Category: PowerLinks

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, January 8, 2015
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Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale
Naftali Bendavid , Wall Street Journal

Hundreds of Churches Have Closed or Are Threatened by Plunging Membership, Posing Question: What to Do With Unused Buildings?

Green Policies a Cold Comfort to Britain’s Poor
The American Interest

Britain just hit an ignominious milestone: new figures show that more than a million families with children live in “fuel poverty,” unable to afford their basic power needs.

Congress is still really religious and really Christian
Domenico Montanaro , PBS Newshour

Despite a growing number of Americans who say they are religiously unaffiliated, Congress is dominated by those who identify with a religion.

Making Money To The Glory Of God
Timothy J. Trudeau

Both the prosperity gospel and the anti-prosperity gospel are over-reactions—possibly as a response to each other. Both are wrong. Neither is the gospel.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
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Does Economic Inequality Matter?
Bruce Frohnen, The Imaginative Conservative

It is tempting to laugh off or even sneer at all this hand-wringing over the inevitable fact of inequality. Indeed, “inequality” may be taken as a whiner’s word for “variety.”

Why Religious Colleges Should Worry About This New Ruling
Mark Bauerlein, First Things

Last month, the National Labor Relations Board issued an important ruling that promises to land in the courts. The ensuing decision may be as momentous as the Yeshiva case of 1980, which determined that tenured and tenure-track faculty members have managerial status and cannot unionize. The new ruling opens the way for more professors in post-secondary institutions to unionize, including religious schools.

Does Immigration Harm Working Americans?
David Frum, The Atlantic

Many economists say no—but they may be too glib.

Home Schooling: More Pupils, Less Regulation
Motoko Rich, New York Times

Until recently, Pennsylvania had one of the strictest home-school laws in the nation.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
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Genocidal Century: Culture of Death Leading to WWIII?
Paul Strand, CBN News

Co-authors John Zmirak and Jason Jones lay out the reasons that genocide and total war, eugenics and totalitarianism were able to triumph over the principles of humane civilization in the 20th century.

A strike against rent-seeking
George Will, Jewish World Review

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow, so last year’s most encouraging development in governance might have occurred in February in a U.S. district court in Frankfort, Ky. There, a judge did something no federal judge has done since 1932. By striking down a “certificate of necessity” (CON) regulation, he struck a blow for liberty and against crony capitalism.

Libya violence: Militants kidnap Coptic Christians in Sirte
BBC

Masked gunmen in northern Libya have kidnapped 13 Coptic Christian workers from Egypt, just a week after seven others were abducted.

Cluster of Concerns Vie for Top U.S. Problem in 2014
Lydia Saad, Gallup

In 2014, four issues generated enough public concern over enough months for at least 10% of Americans, on average, to identify each of them as the nation’s most important problem. Complaints about government leadership — including President Barack Obama, the Republicans in Congress and general political conflict — led the list, at 18%. This was closely followed by mentions of the economy in general (17%), unemployment or jobs (15%) and healthcare (10%).

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, January 5, 2015
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Catholics Fight for Freedom in Washington, D.C.
Robert E. Laird , Crisis Magazine

The Catholic University of America and the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., are the latest targets of legislative and judicial moral relativists who severely threaten the religious freedom of Catholic educational institutions from pre-schools to universities, as well as other Catholic services.

Want to watch economists fight? Bring up the minimum wage
Anya Van Wagtendonk, PBS Newshour

In the course of just the past two days, the minimum wage jumped up in 21 states — and odds are, you’ve got an opinion about that. So does the academic world, which has studied — and argued over — the minimum wage’s impact within the labor market for more than 70 years.

Alice Cooper, Christian: ‘The World Belongs to Satan’
Michael W. Chapman, CNS News

Alice Cooper, the shock-rock megastar who makes Marilyn Manson look like a choir boy, stopped his hard-partying ways and returned to his Bible Christian roots in the late 1980s and today, still hugely popular and touring, says he isn’t shy about discussing his faith, says his early songs always warned against choosing evil, and contends that the world we live in “doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to Satan.

Human Traffickers Are Abandoning Boats Full of Migrants
Adam Chandler, The Atlantic

On Thursday evening, the Italian Coast Guard received this unusual distress call: “We’re without crew, we’re heading toward the Italian coast and we have no one to steer.”

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, January 2, 2015
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Happiness on the rise globally, survey finds
BBC

The market research and polling organisation WIN/Gallup found that 70% of respondents were content with their life – a 10% increase from last year.

Understanding Conscience Claims as Claims of an Absolute Duty
Rick Plasterer, Juicy Ecumenism

Imperative in the struggle for liberty of conscience is the claim that the right of conscience is protection for an absolute duty. Without this there is no point in the struggle, nor can the general public or the civil courts understand the true nature of the claims being made, or why they should be accommodated.

What Kinds of Goals Should You Set This Year?
Andrew Spencer , Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

The New Year’s resolution is an old tradition that has become a greater source of satire than an actual practice for most people.

