Category: PowerLinks

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mere Consent and the Abolition of Human Dignity
Francis J. Beckwith, The Catholic Thing

[M]any today are suggesting that when it comes to some of the great moral questions of our time, individual autonomy (or “consent”) is the only principle we need in order to secure all the goods for which more ancient understandings, such as human dignity, have been employed.

Poor Too Often Led The Wrong Way To Escape Poverty
Thomas Sowell, Investor’s Business Daily

Where there is no father in the home, as too often is the case, adolescent boys may choose as models irresponsible people in the world of entertainment or even in the world of crime.

Pope, in Mideast, Stresses Urgency of Solving Crises
Jodi Rudoren, New York Times

Pope Francis called “urgently” on Saturday for a “peaceful solution” to the Syrian crisis and a “just solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as he started a three-day sojourn through the Holy Land at a time of regional turmoil and tension.

Annual Defense Authorization Bill Passes the House with Religious Liberty Provision
Leanna Baumer, FRC Blog

Despite two years of Congressional efforts to affirm a service member’s freedom to practice and express their faith in the military, confusion over the scope of that freedom persists, particularly in the Air Force. Noting that confusion’s detrimental effect on troop morale, Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) introduced an amendment to the House version of the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act which calls upon the Department of Defense and the Air Force to issue clearer regulations regarding religious expression.

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Friday, May 23, 2014

The hardest place on earth to be a Christian
Jesse Johnson, The Cripplegate

While there are many terrible places on earth to be a Christian (Sudan, North Korea, Afghanistan, Bhutan, etc.), Pakistan is arguably the worst. Other nations persecute believers, but in Pakistan the entire country has spent generations forming a world view that values the torturing of those that claim the name of Christ.

Good News for Churches Worried About Losing Their Pastor’s Best Benefit to Atheist Lawsuits
Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, Christianity Today

What a Kentucky court ruling implies for a high-profile Wisconsin challenge to the clergy housing allowance.

Evangelicals, Catholics, and Togetherness
Dale M. Coulter, First Things

I am particularly concerned about the attempt to wed so closely this debate over the nature of the church with religious and political communion. For Catholics and Evangelicals experience a real, albeit imperfect, communion that supplies the theological ground of a shared religious and political communion.

PovertyCure: From Aid to Enterprise
Michael Matheson Miller, Library of Law and Liberty

Can the current model of humanitarian aid generated by networks of large philanthropic foundations, NGOs, and Western governments actually alleviate the poverty of the world’s Bottom Billion, to quote the title of Paul Collier’s book?

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mixing Religion and Economic Disciplines
Cecil Bohanon, Indiana Policy Review

So what role does religion have in a state-run university? What can or should a course outside a religious studies class say about religion? There are two extremes that I think are misguided.

Why Academic Freedom Matters (Now More Than Ever)
Robert George, Intercollegiate Review

From Rutgers to Stanford, opponents of academic freedom are growing bolder by the day. Yet important questions remain unanswered: what is the meaning of academic freedom? Why it is important? How it is achieved?

Work is Good
Owen Strachan, Kern Pastors Network

My life changed in 2005. Why? Was it a major epiphany? Did someone give me a massive sum of money? Did I go on an overseas trip? No, it was a then-unknown show called The Office, and its razor-sharp, low-key-but-hilarious writing.

Look Who’s Defending Washington Cronyism
Genevieve Wood, The Foundry

Supporters of one of Washington’s prime examples of cronyism, the Export-Import Bank, are rolling out the dollars and surveys to make the case that the bank is the “good kind” of corporate welfare (Is there such a thing?). But the sugar-coated rhetoric and selective numbers don’t make a convincing case.

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Wednesday, May 21, 2014

House Passes Bills Aimed at Stemming Human Trafficking
Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times

The House on Tuesday passed a package of bills aimed at stemming human trafficking, an issue that has slowly begun to gain national attention.

After 11 years, states are finally committing to fight prison rape
Dara Lind, Vox

Back in 2003, Congress unanimously passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act — a bill to address a problem that, at the time, was little understood. But after that… nothing much seemed to happen for a while.

