Category: PowerLinks

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
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The Desecration of Churches in Yabroud
Notes on Arab Orthodoxy

Although the gunmen are gone, their sectarian fingerprint on Yabrud remains. All you have to do is visit St. Mary’s Greek Catholic Church to see the destruction.

Antiochian Orthodox leader recalled as man with vision
Mark Zaborney, Toledo Blade

“As long as we are fragmented and known by Antiochians and Greeks and Serbians and Bulgarians and Russians, we will have no impact as a church on this country,” Metropolitan Philip told The Blade in 2003.

High Court Seems Divided Over Birth Control Rule
Mark Sherman, AP

The Supreme Court seemed divided Tuesday over whether employers’ religious beliefs can free them from a part of the new health care law that requires that they provide coverage of birth control for employees at no extra charge.

Why Hobby Lobby’s HHS Lawsuit Matters
The Editors, National Catholic Register

Now, more than ever, Catholics need to support efforts to bolster religious freedom and explain why our experiment in ordered liberty requires robust protections for churches and individual believers. But it’s also important to remember that the fight for the “first freedom” is not an end in itself and is linked to a deeper truth.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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Indiana Ends Common Core Education Standards
Rob Bluey, The Foundry

Gov. Mike Pence signed legislation today requiring the state to come up with its own academic standards, making Indiana the latest state to pull its support for the national education standards known as Common Core.

Western Ignorance of the ‘Conditions of Omar’
Raymond Ibrahim, PJ Media

Syrian Christians are being forced to convert, subjugate themselves, or face death.

The Proper Size of Government
Sean Speer and Charles Lammam, The American

Based on a large body of empirical research examining the relationship between the size of government and economic outcomes, the United States should scale back.

One Woman’s Journey from Welfare to Work
Marvin Olasky, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

It’s been seventeen years since Congress passed welfare reform. I’m looking for a detailed study of what happened to people who were on welfare back in the day and left it: Did they get and hold jobs? Did they advance to management? Did they die on the streets? I’ve seen a few statistics but none that are definitive. I’ve heard even fewer stories.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, March 24, 2014
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Paul Ryan was right — poverty is a cultural problem
George F. Will, Washington Post

Critics of Rep. Paul Ryan’s remarks about cultural factors in the persistence of poverty are simultaneously shrill and boring. Their predictable minuet of synthetic indignation demonstrates how little liberals have learned about poverty or changed their rhetorical repertoire in the last 49 years.

Overcoming fears, volunteer leads sex-trafficking ministry
Ann Lovell, Baptist Press

At midnight on a cold Friday in January, Loree Becton stands on a street corner along Jefferson Davis Highway in Richmond, Va. — an area notoriously known for prostitution and crime. She’s come a long way.

Six parishioners shot dead while worshipping at Kenyan church
ABC

Two gunmen have stormed a church near the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa and opened fire on worshippers, killing six people and wounding more than a dozen others, in what police are labelling a terrorist attack.

If the contraceptive mandate passes, it will ruin a core U.S. ideology
Rick Warren, Washington Post

Does our Constitution guarantee the freedom of religion, or does it merely allow a more limited freedom to worship? The difference is profound. Worship is an event. Religion is a way of life.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, March 21, 2014
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Pope Francis: Without work, human dignity is “wounded”
Ed Morrissey, Hot Air

If it seems odd to root for reduced opportunity in favor of government subsidies, then this message today from Pope Francis will resonate.

The Most Influential Reformer You’ve Never Heard of
Karen Swallow Prior, Christianity Today

Hannah More shows us what happens when Christians focus on world-changing instead of in-fighting.

The Challenge of Pluralism
Ross Douthat, New York Times

If we take pluralism seriously, the whole point of the concept is to enable groups to “throw up a shield” against the pressure of consensus, and develop and promote alternatives that are rejected the powerful, or by society as a whole.

Diplomas vs. Dirty Jobs
Nick Gillespie, Reason

TV host Mike Rowe on the educational bias against unglamorous, good-paying work.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, March 20, 2014
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Military Families Want Educational Options That Meet Their Children’s Needs
Brandon Hershey, The Foundry

Educational opportunity for military families means that military parents can choose schools that will support the needs of their children.

What Do Protestants Think of Pope Francis?
Barna Group

It’s widely accepted that Catholics love the Holy Father, but what about people of other traditions? Some have called Francis a pope for Protestants or for Millennials, but what do these groups actually think of him? And if his influence is so far-reaching, what has been the impact of the so-called “Pope Effect,” one year into his papacy?

Did Sweden Just Make the Case for Free Market Policies?
David Kinkade, Free Enterprise

The changes are driven in large part by the growing recognition that gargantuan government sectors and overgenerous entitlements are simply unsustainable. As Adrian Wooldridge notes in a 2013 article for The Economist, “they have reached the limits of big government.”

What Is Religious Freedom Good For?
Peter Berger, The American Interest

Saying that religious freedom is important because it leads to economic prosperity may strike some as unnecessarily amoral. But we should not be overly disturbed by narrow interests bringing about morally desirable consequences.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
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Ryan and Liberal Welfare-State Amnesia
Jonathan S. Tobin , Commentary

What’s at stake is an attempt to reinstate the old shibboleths that were the foundation of the liberal welfare state that was buried when President Bill Clinton said the era of big government was over and then signed a historic welfare reform act into law.