In Soweto Gold beer, a taste of economic freedom
PBS Newshour

Soweto, an enduring symbol of apartheid discrimination and impoverishment, is now home to the first microbrewery built in a black township. Special correspondent Martin Seemungal offers a look at South Africa’s rising black middle class and what it means for that country’s transformation.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
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How To Make A New Year’s Resolution That Sticks
Tim Challies, Challies.com

The most likely reason your new year’s resolution will fail is that you haven’t actually made a resolution—you have made a wish.

For The West, Christian Hunting Is The Sport Of Lawmakers And Judges
Joy Pullmann, The Federalist

Washington DC’s City Council is moving to force religious K-12 schools and universities to pay for employee abortions and sponsor on-campus gay advocacy organizations.

Constitution’s horrible, no good, very bad year
William A. Jacobson, USA Today

President Obama governs by executive fiat, defacto legislation and ignores separation of powers.

Middle Eastern Christians Flee Violence for Ancient Homeland
Tara Isabella Burton, National Geographic

Refugees flee Syria and Iraq to Midyat, Turkey, which clings to its diminished role as the heartland of the ancient Orthodox faith.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
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Catholic Higher Education in Ruins
Robert Oscar Lopez , Crisis Magazine

Before there was Pope Francis, there was a different Francis from Assisi, Italy. Back in the twelfth century, St. Francis heard the call to fix a church falling into ruins. Now it is the twenty-first century, and this Francis ought to hear the call to fix Catholic colleges falling into ruins.

Economic development promotes democracy, but there’s a catch
Daniel Treisman, Washington Post

Does economic development cause countries to become more democratic? A vast literature says yes. Except for a few petrostates, mostly in the Persian Gulf, almost all the richest countries have responsive and accountable governments.

The Continuing Story of the ‘Greatest Collective Humanitarian Endeavor in the History of the World’
Kathryn Jean Lopez, The Corner

African Mission Healthcare Foundation teams up with clinics, hospitals, and other groups that have been at work on the ground, offering funding and other support. Dr. Fielder has served as a full-time doctor and director of AMHF in both Malawi and Kenya. He talked about some of his work with National Review Online.

Jesus as the Best Management Model
Glenn Brooke , Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Though it sounds goofy to some, I unashamedly rely upon this question to help me be a better person and project manager, and a better leader: “What would Jesus do?”

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, December 29, 2014
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A Different Approach to Breaking the Cycle of Poverty
Alana Semuels, The Atlantic

Two-generation programs focus on improving education for children and job opportunities for parents at the same time.

Pope Condemns Islamic State, Decries Suffering of Children
Reuters

Pope Francis on Thursday condemned the “brutal persecution” of minorities by Islamic State insurgents and said the joy of Christmas was marred by the suffering of children in the Middle East and around the world.

Top Dozen Church-State and Religious Liberty Developments In 2014

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

Each year in December, I attempt to highlight the most important Church-State and Religious Liberty Developments of the past year. Usually I identify the top ten stories. This year however was so full of important developments that I have had to increase my nominations to the Top Dozen.

6 Myths About Right-to-Work Laws
James Sherk, The Daily Signal

Many states and local governments are considering right-to-work laws. These laws make union dues voluntary. Without them, union contracts make paying dues a condition of employment.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, December 26, 2014
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Are Hobbits For Hippies? Or, How Would J.R.R. Tolkien Vote?
Jonathan Witt and Jay W. Richards, The Federalist

Here’s what we can learn about J.R.R. Tolkien’s views of man and government from The Hobbit.

The US doesn’t have a good way of determining who’s poor
Jilly Stephens, Quartz

In New York City—the most expensive city in the US—a two-adult, two-child family is considered poor if it earns less than $30,949 a year. The federal government sets the level at about $23,000.

Popular Pope Francis takes own path in Vatican
David Willey, BBC

In the course of 2014 Pope Francis consolidated his position as one of the most popular pontiffs of modern times, more popular even than the recently-sainted Pope John Paul II.

‘They Are Willing to Die for What Most Christians Are Barely Willing to Live For’
Interview by Kathryn Jean Lopez, The Corner

Heartbreaking is to hear how much some people so desire to pray in their village church again. Not this Christmas. Not with ISIS intent on the extinction of Christianity there.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
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Pope Francis the Economist
Michael Severance, Catholic World Report

The Pope is not interested in validating the right or left on any specific policy, but rather reminding us of more transcendent principles.

Supreme Court to hear ObamaCare subsidy challenge in March
Sarah Ferris, The Hill

The highly anticipated case challenging ObamaCare’s subsidies will officially reach the Supreme Court on March 4. Justices will hear arguments in King v. Burwell in just under three months, according to the court’s schedule posted Monday afternoon.

Selfies, Stewardship, and the Real Meaning of Christmas
Hugh Whelchel, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

A recent ad by the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn shows a young woman taking a selfie. She’s not alone in the picture, though: an image of Jesus is just behind her. A caption at the top of the ad reads, “It’s never just a selfie,” and at the bottom, the diocese bids viewers, “Join us for Christmas.”

10 Ways We Can Remember to Be Christians This Christmas
Kevin DeYoung, The Gospel Coalition

Christmas is almost here. And that means many of us are tired, frazzled, stressed, and busy. The next two weeks will go by in a blur–from family, to church, to food, to family, to football, back to church, back to family, back to food, and then back to work.