Category: PowerLinks

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
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Pope Francis: The blood of murdered Copts a “witness that cries out”
Vatican Radio

Pope Francis on Monday denounced the murder of 21 Coptic Christians by ISIL militants in Libya. The Islamist terrorist organization released a video of the killings on Sunday.

Frank Wolf Calls for Safe Haven for Mideast Christians
Timothy C. Morgan and Ruth Moon, Christianity Today

Former congressman offers six-point plan. But killing continues as ISIL-linked terrorists behead 21 Christians in Libya.

What ISIS Really Wants
Graeme Wood, The Atlantic

The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.

These Letters Offer a Window into George Washington’s Views on Religious Liberty
Daniel Dreisbach , Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

We live in a time when religious liberty is more threatened than at any time in living memory. While courts and commentators turn frequently to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison for insights on religious liberty and the constitutional role of religion in public life, largely ignored is the counsel of our first president, George Washington.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
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Turkey’s mosque-building diplomacy
Thomas Seibert, Al Monitor

Turkey is running a state-sponsored program to build mosques in countries from Kazakhstan to Cuba, which some say prevents more radical groups to gain power and is widening Turkey’s global influence.

How the Welfare State Penalizes Parents Who Marry
Robert Rector, The Daily Signal

Fifty-one years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the War on Poverty. Since then, taxpayers have spent more than $22 trillion fighting Johnson’s war, three times the cost of all military wars in U.S. history.

The myth that there are more black men in prison than in college, debunked in one chart
Jenée Desmond-Harris, Vox

The statistic almost instantly became a talking point. It was often deployed by those who wanted to explain just how dire racial disparities in the United States were, and how desperately the situation facing black men needed attention and intervention.

Response to a question on vocation discernment
James Chastek, Just Thomism

One response to this confusion is the idea of vocation discernment. This can mean more than one thing, but in practice it seems to involve praying for a special revelation about God’s plan for your life.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, February 16, 2015
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A Trap Set for Catholic Conservatives
Austin Ruse, Crisis Magazine

Influential Catholics—many of them supporters of Barack Obama—are advancing a proposition that may have the result of sullying the reputations of Catholic conservatives and those Catholics arguing for a robust market economy.

Challenges Facing Low-Income Individuals and Families in Today’s Economy
W. Bradford Wilcox, Family Studies

Lower-income Americans are less likely to enjoy the advantages linked with being part of a stable, married family.

GOP congressman introduces bill to stop feds from watching porn on taxpayer’s dime
Sarah Westwood, Washington Examiner

The Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act aptly shares its initials with the government agency that drew attention to the problem of staff watching pornographic videos at work, the Environmental Protection Agency.

Bill to let college clubs pick leaders’ religion fails
Joey Bunch, Denver Post

A bill in the Colorado legislature that would have allowed religious clubs on the state’s college campuses to set rules on faith for its leaders died on a party-line vote in a House committee Monday.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, February 13, 2015
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Jails Have Become Warehouses for the Poor, Ill and Addicted, a Report Says
Timothy Williams, New York Times

Jails across the country have become vast warehouses made up primarily of people too poor to post bail or too ill with mental health or drug problems to adequately care for themselves, according to a report issued Wednesday.

European Baptists Appeal to Russian, Ukrainian Baptists
Paul Hobson, Ethics Daily

The European Baptist Federation (EBF) has challenged Russian and Ukrainian Baptist leaders to issue a joint statement calling for peace while acknowledging their differences.

Vatican’s economic reform on track despite some resistance
Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

As fresh economic reforms begin to take hold throughout the Vatican, the Council for the Economy has faced some resistance from larger offices that had been used to having greater autonomy, said a cardinal member of the council.

An Faq With Robert P. George On The Moral Purposes Of Law And Governement
Justin Taylor, The Gospel Coalition

Several years ago First Things published an essay entitled “Law and Moral Purpose” by Robert P. George, Princeton University’s McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, February 12, 2015
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Grandfather’s body could be exhumed after relatives of Muslim buried alongside complain he was an unbeliever
Gregory Walton, The Telegraph

Local authority in Leicestershire tells the family of Shadrack Smith, 89, he might be moved to another plot after complaints from a Muslim family.

Study Claims Oil Divestiture May Hurt College Endowments
John Schwartz, New York Times

Universities that decide to shed their investments in fossil fuel stocks could hurt the value of their endowments, according to a new report.

American labor-union strikes are almost completely extinct
Matt Phillips, Quartz

In 2014, there were only 11 strikes or lockouts in the US involving more than 1,000 workers. That was down from 15 the previous year, and tied for the second-lowest total on record, according to just-released numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Are Christ and Christianity Coercive? A Christian Economist’s Perspective
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

While Christianity is not coercive in that Christ tells us to give of our wealth others without cause, many shy away from Christianity because the choice between Christ and hell seems manipulative at best and malicious at worst.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
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Pope Francis: A Christian who does not protect creation ‘does not care about the work of God’
David Gibson, Religion News Service

If you are a Christian, protecting the environment is part of your identity, not an ideological option, Pope Francis said Monday

Bakers Who Declined Service to Same-Sex Couple Found to Violate Anti-Discrimination Law
Kelsey Harkness, The Daily Signal

The owners of an Oregon bakery who declined to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding celebration were found guilty last week of violating the state’s anti-discrimination law.