Uniform Rule May Keep Religious Americans From Military Service
NPR

People who observe religions that require specific hair or dress traditions have to seek an accommodation from a superior to break the Defense Department’s uniform requirements.

Why Finland’s Educational Model Is More Conservative Than Ours
Gracy Olmstead, The American Conservative

As part of a series of educational reforms in the 1970s and ’80s, Finland “shook the classrooms free from the last vestiges of top-down regulation,” wrote Smithsonian Magazine contributor LynNell Hancock in September 2011.

Volunteerism in America Hits a 10-Year Low
Collette Caprara, The Foundry

This decline in civic engagement puzzled some commentators who noted that the downward trend wasn’t related to the greying of America, since the only age cohort with an increase in volunteering was the over-60 group. Nor was it connected to shorter periods of free time in an improved labor market, given that employed workers consistently volunteer at higher rates than unemployed peers.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
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Quality Education is Not Rocket Science
Anthony Esolen, The Imaginative Conservative

What I’m trying to say here is simple enough. My advice to all of you who are building anew: Do not be played for chumps! This is not quantum physics. Children learn naturally, and if they are treated well, they will learn most things with ease.

Iran’s Oppressed Christians
Liana Aghajanian, New York Times

“When you’re Christian in Iran, you can’t speak. You have to keep quiet and not talk about the truth that you know and that you believe in,” he told me. “There is no such thing as a comfortable life in Iran.”

Education and Christian Faith
Jeff Haanen

A hard question to ask is this: Did Jesus rise from the dead? On Sunday, Christians would say, “Oh, yes. Absolutely.” But when pressed in a public school context, many of those same teachers would say, “Well, that’s what I believe.”

Freedom – A Poverty Program That Worked?
Lawrence Reed, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

America’s unofficial poverty program for most of the nation’s history could be called, in a word, “liberty.”

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, March 17, 2014
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The Sorry State Of Religious Freedom At The Air Force Academy
Zac Crippen, The Federalist

If Mr. Weinstein were a better student of American history, he would recognize the positive role that religious faith has played in the character formation of the men and women in our military.

Underlying Hobby Lobby
Philip Hamburger, National Review

Can government treat specialized organizations as having diminished constitutional rights outside their fields of specialization? Can it conclude, for example, that because Hobby Lobby is a business corporation, it has diminished interests in religion, and therefore in religious liberty?

Meet the Two Families Fighting for Religious Freedom
Sarah Torre, The Foundry

In less than two weeks, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in cases challenging an Obamacare mandate that is trampling on religious freedom. The Hahn family and the Green family will be at the Court on March 25 asking for respect of their religious liberty and the freedom to continue offering their employees generous health plans.

Don’t expect reforming the anti-poverty safety net to save money
James Pethokoukis, AEI Ideas

While some programs need more limited eligibility, such as disability insurance, some should be expanded. Consider: A fifth of Americans eligible for the Earned Income Credit don’t participate, partially due the complexity of the refundable tax credit.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, March 14, 2014
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The US poverty rate is 15%. But it’s less than 3% for full-time workers
James Pethokoukis, AEI Ideas

Some folks, particularly on the left, wave away studies that show a negative impact on work from Obamacare or sharply raising the minimum wage. But here is a fact to keep in mind: while the official US poverty rate is 15%, according to the Census Bureau, it is only 2.9% for year-round, full-time workers.

Occupational hazard
Donald J. Boudreaux , Pittsburgh Tribune

Sadly, this example of occupational licensing is only one of hundreds throughout America. Physicians and lawyers are, of course, widely known to be licensed. But did you know also that, in some states, people without government licenses cannot practice trades such as florist, lobster seller, motion-picture projectionist, hair braider, junkyard dealer and manure spreader?

Progressivism’s War on Winners
Mary Eberstadt, National Review

From the perspective of sheer public relations, taking on the Little Sisters should have been the political equivalent of slapping babies. Why wasn’t it? This is a puzzle to which we will return.

Worldwide, Many See Belief in God as Essential to Morality
Pew Research

Many people around the world think it is necessary to believe in God to be a moral person, according to surveys in 40 countries by the Pew Research Center. However, this view is more common in poorer countries than in wealthier ones.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, March 13, 2014
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9 Things You Should Know About Pimps and Sex Traffickers
Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition

Nine things you should know about those who coerce women and children into prostitution.

Koch Brother Donates Money to Hospital, Liberals Protest
(Not a Parody)

Andrew Stiles, Washington Free Beacon

The donation was the largest in the hospital’s history, and will presumably create a fair number of new nursing jobs. So why are the usual suspects up in arms? Well, the agitators were apparently agitated because this particular hospital didn’t need all the money.

House OKs religious exemptions to having a healthcare plan
Pete Kasperowicz, The Hill

House Democrats joined Republicans on Tuesday to pass legislation that would expand an exemption under ObamaCare for people who don’t want health insurance for religious reasons.

Is Detroit Doomed?
Mattie Duppler, The Federalist

Not if the city becomes a vanguard in municipal collaboration with free enterprise.