Category: PowerLinks

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.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
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Pope in blistering critique of Vatican bureaucrats
Nicole Winfield, Associated Press

Pope Francis issued a blistering critique Monday of the Vatican bureaucracy that serves him, denouncing how some people lust for power at all costs, live hypocritical double lives and suffer from “spiritual Alzheimer’s” that has made them forget they’re supposed to be joyful men of God.

Islamic State: Yazidi women tell of sex-slavery trauma
Paul Wood, BBC

The Yazidi religious minority community in Iraq says 3,500 of its women and girls are still being held by the so-called Islamic State (IS), many being used as sex slaves. A few have managed to escape and here tell their harrowing stories.

A New Model for Helping the Poor
Matt Perman, What’s Best Next

Are there better ways of helping the poor in the medium to long term that go beyond giving things altogether? While giving is important, increasingly organizations are recognizing that the answer is yes.

States embrace religious liberty, spiritual awakening
Tammi Reed Ledbetter, Baptist Press

Still alarmed by subpoenas of sermons and correspondence for pastors who opposed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, resolutions on religious liberty and free speech were passed in more than a dozen state Baptist convention meetings this fall.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, December 22, 2014
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Christians around world under siege
Steve Huntley, Chicago Sun-Times

During this season of joyous religious celebrations and especially the holiday cheer enjoyed with family and friends during Christmas time, we should not forget that in too many corners of the world Christianity is under siege with Christians abused, brutalized and murdered.

How Should Christians Think about Free Markets and Consumerism?
Andrew Spencer, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Critics of the free-market approach sometimes confuse a free-market economic system with consumerism. Consumerism is an attitude that values owning and using stuff.

How crony capitalism is undermining US entrepreneurship and economic growth
James Pethokoukis , AEI Ideas

Fewer startups means less competitive intensity in the economy. And a crony capitalist relationship between business and government could mean fewer startups.

Prudence > Courage
Matthew Lee Anderson, Comment

There may be many ways to do wrong in this world, but there are also many paths to the right; those governed by prudence are willing to at least admit the possibility.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, December 19, 2014
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How Pope Francis’ diplomacy may change everything, not just US-Cuba relations
David Gibson, Religion News Service

Pope Francis is being hailed around the world — and criticized by some in the US — for his pivotal role in brokering the historic breakthrough in relations between Washington and Havana, a role attributed to his background as the first Latin American pope and to the special position he occupies.

Religious Freedom Requires Rights
Greg Forster, Hang Together

Last month I gave a talk at the Evangelical Theological Society in which I defended the idea of human rights – not sham Rawlsian rights but real rights, grounded in objective claims about truth, justice and the nature of the human person. That is, rights as correlative to duties – I have a right to religious freedom because (and only because) I have a duty to worship God sincerely rather than insincerely.

Christmas Is Undefeatable
Mark Tooley, Juicy Ecumenism

A new Pew survey shows overwhelming majorities of Americans believe in the historical actuality of the Christmas story, including the Virgin Birth, the angels appearing to shepherds and the Wise Men following the star to Bethlehem.

What Advent and Interstellar Teach Us about Human Progress
Elise Amyx, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

I’ve always thought human progress to be somewhat of a paradox. The world seems to be getting both better and worse at the same time.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Christianity and American Political Thought
S. Adam Seagrave, Public Discourse

A new book examines the philosophical and religious roots of American government. Amid scholarly disagreement, one thing is clear: America is a nation founded upon the truth of human freedom and equality—whether one arrives at this truth by way of Calvin or Locke.

Black Pastor: Liberalism Is ‘Cancerous And Devastating To The Black Family’
Ginni Thomas, Daily Caller

Jackson calls it “preposterous” that people living in mansions, driving the best cars and eating the best meals would say race relations are worse now than it was for their grandfather. Calling this a “tragic, false message,” he believes it comes as “a result of a kind of spiritual blindness.”

The death of the American family dinner has been greatly exaggerated
Roberto A. Ferdman, Washington Post

Maybe you’ve heard somewhere that no one eats dinner together anymore. There’s even some pushing the idea that instead of scrambling to eat dinner together, families should aim for breakfast. And maybe you believed that family dinners were dead, based on your household’s experience.

