Category: PowerLinks

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, December 19, 2014
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How Pope Francis’ diplomacy may change everything, not just US-Cuba relations
David Gibson, Religion News Service

Pope Francis is being hailed around the world — and criticized by some in the US — for his pivotal role in brokering the historic breakthrough in relations between Washington and Havana, a role attributed to his background as the first Latin American pope and to the special position he occupies.

Religious Freedom Requires Rights
Greg Forster, Hang Together

Last month I gave a talk at the Evangelical Theological Society in which I defended the idea of human rights – not sham Rawlsian rights but real rights, grounded in objective claims about truth, justice and the nature of the human person. That is, rights as correlative to duties – I have a right to religious freedom because (and only because) I have a duty to worship God sincerely rather than insincerely.

Christmas Is Undefeatable
Mark Tooley, Juicy Ecumenism

A new Pew survey shows overwhelming majorities of Americans believe in the historical actuality of the Christmas story, including the Virgin Birth, the angels appearing to shepherds and the Wise Men following the star to Bethlehem.

What Advent and Interstellar Teach Us about Human Progress
Elise Amyx, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

I’ve always thought human progress to be somewhat of a paradox. The world seems to be getting both better and worse at the same time.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Christianity and American Political Thought
S. Adam Seagrave, Public Discourse

A new book examines the philosophical and religious roots of American government. Amid scholarly disagreement, one thing is clear: America is a nation founded upon the truth of human freedom and equality—whether one arrives at this truth by way of Calvin or Locke.

Black Pastor: Liberalism Is ‘Cancerous And Devastating To The Black Family’
Ginni Thomas, Daily Caller

Jackson calls it “preposterous” that people living in mansions, driving the best cars and eating the best meals would say race relations are worse now than it was for their grandfather. Calling this a “tragic, false message,” he believes it comes as “a result of a kind of spiritual blindness.”

The death of the American family dinner has been greatly exaggerated
Roberto A. Ferdman, Washington Post

Maybe you’ve heard somewhere that no one eats dinner together anymore. There’s even some pushing the idea that instead of scrambling to eat dinner together, families should aim for breakfast. And maybe you believed that family dinners were dead, based on your household’s experience.

Across America, Churches Continue To Struggle For Their Religious Freedom
Alan Sears, Alliance Defending Freedom

People are probably inclined to think more warmly of churches amid the cold winds of Christmas than at any other time of the year, but, sad to say, even the spirit of the season isn’t enough to dissuade some from all out legal assaults on houses of worship.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
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Churches key to combating slavery across the world
Caroline Wyatt, BBC News

The Catholic Church’s role and that of other churches in the UK and abroad is often a practical one, with some helping uncover victims, and then giving them practical support via charities offering safe houses and legal advice.

Vatican probe ends with an olive branch for American nuns
John L. Allen Jr., Crux

An unprecedented and highly controversial Vatican investigation of every community of Catholic sisters in the United States that began with criticism of nuns as having a “secular mentality” ended Tuesday with a report full of praise, and without any disciplinary measures or new controls.

Judge declares Obama immigration action unconstitutional
Lawrence Hurley, Reuters

President Barack Obama’s new plan to ease the threat of deportation for 4.7 million undocumented immigrants violates the U.S. Constitution, a federal judge found on Tuesday, handing down the first legal ruling against the plan.

Police can use evidence seized during mistaken traffic stops, Supreme Court rules
Sam Hananel, Associated Press

Police can use evidence seized during a traffic stop even if it turns out the officers initially pulled a car over based on a misunderstanding of the law, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
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Pope says Salvation Army and Catholics meet at peripheries of society
Vatican Radio

In a first private audience in the Vatican with a Salvation Army general on Friday, Pope Francis said theological differences do not impede the witness of a shared love of God and neighbour.

Church, Immigration, and Nation
John Zmirak, Chronicles

The God Who knows us so well did not make something alien or antihuman as a means of saving us. Instead, He uplifted, transformed, and perfected the institutions by which we relate to our fellow men in our mortal capacity.

Pantagruel Comes for the Establishment Clause
Marc Degirolami, Library of Law and Liberty

Pantagruel is coming for the Establishment Clause. He comes today bearing the standard of equality, and the manifestations of equality that he would have courts superimpose on the Constitution.

Father Christmas Is Now Better Known Than Jesus In China
The Economist

In the first decades of Communist rule in China Christianity was banned, along with other religions. Now there are tens of millions of Christians in China and faiths of all kinds are blossoming.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, December 15, 2014
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What Do Employers Owe Pregnant Employees?
Melissa Langsam Braunstein, Family Studies

To what extent must employers accommodate pregnant workers’ limitations? The Supreme Court is mulling that question.

A New Movement Against Religious Persecution
Jonathan Sacks, Wall Street Journal

My prayer on Hanukkah: For people of all faiths to work together for the freedom of all faiths.

What happened to work in America?
James Pethokoukis, AEI Ideas

The share of American men 25 to 54 years old who are not working has more than tripled since the late 1960s to 16%.

Public Schools and the Wall of Separation
Mark Bauerlein, First Things

The famous phrase “wall of separation of church and state” today enjoys the status of legal precedent, but here’s a curious fact. The phrase comes from the letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Connecticut Baptists who feared that state politicians would suppress them. When the Baptists received the letter, however, they didn’t celebrate and publicize the statement. They didn’t even record it in the minutes of their proceedings. “They pretend it never existed.”

