Category: PowerLinks

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
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Natural Law: Basic Principles, Objections, and Responses
Justin Taylor, The Gospel Coalition

A basic summary from Greg Forster’s very helpful book, The Contested Public Square: The Crisis of Christianity and Politics (IVP, 2008).

Free Markets, Democracy Are Nothing Without Moral, Religious People, Eric Metaxas Says
Tyler O’Neil, Christian Post

“The free market and democracy by themselves, unmoored by a religious population or a moral population, are nothing,” Metaxas said Friday. “The free hand of the market will provide cheaper, better pornography and drugs, if that’s what the population wants.”

What Does Public Schooling Teach Us About Predatory Pricing?
Bryan Caplan, EconLog

Predatory pricing is one of the simplest business practices to explain: Sell at a loss until you bankrupt your competitors. When you think about it, public schools apply this predatory strategy to an extreme degree. They don’t just sell education at a loss. They “sell” education for free!

An Unexpected Source of Human Flourishing
Shawn Ritenour, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

The division of labor contributes to prosperity because people are more productive when they specialize in doing those tasks at which they are relatively most efficient. Instead of every person producing every good that he consumes himself, all of us are more productive if we specialize in producing those goods for which we are the low-cost producer.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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Prudence is a Virtue
Adam Gurri, The Umlaut

[P]rudence is a virtue, that caring for oneself and one’s closest friends and family members is as much a moral question as one’s duty to strangers, or one’s civic obligations.

Cross Purposes
Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review

What has changed since 1993 is American liberalism’s view of religious freedom.

Women’s Empowerment Starts with Economic Freedom
Charlotte Florance and Ana Quintana, The Foundry

While the status for women has improved overall, women in all corners of the world still suffer from gross injustices. In many developing countries that have laws to “protect” women, there is little enforcement.

The Common Core Is Driving the Changes to the SAT
Lindsey Tepe, The Atlantic

The recently announced redesign will bring the test in line with the standards.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, March 10, 2014
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Orthodox patriarchs urge peace in Ukraine, plan first council in 1,200 years
Tom Heneghan, Reuters

Patriarchs of the world’s 250 million Orthodox Christians ended a rare summit in Istanbul on Sunday calling for a peaceful end to the crisis in Ukraine and denouncing violence driving Christians out of the Middle East.

Why 73% of Donations Go to Religious Organizations
Brian Brown, Humane Pursuits

Americans give over $300 billion to charity every year. A whopping 73% goes to nonprofits with religious ties (41% to churches and synagogues). These are hardly unknown facts, but what’s interesting about them is why.

For Catholics, The Vocation Of Business Is The Main Hope For The World’s Poor
Michael Novak, Forbes

The business vocation is the main hope of the 1 billion human beings around the world still locked in poverty.

The path to responsibility can start with a broom and a paycheck
Robert Doar , The Wall Street Journal

It is hard to be a young black male in the United States today. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for African-American men between 16 and 24 is 30.5%. That rate is more than twice what it is for whites in the same age group.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, March 7, 2014
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Francis Has Changed American Catholics’ Attitudes, but Not Their Behavior, a Poll Finds
Laurie Goodstein, New York Times

Nearly six in 10 American Catholics in the poll said they expected the church would definitely or probably lift its prohibition on birth control by the year 2050, while half said the church would allow priests to marry.

John Wesley and Religious Freedom
Mark Tooley, First Things

Once universal assumptions about religious liberty in America are fraying. As Evangelical author Eric Metaxas recently told the National Religious Broadcasters, “Americans are so spoiled, we’ve had so much religious freedom, we don’t know what it is to miss it,” adding, “We take holy gifts for granted.”

Bill to Make the Fine $0 for Violating the Individual Mandate Passes by 90 Votes
Jeffrey H. Anderson, The Weekly Standard

The House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday afternoon to make the fine/“tax” for violating Obamacare’s individual mandate $0 for this year, and it did so by the wide margin of 90 votes (250 to 160).

Home College: an Idea Whose Time Has Come (Again)
Hollis Robbins, The Chronicle of Higher Education

If MOOCs offer a high-tech alternative approach to brick-and-mortar higher education, home-colleging represents a radically different, more human approach.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, March 6, 2014
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Paul Ryan should keep talking about poverty, even if it annoys The New York Times
James Pethokoukis, AEI Ideas

Some folks on the left are miffed that Republicans and conservatives are talking a lot lately about poverty. Maybe they think the attention to the issue is disingenuous. Perhaps they don’t like that the “War on Poverty” isn’t accepted by many on the right as a roaring and unquestioned success.

The forgotten Arab Christians
New York Post

If it weren’t for Israel, we often hear, the Middle East’s lions would all lie down with the lambs. The terrible fate of a Christian community in Syria is a fresh reminder of just how ­untrue this is.

What Is Conscience?
Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition

Over the past few years, the term conscience has been increasingly referenced in debates occurring both in our churches (e.g., appeals to conscience on moral issues) and the public square (e.g., defending the right of conscience). We hear a lot about conscience, but what exactly does it mean?

