wednesday, temporarily blocked the government from forcing the owner of Weingartz Supply Company to include contraception in its health coverage of employees. The ruling only affects the company’s proprietor … but it opens the door for other firms to seek relief on religious grounds.

Read the story: here.

Tune in tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 2, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, for a free discussion, “From a Businessman’s Perspective: ObamaCare and the HHS Mandate.” John C. Kennedy, a West Michigan businessman who is filing a similar lawsuit. Visit for more information and to register.

HermanBavinckBigToday is Reformation Day, and I wanted to pass along a quote that I have found to embody a valuable perspective about the imperative to always be seeking reform of one’s own life and manners, without needing to tarry for broader social or political change.

The quote appears in the newly-published translation of a work by the Dutch Reformed theologian Herman Bavinck, The Christian Family, which originally appeared in 1908.

The point of departure is his exploration of the institution of the family and its social significance, but Bavinck’s words apply equally as well to efforts for improving other spheres as well:

All good, enduring reformation begins with ourselves and takes its starting point in one’s own heart and life. If family life is indeed being threatened from all sides today, then there is nothing better for each person to be doing than immediately to begin reforming within one’s own circle and begin to rebuff with the facts themselves the sharp criticisms that are being registered nowadays against marriage and family. Such a reformation immediately has this in its favor, that it would lose no time and would not need to wait for anything. Anyone seeking deliverance from the state must travel the lengthy route of forming a political party, having meetings, referendums, parliamentary debates, and civil legislation, and it is still unknown whether with all that activity he will achieve any success. But reforming from within can be undertaken by each person at every moment, and be advanced without impediment.

On Oct. 4, Rev. Robert A. Sirico, president and co-founder of the Acton Institute, spoke about social justice at the 2012 Hillsdale College Free Market Forum in Houston. The theme of the Forum, which encourages the study of free enterprise by bringing scholars together for dynamic exchanges of ideas on topics related to free market economics, was “Markets, Government, and the Common Good.” Rev. Sirico spoke about the evolved meaning of the phrase “social justice,” explaining the current usage of the phrase as well as its literal meaning. He also warned that if words and phrases lose their meaning then “chaos can result.” (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, October 30, 2012

After declaring a state of emergency in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie issued a forceful reminder to merchants: Price gouging during a state of emergency is illegal and will result in significant penalties.

Price gouging—raising prices during an emergency condition over their normal level—is illegal in many states. But is it unethical? Jordan Ballor addressed that question in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina: