Category: News and Events

The Acton Institute will hold the second of five conferences in the international series, One and Indivisible? The Relationship Between Religious and Economic Freedomin Washington on Nov. 10. These events are designed to explore the concept of expanding government in the Western World and its impact on religious liberties and freedoms.

The Washington conference, titled “The Relationship Between Religious and Economic Liberty in an Age of Expanding Government,” will examine how the Christian conception of religious liberty limits the state’s exercise of power, the manner in which the expansion of economic freedom creates new opportunities and challenges for believers, how social welfare policies can inhibit or facilitate religious activity, and the effects of growing government upon the ability of Christians and Church.

Speakers include Cardinal Robert Sarah (Pontifical Council ‘Cor Unum’), Prof. Russell Hittinger (The Catholic University of America), Mr. Michael Novak (Author and former Ambassador), Dr. Jay W. Richards (The Catholic University of America) and is co-sponsored by The Catholic University of America’s School of Business & Economics.

The conference is scheduled to start on Monday Nov. 10 at the Catholic University of America at noon. For those unable to join, there will also be a live streaming event at Acton’s headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mich as well as live broadcast available online.

To join the conversation online use the Twitter hashtag #DitchtheDivide.

We are expecting a great turn out as we seek to “ditch the divide” between religious and economic liberty. For more information, to register for the conference, or to access the live stream (available the day of the conference) visit the conference website www.acton.org/DC2014

Ukraine-Memorial-Holodomor

Holodomor Memorial in Kyiv, Ukraine

Seventy years ago this November, a new word entered the lexicon which would contextualize and put a name to the mass killings of minority groups that had gone on for centuries: genocide.

The Polish-Jewish lawyer who coined the word, Raphael Lemkin, used it for the first time in his book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, published in November 1944. Lemkin had been deeply troubled with mass killing and the lack of legal framework for adjudication of its perpetrators from a young age. He found it appalling that in the name of “state sovereignty” a leader was effectively able to kill his own citizens, without punishment under the law.

Lemkin’s coining of the word was followed by a relentless, single-handed effort to lobby diplomats, heads of states, and then the newly formed United Nations to create a law which would make illegal this recently named crime against humanity. Lemkin’s efforts were eventually rewarded when on December 9, 1948 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed into law the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

History reveals many “crimes against humanity” which preceded this development in international law. The current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, notes a few of these in her book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.

And there are still many other largely unknown genocides that deserve our recognition. One of these will be covered in an upcoming Acton Institute art and lecture event on Thursday, November 6: “The Famine Remembered: Lessons from Ukraine’s Holodomor and Soviet Communism.”

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Winner.

In an otherwise excellent post yesterday on how, of all things, politics in our (basically) two-party system actually brings together Americans like nothing else, Joe Carter ends with this addendum:

Addendum: Casting a “protest vote” for third-party candidates is essentially casting a vote for the party you like the least. For example, say you prefer the Democrats to the Republicans but choose to vote for the Green Party candidate. Since the Green candidate will not win, you vote effectively reduces the vote for the Democratic candidate (your second favorite choice) by one. Had you cast the vote that way, it would have offset a vote for the Republican.

On the one hand, I do not disagree that one should not be deluded about the chances of most (there have been exceptions) third party candidates. One must consider that, in fact, a third party vote is also a passive vote for “the party you like least.”

But, on the other hand, there are times where I can see this as more than a protest vote. As I wrote in 2012, third party votes are different than abstaining to vote altogether in that while the latter may at best be a form of protest, a purely negative act, the former is actually a vote for someone/something. Thus: (more…)

Blog author: dpahman
Monday, November 3, 2014
By

About a week ago, I had the opportunity to be a guest on a radio show, The Ride Home with John & Kathy, on 101.5 WORD Radio, Pittsburgh. The interview was prompted by a little post titled “What is Fasting?” that I wrote for my personal blog, Everyday Asceticism.

Of interest to PowerBlog readers, I was able to share the experience of my first Great Lent as an Orthodox Christian and how fasting transformed my perspective on abundance and consumerism. Thanks again to John and Kathy for having me on the program.

Give the audio a listen below.

nunsFor some, the one quality most important for those pursuing a religious vocation is awesomeness. It matters not whether clergy, nuns and other religious adhere to the actual doctrines of their faith, whether they advocate for the poor and powerless and spread the Word of God. Specifically, Jo Piazza, author of the absurdly titled If Nuns Ruled the World, authored an advertisement disguised as a Time opinion piece for her recently released book. The Vatican, according to Piazza, doesn’t fairly recognize the awesomeness of nuns who stray from Roman Catholic doctrine in pursuit of progressive policy goals. And, according to Piazza, that’s bad. Very, very bad indeed. Because, you know, the activist sisters are really pretty darn awesome.