House GOP budget will focus on reforming welfare, overhauling social programs
Robert Costa, New York Times

As a direct counter to President Obama’s recent emphasis on the gap between rich and poor, the upcoming House Republican budget will focus on welfare reform and recommend a sweeping overhaul of social programs, including Head Start and Medicaid.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
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The Downside of Inciting Envy
Arthur C. Brooks, New York Times

It’s safe to conclude that a national shift toward envy would be toxic for American culture.

When Income Inequality Is – and Isn’t – a Problem
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Income inequality can be a red herring. It gets us caught up in the wrong conversation. What really matters is whether the poorest among us have a legitimate chance to improve their conditions.

Syrian Jihadists Are Forcing Christians to Become Dhimmis Under Seventh-Century Rules
Nina Shea, National Review Online

The religious persecution in Syria deepened this week, as evidenced by a written ultimatum purportedly distributed by the rebel jihadist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) to Christians in the northern provincial capital of Raqqa.

Case weighing religious freedom against rights of others is headed to Supreme Court
Robert Barnes, New York Times

Arizona recently showed the rest of the nation how difficult it can be to balance the religious rights of some with the guarantees all have to be treated equally and protected from discrimination.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
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The Conscience of Thomas More and the Little Sisters Of The Poor
Sandra Laguerta, First Things

With the battle raging between the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Federal government on the HHS Mandate, some writers have likened their case to the trial of St. Thomas More as seen in Robert Bolt’s play A Man for All Seasons or Fred Zinnemann’s famous film adaption. Zinnemann’s film and Bolt’s play, however, inaccurately convey Thomas More’s idea of conscience.

What Is the Right to Religious Freedom?
Fr. Dylan Schrader, Homiletic & Pastoral Review

The most fundamental right in the area of religion is that which should be attributed to God, what we owe to God. God is absolutely sovereign.

The Rich Get Married, the Poor Get Poorer
Peter Jon Mitchell and Andrea Mrozek, Public Discourse

The Canadian dialogue on marriage and economic prosperity lags behind the American conversation, but a new report aims to change that.

An Argument to Turn to Jesus Before the Bar
Mark Oppenheimer, New York Times

Americans like to sue. But many evangelicals believe that they should turn first to Jesus, not the bar. “If another member of the church sins against you,” Jesus says, according to the Gospel of Matthew, “go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.”

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, March 3, 2014
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When Tolerance Turns to Coerced Celebration
Jennifer A. Marshall, The Gospel Coalition

The legal freedom to live and love according to one’s preferences does not imply that government should compel others to celebrate all relationships.

Religious Liberty After Arizona
Ben Domenech, The Federalist

On the importance of trusting markets and people over government.

Moscow’s (religious) reply to Kiev
The Economist

On the face of things, Monday’s decision amounts to an artful move by the powers-that-be in Moscow to bring a semi-independent daughter church back under control. But maybe it’s not quite so simple.

Why Understanding Economics Means Understanding People
Kristie Eshelman, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

What comes to your mind when you think of economics? Do you think of charts, graphs, and mathematical models, or general principles of human behavior? Can our understanding of the Bible inform our economic thinking?

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, February 28, 2014
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Quality Education is Not Rocket Science
Anthony Esolen, Crisis Magazine

Every week it seems I receive three or four letters from people who are establishing new schools or reforming old ones. These letters are most encouraging, and all of the writers, without exception, are dedicated to restoring what is called a “classical” education.

What price a religious calling?
David Briggs, Association of Religion Data Archives

Record seminary debt shows need for financial as well as divine guidance.

The Protection of the Church
William Saletan, Slate

Even in the midst of religious war, religious institutions provide the moral strength to contain the violence. Faith in transcendent values counters sectarian hatred.

Ukrainians and Venezuelans Demand What Their Neighbors Have: Economic Freedom
James M. Roberts, The Foundry

The images flashing around the world of courageous freedom fighters in the streets of Kyiv, Caracas, and other cities and towns in Ukraine and Venezuela are compelling. Why are these people risking their lives? For freedom, that’s why.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, February 27, 2014
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In San Jose, generous pensions for city workers come at expense of nearly all else
Michael A. Fletcher, Washington Post

In San Jose and across the nation, state and local officials are increasingly confronting a vision of startling injustice: Poor and middle-class taxpayers — who often have no retirement savings — are paying higher taxes so public employees can retire in relative comfort.

How to Fix Our Appalling Tax Code
Dave Camp, Wall Street Journal

There have been so many changes to the tax code over the past decade that it is now 10 times the size of the Bible, but with none of the Good News.

Subsidiarity Calls Us to Live Like Catholics
James Kalb, Crisis Magazine

Subsidiarity is integral to a social doctrine based on natural law rather than technology. That ought to be a feature rather than a bug, but in today’s world it means no one can make sense of it or apply it coherently.

Why Income Inequality Has Little to Do with Poverty
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Income inequality can reflect theft and abuse of power, and in those situations, we must stand up and stop it. However, income inequality is a natural part of the human condition, and when a result of well-functioning, voluntary trade protected by a rule of law, it can be the sign of a vibrant society full of opportunities for the rich and the poor.