Across America, Churches Continue To Struggle For Their Religious Freedom
Alan Sears, Alliance Defending Freedom

People are probably inclined to think more warmly of churches amid the cold winds of Christmas than at any other time of the year, but, sad to say, even the spirit of the season isn’t enough to dissuade some from all out legal assaults on houses of worship.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
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Churches key to combating slavery across the world
Caroline Wyatt, BBC News

The Catholic Church’s role and that of other churches in the UK and abroad is often a practical one, with some helping uncover victims, and then giving them practical support via charities offering safe houses and legal advice.

Vatican probe ends with an olive branch for American nuns
John L. Allen Jr., Crux

An unprecedented and highly controversial Vatican investigation of every community of Catholic sisters in the United States that began with criticism of nuns as having a “secular mentality” ended Tuesday with a report full of praise, and without any disciplinary measures or new controls.

Judge declares Obama immigration action unconstitutional
Lawrence Hurley, Reuters

President Barack Obama’s new plan to ease the threat of deportation for 4.7 million undocumented immigrants violates the U.S. Constitution, a federal judge found on Tuesday, handing down the first legal ruling against the plan.

Police can use evidence seized during mistaken traffic stops, Supreme Court rules
Sam Hananel, Associated Press

Police can use evidence seized during a traffic stop even if it turns out the officers initially pulled a car over based on a misunderstanding of the law, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
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Pope says Salvation Army and Catholics meet at peripheries of society
Vatican Radio

In a first private audience in the Vatican with a Salvation Army general on Friday, Pope Francis said theological differences do not impede the witness of a shared love of God and neighbour.

Church, Immigration, and Nation
John Zmirak, Chronicles

The God Who knows us so well did not make something alien or antihuman as a means of saving us. Instead, He uplifted, transformed, and perfected the institutions by which we relate to our fellow men in our mortal capacity.

Pantagruel Comes for the Establishment Clause
Marc Degirolami, Library of Law and Liberty

Pantagruel is coming for the Establishment Clause. He comes today bearing the standard of equality, and the manifestations of equality that he would have courts superimpose on the Constitution.

Father Christmas Is Now Better Known Than Jesus In China
The Economist

In the first decades of Communist rule in China Christianity was banned, along with other religions. Now there are tens of millions of Christians in China and faiths of all kinds are blossoming.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, December 15, 2014
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What Do Employers Owe Pregnant Employees?
Melissa Langsam Braunstein, Family Studies

To what extent must employers accommodate pregnant workers’ limitations? The Supreme Court is mulling that question.

A New Movement Against Religious Persecution
Jonathan Sacks, Wall Street Journal

My prayer on Hanukkah: For people of all faiths to work together for the freedom of all faiths.

What happened to work in America?
James Pethokoukis, AEI Ideas

The share of American men 25 to 54 years old who are not working has more than tripled since the late 1960s to 16%.

Public Schools and the Wall of Separation
Mark Bauerlein, First Things

The famous phrase “wall of separation of church and state” today enjoys the status of legal precedent, but here’s a curious fact. The phrase comes from the letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Connecticut Baptists who feared that state politicians would suppress them. When the Baptists received the letter, however, they didn’t celebrate and publicize the statement. They didn’t even record it in the minutes of their proceedings. “They pretend it never existed.”

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, December 12, 2014
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7 Books You Need to Read to Craft a Damn Compelling Case for Liberty
Joseph Cunningham, Intercollegiate Review

Want to advance liberty and Western civilization effectively? Here’s how to do it: Go find a giant, and scramble up onto his shoulders. In other words, bring some good books along for the ride, and wear their pages out.

IMF study: ‘No evidence’ high-end income inequality hurts economic growth
James Pethokoukis, AEI Ideas

“In contrast, no evidence is found that those with high incomes pulling away from the rest of the population harms growth.” Don’t be surprised if this finding — which syncs with previous literature — tends to get overlooked.

Seeking to Make a Profit Is an Act of Citizenship. Here’s Why.
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

If you paid attention in eighth grade civics class, you can rattle off the standard list of a citizen’s duties, including voting, obeying laws, becoming informed on pertinent issues, investing in your community, paying taxes, serving a jury panel, or perhaps even defending your country.

Is the Number of States with Right-to-Work Laws About to Grow?
James Sherk, The Daily Signal

Eighteen-year-old Saira Blair recently made history as the youngest person elected to the West Virginia legislature. She may make history again as a lawmaker by securing passage of a right-to-work law.