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, December 12, 2014
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7 Books You Need to Read to Craft a Damn Compelling Case for Liberty
Joseph Cunningham, Intercollegiate Review

Want to advance liberty and Western civilization effectively? Here’s how to do it: Go find a giant, and scramble up onto his shoulders. In other words, bring some good books along for the ride, and wear their pages out.

IMF study: ‘No evidence’ high-end income inequality hurts economic growth
James Pethokoukis, AEI Ideas

“In contrast, no evidence is found that those with high incomes pulling away from the rest of the population harms growth.” Don’t be surprised if this finding — which syncs with previous literature — tends to get overlooked.

Seeking to Make a Profit Is an Act of Citizenship. Here’s Why.
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

If you paid attention in eighth grade civics class, you can rattle off the standard list of a citizen’s duties, including voting, obeying laws, becoming informed on pertinent issues, investing in your community, paying taxes, serving a jury panel, or perhaps even defending your country.

Is the Number of States with Right-to-Work Laws About to Grow?
James Sherk, The Daily Signal

Eighteen-year-old Saira Blair recently made history as the youngest person elected to the West Virginia legislature. She may make history again as a lawmaker by securing passage of a right-to-work law.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, December 11, 2014
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The Moral Triumph of Fossil Fuels
Bruce Edward Walker, The Morning Sun

Arguing “cheap, plentiful, reliable energy for the vast majority of people” is a moral good should be a no-brainer. In fact, it should be completely unnecessary – except it’s not.

‘Eye of Sauron’ on Moscow skyscraper to end up badly for city, Orthodox Church says
Russian Today

Russian Orthodox Church has slammed plans to erect a real-life ‘Eye of Sauron’ in Moscow, saying that the art project dedicated to the premiere of the final part of the “Hobbit” movie trilogy may have bad consequences for the Russian capital.

Conscience and Abortion Funding Concerns in the CRomnibus
Sarah Torre, The Daily Signal

The CRomnibus released late last night is fraught with the same bloated spending that has propelled the nation further into debt. In addition to serious fiscal concerns with the massive spending bill—not to mention the problems inherent in dropping a 1000-plus-page bill at the eleventh hour—the CRomnibus has some concerning provisions on life and conscience.

How (And Why) Cronyism Works
Yuval Levin, The Corner

Wherever you ultimately come down on the massive omnibus budget bill Congress is considering this week (the text of which was just released last night), it is certainly full of lessons about how Congress works.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
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Chimpanzees Are Not Entitled to Human Rights, New York Court Says
Elizabeth Barber, Time

The chimpanzee at issue is not entitled to a writ of habeas corpus allowing him freedom from his cage.

Not Just a Rape Culture: The University’s Rape System
Greg Forster, Public Discourse

Only political reform can fight the system that protects rapists on college campuses.

The Case for Religious Freedom
Zenit

“Where any of these fights on religious freedom are going to go, will in great part depend upon whether people of faith will stand up and speak now, or will they sit in silence. The outcome is up to you”

Unholy row as nativity scene ban divides France
Anne Penketh, The Guardian

Court orders council in La Roche-sur-Yon to dismantle crib, after complaint from secular campaigners.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
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Church Giving Tops $50 Billion A Year In U.S.—And Its Future Is Not A Collection Plate
Ruth Graham, Fast Company

“Churches are no different than any other operation in that they need to be relevant and convenient,” said RaeAnn Slaybaugh, editor of Church Executive magazine, who has reported on new giving options. “The difficulty is in capitalizing on a moment of generosity.”

The Basics of a Biblical Theology of Work
Amy L. Sherman, The Gospel Coalition

To inspire their flock about their daily work, congregational leaders need to start with the vital truth that work preceded the fall. This truth is foundational for faithful vocational stewardship. Work is not a result of humankind’s fall into sin. Work is central in Genesis 1 and 2.

In Seven States, Atheists Push to End Largely Forgotten Ban
Laurie Goodstein, New York Times

Maryland and six other states still have articles in their constitutions saying people who do not believe in God are not eligible to hold public office. Maryland’s Constitution still says belief in God is a requirement even for jurors and witnesses.

9 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Persecution of Christians
Rick McDaniel, OnFaith

Is discrimination against Christians an acceptable form of prejudice?

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, December 8, 2014
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The Case for Religious Freedom
Deborah Castellano Lubov, Zenit

Especially at this time in Western nations, we’re seeing this incredible backlash … the demand that Catholic or Jewish persons surrender their consciences and serve others.

Economist’s View: ‘Maths and Morals, Economics and Greed’
Mark Thoma, Economist’s View

We need to represent markets as centres of communication and deliberation, not as competitive arenas driven by profit maximisation. The clue is in the word forum, which defined both the market place and the political centre of a Roman city.

The Cost of Amnesty
David Frum, The Atlantic

President Obama touts the economic benefits of immigration, but the rising price of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit alone could be dizzying.


Pastor Rick Warren to Catholics: ‘We Have Far More in Common than What Divides Us’

Thomas D. Williams, Breitbart

To the delight of some and the consternation of others, bestselling author and pastor of the Saddleback community megachurch, Rick Warren is endorsing closer union between Evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics.