Category: PowerLinks

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, May 22, 2015

Can We Have Religious Liberty In Modern America?
Luma Simms, The Federalist

Our liberty is a natural right protected via constant tension between all of our branches of government, representing the tensions between all of us as a people. It is through this tension that we ought to end up with equal and just laws that are good for society as a whole.

‘Sin taxes’ yield more than double business taxes in Mich.
Chad Livengood, The Detroit News

Smokers and drinkers paid more taxes last year than Michigan companies paid in net business income taxes — a new development that’s likely to inflame a raging legislative debate about the fairness of the state’s tax code.

Teenage Wageland
Jared Meyer, City Journal

Los Angeles cuts off a rung of its economic ladder.

Trade legislation overcomes Senate filibuster
Timothy B. Lee, Vox

On Thursday the Senate cleared a key procedural hurdle to passing Trade Promotion Authority, which would guarantee President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership an up-or-down vote in Congress.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, May 21, 2015

3 Things ‘The Profit’ Teaches Us About The Beauty Of Business
Joseph Sunde, The Federalist

Business is not just about money. It’s about people, incentives, and ethics, as CNBC’s ‘The Profit’ portrays.

Do religious leaders really focus on homosexuality and abortion more than poverty? Not exactly
Scott Clement, Washington Post

A breakdown of the data by religious groups shows that poverty dominates discussion even at churches with strong stances on abortion and homosexuality.

The Ann Coulter Critique of American Christianity
Ross Douthat, New York Times

[H]ere I think you can take the personal venom out of Coulter’s argument, reframe it as a call to action, and find a possibly-important point: Namely, that the extraordinary overseas work done by Christian (and especially evangelical, it must be said) missionaries, and the extraordinary fundraising done on their behalf at home, might be a model for a renewal of domestic mission work as well.

Newly Passed Human Trafficking Bill Only a Start to What US Must Do to Combat Trafficking
Olivia Enos, The Daily Signal

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015. If signed by the president, the bill would create a domestic fund for victims of child sex trafficking from fines levied against traffickers. Fines collected from traffickers will bolster local law enforcement training and capabilities, among other capacity building measures.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

E.U. Agrees to Naval Intervention on Human Traffickers
James Kanter, New York Times

European Union foreign and defense ministers agreed on Monday to establish naval operations to disrupt human traffickers from setting off from North Africa.

To Overcome Polarization, Focus on the Poor
David Lapp, Family Studies

Debating how culture and economics shape poverty can distract us from helping the poor people right in front of us.

Report: Only ‘full recognition of religious freedom’ will protect people
Carol Zimmermann, Crux

The cover photograph on a new 232-page report outlining religious freedom violations around the world last year pretty much says it all.

Carrying out the Cultural Mandate Is Essential for Biblical Flourishing
Hugh Whelchel, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

The cultural mandate was meant not only for Adam and Eve, but for Christians today, too. It still stands as God’s directive for the stewardship of his creation.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A meeting in Managua – liberation theology 30 years later
Alejandro Bermúdez, Catholic News Agency

If the Soviet bloc wasn’t the mother of liberation theology, it was certainly a sinister stepmother, enlisting Catholics in a geopolitical cause and inviting them to sell their souls for funding and support.

Do Churches Fail the Poor?
Ross Douthat, New York Times

Last week two prominent Americans — an eminent social scientist and the president of the United States — decided to answer the question: How have America’s churches failed the poor?

American nuns, Chinese booze and religious persecution
Mark L. Rienzi, USA Today

Forcing Chinese Muslims to sell alcohol and smokes is an obvious ploy to hurt Islam.

What If Everybody Didn’t Have to Work to Get Paid
David R. Wheeler, The Atlantic

Advocates say that a guaranteed basic income can lead to more creative, fulfilling work. The question is how to fund it.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, May 18, 2015

The Plight of the Middle East’s Christians
Walter Russell Mead, Wall Street Journal

Ancient communities in Syria and Iraq are in mortal peril. Can the West find a way to preserve the Christian presence in the Middle East—and stave off a ‘clash of civilizations’?

Religious Freedom and Sexual Identity: A Proposal for Peace
Adam J. MacLeod, Public Discourse

If law can declare certain reasons for a private business owner to refuse service—such as sexual orientation—invalid, then it can also designate other reasons as valid—such as religious convictions about the nature of marriage.

How Should Christians Think About Management?
Matt Perman, What’s Best Next

Christians should care about whether the organizations they work in are managed well and, if they are managers themselves, they should manage well. This is first of all because, as Patrick Lencioni points out, management is a form of ministry

Oklahoma House OKs resolution to reaffirm religious freedom
Associated Press

The Oklahoma House has passed a resolution calling on President Barack Obama and Congress to reaffirm the nation’s commitments to protecting religious freedom and condemning the deaths of Christians around the world.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, May 15, 2015

Texas Senate OKs bill allowing clergy to refuse gay marriage
Will Weissert, Associated Press

The Texas Senate voted overwhelmingly on Monday to allow clergy members to refuse performing marriages that violate their religious beliefs, as top Republicans move to further shield the nation’s largest conservative state from a possible US Supreme Court ruling allowing gay couples to wed.

