Category: PowerLinks

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
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Rogue pastors endorse candidates, but IRS looks away
Rachel Bade, Politico

A record number of rogue Christian pastors are endorsing candidates from the pulpit this election cycle, using Sunday sermons to defiantly flout tax rules. Their message to the IRS: Sue me.

Surrogacy and Christian Compassion
Kristin Larson, Juicy Ecumenism

Despite appearing to be “pro-life,” surrogacy commodifies human life by using a woman’s body to create and carry a child that she is legally obligated to give away.

What is the Church’s Political Role?
James Kalb, Crisis Magazine

For more than 1500 years the Church was a major influence on Western politics. That is how it should be. Ultimate standards matter, and if the Church doesn’t explain what they are and how to apply them someone else will.

Should the Supreme Court get involved in church property disputes?
Lyle Denniston, Constitution Daily

The governing arrangements of religious denominations often reflect matters of faith or doctrine, and those may conflict with principles of property law.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
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Episcopal Church in Michigan passes gun resolution
Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press

By a clear majority, members of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan … voted recently to approve a resolution calling for universal background checks on all gun purchases, banning all sales of semiautomatic weapons, high-impact ammunition, high-capacity ammunition magazines, and making gun trafficking a federal crime.

Cracks in the atheist edifice
The Economist

The rapid spread of Christianity in China is forcing an official rethink on religion.

New HHS rules violate religious liberty
Tom Strode, Baptist Press

The Obama administration’s latest rules for its abortion/contraception mandate fail to resolve religious liberty concerns and should be scrapped, Southern Baptists’ lead ethicist Russell D. Moore has told the federal government.

Academic Freedom, Religious Institutions, and the State
Daniel Kuebler, Public Discourse

Government funding of education should not be tied to the beliefs of unaccountable academics. Public support for education should empower students and parents, and the choices they make.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, November 3, 2014
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Interview with an Islamic State Recruiter: ‘Democracy Is For Infidels’
Interview Conducted by Hasnain Kazim, Spiegel Online

How does Islamic State think? How do its followers see the world? Spiegel Online met up with an Islamic State recruiter in Turkey to hear about the extremist group’s vision for the future.

Houston’s Sermon Subpoenas Represent A Legal Opportunity For Religious Liberty Advocates
Leslie Loftis, The Federalist

Houston’s subpoenas of sermons are an opportunity to restrain the IRS’s decades of political persecution.

Segregated Surveys: How Politics Keeps Evangelicals White
Ruth Moon, Christianity Today

You can disbelieve in God, never go to church, and still identify as “evangelical” in most polls. But if you’re black and evangelical, you literally don’t count.

Five Ways Christians Can Increase Income Mobility
Manuel Salazar, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Over the past few years there has been much discussion about reducing poverty and increasing income mobility (also referred to as economic or social mobility) in the United States, but few viable solutions have been offered which can actually improve this important economic measure for individuals and families.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, October 31, 2014
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The Big Role of Black Churches in Two Senate Races
Nate Cohn, New York Times

Early voting on Sundays has been one of the biggest fronts in the voting wars of recent years. Some of this past Sunday’s early voting numbers make the reason quite clear.

The Last Thing We Should Do Right Now Is Raise The Minimum Wage
Andrew Quinn, The Federalist

Our economy’s urgent moral crisis is not insufficient returns from full-time work. It is insufficient access to full-time work.

Does the Church Favor Capitalism and Democracy?
Anthony Santelli, Crisis Magazine

The popes did consistently reject socialism and give better remarks for what is often called democratic capitalism. But we need to look more specifically at what the popes really praised.

Study: Competition from Uber and Lyft Helps the Poor
Josh Peterson, The Daily Signal

Low fares of competing taxi and ridesharing services mean better service for low-income communities, according to a study published Tuesday.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, October 30, 2014
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4 of Christianity’s Biggest Financial Blunders
Dave Albertson, On Faith

The Christian church has made some world-changing mistakes with money.

India’s charities tackle poverty through business
BBC

The Society for Child Development, which runs this programme, says the process does not just reduce waste but creates livelihoods. It says charity is not a solution. What they look for is a market to sell their goods.

Minimum wage, maximum damage
Iain Murray and Ryan Young, Washington Examiner

The overwhelming majority of empirical studies into the effects of the minimum wage find that it erodes employment.

If You Care About The Poor, Care About Marriage
Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist

If you care about the poor, you need to start caring much more about marriage culture. The growing marriage divide is a major source of social and economic inequality, and is one largely unnoticed force eroding the American Dream. That’s the sobering message of a new report on economic success and marriage decline.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
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Is Next Step in War on Religious Liberty Inspection of Religious Schools? That’s Happening in the UK
Genevieve Wood, The Daily Signal

In the name of tolerance, religious schools (to date, Christian and Jewish schools) in the UK are being “inspected” and in the case of one school, “downgraded,” for violating new education department guidelines the government there refers to as “British values.”