Prison for children ‘may increase risk’ they will commit sex offences
BBC

Imprisoning young offenders may make it more likely that they will commit sex offences, according to a study set up by the Howard League for Penal Reform.

Christian Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Modern State
Donald Devine, Library of Law and Liberty

It takes one cool academic to sort through the morass of relationships between Christians and Jews over time. Sara Lipton, historian at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, might just be up to the job. Her book Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Jewish Iconography looks at all surviving pictorial representations of Jews across European history to evaluate at least elite views of this relationship.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
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How Economic Freedom Reduces Poverty
Kim Holmes, The Daily Signal

Suppose someone told you there were over two decades of economic data showing the secret of success for every nation in the world and that a Nobel laureate in economics inspired the methodology that was used to analyze that data. Would you sit up and listen?

Pope Francis faces a big week in his effort to reform the Vatican
David Gibson, Religion News Service

Pope Francis has begun what could be a key week for his reformist papacy, starting with meetings with his hand-picked kitchen cabinet of nine senior cardinals, who are developing plans to overhaul the Roman Curia, the papal civil service that has been plagued with crisis and dysfunction.

Five Bleak Facts on Black Opportunity
Richard V. Reeves and Edward Rodrigue , Brookings

In terms of opportunity, there are still two Americas, divided by race. Five facts show how far we still have to go.

Many states have cracked down on payday loans. Here’s how lenders still get away with it.
Jeff Guo, Washington Post

Payday lenders are a slippery bunch. In recent years, several states have passed laws curtailing these kinds of loans, which often charge triple-digit interest rates and tend to be a last resort for the poor

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, February 9, 2015
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Sub-Saharan Africa Is Struggling to Achieve Economic and Democratic Freedom
Daniel Patrick Shaffer, The Daily Signal

Two new reports show that Africa still has significant room for improvement in the areas of economic and democratic freedom.

Francis to Become the First Pope to Address Joint Session of Congress
Michael Gryboski, Christian Post

The head of the one billion-member Roman Catholic Church will address a joint session of the U.S. Congress later this year. For the first time in history, a pope will come before both houses of Congress and give an address to the legislative body.

The Competition Myth
Peter Thiel, Intercollegiate Review

If I could go back and give advice to my younger self, it might be this: Competition is for losers.

The Reality of Persecution
Philip Jenkins, Patheos

Not just were these mass persecutions on exactly the lines that Candida Moss dismisses as mythical in the West, but they were very specifically religious, undertaken by adherents of Religion X because of its theologically motivated loathing of Religion Y.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, February 6, 2015
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The Privilege of Freedom
Daniel Hannan, Intercollegiate Review

My friend told me something about the visit that I had never considered before. He said, “You know, the Holy Father never once directly criticized the Communist authorities. He didn’t have to. He just offered something better.” That, I think, should be the creed of conservatives: Just offer something better.

We need to reward work, not just make it more miserable to be unemployed or poor
James Pethokoukis, AEI Ideas

One government program that many conservatives like — especially vs. the minimum wage — is the Earned Income Tax Credit, the federal subsidy for low-income, working households.

Onward, Christian Health Care?
Molly Worthen, New York Times

Could this model scale up? These ministries seem to achieve a remarkable level of member satisfaction, even if they sometimes must portion out reimbursements when the bills outstrip monthly contributions.

The FCC’s chairman just proposed the strongest network neutrality rules yet
Timothy B. Lee, Vox

Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, just announced new regulations that will provide strong protections for network neutrality.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, February 5, 2015
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Can Mobile Banking Revolutionize The Lives Of The Poor?
Ben Popper, The Verge

We’re excited to have Bill Gates as our guest editor in February. Throughout the month, Bill will be sharing his vision of how technology will revolutionize life for the world’s poor by 2030 by narrating episodes of the Big Future, our animated explainer series.

Prisoner beards and religious freedoms — what a recent Supreme Court decision means for you
Hannah Smith, Becket Fund

Late last month, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a unanimous victory for religious freedom in Holt v. Hobbs. It held that a federal civil rights statute requires prison officials to accommodate peaceful expressions of religious devotion, an issue arising from a dispute between a bearded Muslim inmate (named Holt) and the Arkansas Department of Correction.

Can Politics be a Vocation? Three Lessons on the Virtues of Good Government
Mary Ann Glendon, Abc Religion And Ethics

Cicero, like Edmund Burke and Vaclav Havel, understood that the everyday work of politics is a crucial part of what determines whether all other components of dignified living will flourish.

Pope declares Oscar Romero, hero to liberation theology, a martyr
Inés San Martín, Crux

Marking an end to one of the most divisive debates in Catholicism in the past 35 years, Pope Francis has officially declared the late Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero a martyr, clearing the way for eventually proclaiming him a saint.