Rather, it’s far better to chase celebrity while sprinkled with the progressive fairy dust of awesome as are so many of the shareholder activist nuns who, in Piazza’s words, “make corporations responsible to the human race.” These selfless and progressive nuns, Piazza gushes, “don’t brag about all of the good that they do or hashtag how awesome they are on Facebook, many people have no idea about the things they accomplish on a daily basis.” (more…)

CG 1.3Christian’s Library Press has now released the third part 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, Abraham-Parousia, is the third and final part of Volume 1: The Historical Section, following Part 1 (Noah-Adam) and Part 2 (Temptation-Babel).

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.

Whereas the first two parts of Volume 1 focus on “what was common to our entire race”—stretching from Adam and Eve to Babel—in the final part of the Historical Section, Kuyper now sets his sights on the story of Abraham, where “the channel suddenly narrows” and the “world stage shrinks to Palestine and the human race to Israel.”

But although the Bible begins to focus “almost exclusively on Abraham’s seed,” Kuyper is quick to caution against turning this “seeming disproportionality” into some kind of lopsided particularism. For Kuyper, reading the Bible in such a way has led to the false notion that “the fate of the nations and the importance of the world are of lesser concern to us,” and that missions (etc.) “do not rise to a higher vantage point than to save souls from the masses of the nations and to transfer them into the particularist sheep pen.” (more…)

Italian edition of "The Good That Business Does " by Robert G. Kennedy (Acton, 2006)

Italian edition of “The Good That Business Does” by Robert G. Kennedy (Fede e Cultura, 2014)

On Oct. 23, before a capacity-audience at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, the Acton Institute and Italian publishing house Fede e Cultura launched Robert G. Kennedy’s Il bene che fanno gli affari (original title “The Good That Business Does,” Acton, 2006, Christian Social Thought Series).

The pontifical university’s research center, Markets, Culture and Ethics, acted as co-sponsor with its vice academic director Dr. Juan Andres Mercado moderating the evening’s dialogue between the author and his two discussants – Salvatore Rebecchini, a commissioner from the Italian Antitrust Authority, and Giovanni Scanagatta, general secretary of Italy’s Union of Christian Entrepreneurs and Managers.

Kennedy told those in attendance that his book’s thesis was guided by a timeless principle of Catholic Social Teaching, namely, that all persons are born in the image of God, and therefore are called to be creative, rational and volitional agents of goodness in all their activities, including those of a commercial nature. He, however, said that the genesis of the book was to challenge the “perception of many who wonder how business can be justified” and therefore wanted to answer “this question of legitimacy.” (more…)

figure6Religious shareholder activists continuously sing from a counterintuitive hymnal that asserts genetically modified organisms somehow are detrimental to the environment, the financial well-being of the companies relying on GMOs and those people who eat foods containing GMOs. For example, religious shareholder activist group As You Sow boasts on its website:

As You Sow has organized an investor letter sent to the top 50 corporate opponents of GMO labeling ballot initiatives in California (Proposition 37) and Washington (Initiative 522). The letter to public companies was signed by 45 wealth management and investor advocacy groups representing $36 billion, while the letter to private companies was signed by 38 groups representing $18 billion.

The letter describes the American public’s deeply unfavorable opinion of corporate money in politics, and the backlash suffered by companies that spent corporate funds to oppose Proposition 37 and Initiative 522. Investors are concerned that draining corporate funds to oppose these initiatives is especially unproductive as GMO labeling laws and bans continue to gain momentum, including a recent labeling law in Vermont and two countywide cultivation bans in Oregon.

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???????????Christian’s Library Press recently released The System Has a Soul: Essays on Christianity, Liberty, and Political Life by Hunter Baker, a collection of reflections on the role and relevance of Christianity in our societal systems.

To celebrate the release, CLP will be giving away three copies of the book. To enter, use the interface below. To get started, all you need to enter is your email address! After that, there are four ways to enter, and each will increase your odds. The contest will end Friday night (October 24) at 11:59 p.m.


Note: Due to various constraints, print copies are only available to contestants who live North America. Winners who reside elsewhere will receive a digital copy.

Despite what is heralded as a banner year for proxy resolutions submitted by religious shareholder activists As You Sow and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, 2014 was anything but. Even the left-leaning Center for Political Accountability reports most so-called shareholder victories for political spending disclosure were performed on companies’ own initiative rather than prompted by resolutions authored by CPA and submitted by activist shareholders under the guise of religious principles.

The AYS and ICCR narrative collapses further under scrutiny from the New York-based Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. In the MIPR Proxy Monitor 2014, authors James R. Copland and Margaret M. O’Keefe report:

Shareholder support for shareholder proposals is down. In 2014, only 4 percent of shareholder proposals were supported by a majority of voting shareholders, down from 7 percent in 2013. The percentage of shareholder proposals to win majority support in 2014 was below that of any previous year in the ProxyMonitor.org database, which dates back to 2006. Among Fortune 250 companies, only ten proposals have won majority support to date this year, and only seven over opposition from the company’s board of directors.

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