China Moves to Enact Rule of Law, With Caveats
Andrew Jacobs and Chris Buckley, New York Times

Communist Party leaders, seeking to address widespread dissatisfaction with China’s politicized and corrupt judiciary, endorsed a raft of legal changes on Thursday to foster a more predictable legal system while keeping the courts under the firm control of the party.

How Does Religion Influence Family Formation Decisions?
Maria E. Kaufmann, Family Studies

It takes a complex of religious factors—like fervor and community religiosity—to influence family formation practices.

The Wisdom of Peter Thiel
Mark Bauerlein, First Things

When God and his Word disappear from public life, the human community takes their place and supplies all us with its own values, norms, beliefs, and aims. The outcome isn’t a vibrant humanism. No, Thiel concludes, “We lose the freedom to think for ourselves.”

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
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Let’s Talk About How Islam Has Been Hijacked
Aly Salem, Wall Street Journal

I’m appalled by what is done in the name of my religion. Yet my American friends don’t want to hear it.

How Churches Should NOT Address Political Issues
John Lomperis, Juicy Ecumenism

What are good and bad ways for a church or denomination to officially address political issues?

Will The Real Government Crony Please Stand Up?
Ilya Shapiro, The Federalist

A North Carolina court case involving pushy dentists showcases how bad laws let some people employ government power to block entrepreneurs.

Judge Sides With IRS, Dismisses Lawsuits by Conservative Groups Over Targeting Scandal
Melissa Quinn, The Daily Signal

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., sided today with the Internal Revenue Service and dismissed lawsuits by tea party organizations seeking redress for improper delays and scrutiny of their applications for tax-exempt status.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, October 27, 2014
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Religious Sanctimony in Ferguson
Mark Tooley, The American Spectator

How nice of them to offer forgiveness to police they’ve already convicted.

Criminalizing the Hands That Feed the Homeless
Matt Schiavenza, The Atlantic

More cities are trying to stop residents and food pantries from helping people secure a hot meal.

Shock! Farm Bill Boondoggle Already Bigger than Politicians, Media Promised
Scott Lincicome, The Federalist

You’ll never believe it, you guys. The 2014 Farm Bill could – and I know, this is gonna sound crazy – impose more harm on US taxpayers and consumers than our political and media elite promised us just a few months ago.

Three Views: Do the Common Core Education Standards Endanger Religious Freedom?
Kevin Theriot, Karen Swallow Prior, Kristen Blair, Christianity Today

Why a nationwide standard for classrooms may cause concern.

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, October 24, 2014
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Russian monks set up mozzarella factory amid Putin’s Italian food ban
The Independent

Monks living in a remote monastery on an island in Russia have set up a mozzarella factory to supply the country with the cheese after Vladimir Putin’s government banned the import of Italian food.

USAID Shows Commitment to Democracy by Covering Up Failures
Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest

It’s long been clear that the U.S. Agency for International Development’s “pro-democracy” spending in many countries in the wider Middle East has been a boondoggle and a flop. Now it turns out that the agency’s acting Inspector General tried to cover that failure up.

It’s time for Americans to stop giving their junk to the poor
Kristen Welch, Quarz

Why do we give others—often those in service to the poor or the poor themselves—something we wouldn’t keep or give ourselves?

Five Factors Impacting Poverty Today
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Flourishing requires faithfulness. We’re designed to be in relationship with our Creator, and marriage mirrors this intimacy. On a more mundane level, marriage allows a couple to share the burdens of daily life and of raising children.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Religious Liberty and the Bullies
Jim Tonkowich, Juicy Ecumenism

I strongly suspect that “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious” is just what those demands were intended to be with a great big side order of intimidating.

Hong Kong has too many poor people to allow direct elections, leader says
Heather Timmons, Quartz

Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement protesters have been demanding that the city’s top official, CY Leung, step down for weeks now. They may soon be joined by many more of the city’s 7 million residents, after a controversial interview last night in which Leung suggested that election reforms sought by the protestors would invite undue influence from the city’s poor.

Forced labor in America: Thousands of workers are being held against their will
Dara Lind, Vox

There are thousands of immigrants working in forced labor in the United States — lured into the country by false promises and then trapped or threatened by their employers so that they’re unable to leave.

Indiana to Start Requiring Food Stamp Recipients Work, Be in Job Training, Or Job Hunting
Kate Scanlon, The Daily Signal

Next spring, thousands could be cut from Indiana’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Indiana has previously waived the federal requirement that SNAP recipients are either employed, actively seeking employment or in training for future employment.