Push to End Prison Rapes Loses Earlier Momentum
Deborah Sontag, New York Times

With May 15 marking the second annual reporting deadline, advocates for inmates and half of the members of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, a bipartisan group charged with drafting the standards, say the plodding pace of change has disheartened them despite pockets of progress.

Modest Conscience Protections in Louisiana Elicit Hysteria
Adam J. MacLeod, Public Discourse

The Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act is timely, necessary, and well-justified. If passed, it will help preserve the State of Louisiana’s commitment to freedoms of conscience, religion, and expression.

Can Economists Measure Society’s Self-Absorption?
Marc Bain, The Atlantic

Though it’s hard to define and record, the amount of money spent worldwide on vanity purchases is larger than the GDP of Germany, and it’s growing much faster than other markets.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, May 14, 2015

Catholics, Evangelicals team up to fight poverty
Michael O’Loughlin, Crux

Putting aside theological differences – and the battle for souls on the ground – in order to form a unified front on fighting poverty is the only way to make progress as inequality grows, Catholic and Evangelical leaders said Monday.

Bastiat, ‘reductio ad absurdum’ and the minimum wage
Mark J. Perry, AEI Ideas

The great French free-market economist Frederic Bastiat was considered by many to be the master of the reductio ad absurdum approach that he used quite effectively to expose the logical fallacies of his opponents’ positions by taking unsound arguments to their extreme and often ridiculous conclusions.

Student religious freedom bill signed into Alabama law
Erin Edgemon,

Legislation that protects students’ religious freedoms was signed into law by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley today on the National Day of Prayer.

Ministerial Exception Bars Discrimination Claims Against Salvation Army
Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

In Rogers v. Salvation Army, (ED MI, May 11, 2015), a Michigan federal district court held that the ministerial exception doctrine bars race and age discrimination claims against The Salvation Army.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Why Americans oppose economic redistribution despite income inequality
Michael Barone, AEI Ideas

Americans have an innate sense that it’s a mistake to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. They seem to understand that, if taxes are too high, the affluent will figure out ways to shelter income.

The Faustian Bargain Between Church and State
David Shipler, The Atlantic

To receive tax-exempt status from the IRS, religious organizations must abstain from electioneering. Is that constitutional?

The Surprising News about Poverty
Elise Amyx, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

We won’t ever have all the pieces to the poverty puzzle in place on this side of eternity, but every now and then, a few seem to fall into place.

Forgive Us Our Debts: Family Christian Turns to the Law for Grace
Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, Christianity Today

The Bible debate inside the bankrupt bookstore chain’s searches for a new buyer.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cuba’s President Castro: ‘If Pope Keeps Going Way He’s Going, I’ll Come Back to Catholic Church’
Deborah Castellano Lubov, Zenit

Following meeting with Pope Francis, Raul Castro shares he’ll attend papal Masses in Cuba.

Why raising minimum wages is riskier than expanding the EITC
Aparna Mathur, AEI Ideas

The reason minimum wages may not boost incomes at the bottom is because there is a significant probability that higher minimum wages could result in fewer jobs. Increases in the minimum wage mean an increase in costs for employers.

5 takeaways from the US religious freedom panel’s report
Brian Pellot, Religion News Service

The independent watchdog panel created by Congress to monitor religious freedom conditions worldwide issued its 16th annual report last week. Here’s a roundup of the report’s key recommendations.

Russia Threatens Veto of EU Anti-Trafficking Efforts
The American Interest

In recent years, Russia has become hellbent on using every opportunity to put obstacles in the way of EU—and U.S.—policy. That’s not necessarily because Moscow has any substantial objection to or even interest in any particular question, but simply because it wants to be as much of a factor in geopolitics as it can.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, May 11, 2015

Two Premises on Poverty and Culture
Ross Douthat, New York Times

These two realities, taken together, do not necessarily point toward either a left-wing or a right-wing diagnosis of our situation.

How would we know if we won the War on Poverty?
Scott Sumner, EconLog

There’s a tendency to assume that the effect of anti-poverty spending can be measured by looking at the difference between market income and market income plus government aid. I’m going to argue that this is a very serious conceptual error, even if their conclusions end up being correct in the end.

The three keys to school choice success
Michael Q. McShane, AEI Ideas

For the class of 2014, only 26 percent of those who took the ACT scored college-ready in all four subjects. If we want to turn around these depressing statistics, we need serious change in the American education system.

The Left Frets: What If the Supreme Court Recognizes the Dignity of Christians?
Seth Mandel, Commentary

A nagging question I’ve had while watching local businesses sued into oblivion for the Christian thoughtcrimes of their proprietors is: What will it take for liberals to finally have second thoughts about the way in which gay marriage is being legalized?