Life on the Academic Animal Farm
Robert Oscar Lopez, Public Discourse

Dehumanizing others through censorship does not befit the academy, but the pigpen.

Americans lie about how much they go to church, even if they don’t belong to one
Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post

Less than one-third of phone respondents (30 percent) admitted to attending religious services seldom or never. But online, freed from the normative pressures of interacting with another human being, 43 percent of respondents said they seldom or never went to church. Similarly, online respondents were less likely to say they went to church weekly or occasionally than were phone respondents.

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Russian Orthodox Church the absent player at Pope-Patriarch Jerusalem summit
Tom Heneghan, Reuters

When Pope Francis meets the spiritual head of the world’s Orthodox Christians next week, the speeches and symbolism will focus on how these ancient western and eastern wings of Christianity want to come closer together.

Sudanese Woman Sentenced to Death After Marrying Christian
Barbara Tasch, Time

A pregnant 27-year-old Sudanese woman was sentenced to death by hanging Thursday for apostasy after marrying a Christian man and refusing to convert to Islam. Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag also faces charges of adultery.

To Lift Up the Poor, Must We Soak the Rich?
Ross Douthat, New York Times

Before we talk about significantly expanding our investments in education, elementary and collegiate, how confident should we feel that our existing “investment” in the “future productivity” of the poorest Americans is reaping value-for-the-dollar rewards?

How Much Do Economists Care About Government Failure? Not Much
James M. Roberts, The Foundry

Taylor reports on a recent analysis of 23 leading basic economics textbooks by public-choice economists Jim Gwartney and Rosemarie Fike that “reveals huge differences in the coverage of government failure versus market failure.”

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Monday, May 19, 2014

The 8 worst places in the world to be religious
Daniel Burke, CNN

Among the most worrying trends, according to the State Department, are “authoritarian governments that restrict their citizens’ ability to practice their religion.”

Swiss Voters Defeat $24.65 Minimum Wage by a Wide Margin
Melissa Eddy, New York Times

The proposed rate — considerably higher than elsewhere in Europe and more than double the $10.10 President Obama has sought in the United States — found little support in a national referendum, with 76.3 percent opposed, according to initial results released by the government.

What Does Religion Look Like in Prison?
Casey N. Cep, Pacific Standard

Ex-Catholics, atheists, Cherokees, Lakotas, Lutherans, and Wiccans all make an appearance in Joshua Dubler’s Down in the Chapel.

Please, Leave the Hagia Sophia Alone
Wesley J. Smith, First Things

Turkey’s Islamist government threatens to destroy Hagia Sophia’s crucial “neutral” status. ANSAmed reports that the government plans to turn the former basilica into a mosque in the afternoon and evening, while allowing it to remain a museum during morning hours.

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Friday, May 16, 2014

Kasper versus Kasper
Samuel Gregg, Crisis Magazine

Book-tours can be risky affairs. There’s always the chance you’ll say something during your tenth radio interview of the day which you retrospectively wish you’d phrased differently. Then there’s the possibility you’ll play up to a live audience and make some truly imprudent comments.

U.S. Jews vs. U.S. Christianity
Dennis Prager, Jewish Journal

It’s not something that Americans mention in public. And it may not even be something many note in private. But a Jew writing in a Jewish journal ought to point out a fact that, no matter how much ignored, is significant.

Sudan judge sentences Christian woman to death
Sydney Morning Herald

A Sudanese judge on Thursday sentenced a Christian woman to hang for apostasy, despite appeals by Western embassies for compassion and respect for religious freedom.

The Discipline of Matrimony in the Orthodox Church
Metropolitan Jonah, Juicy Ecumenism

In the Orthodox Church the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is seen as an ascetic discipline. Matrimony is one of the two paths given and sanctified by the Church as a means of working out one’s salvation; the other is monasticism.

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Thursday, May 15, 2014

Religious Persecution: Our Silence is Deafening
Ken Connor, Christian Post

The recent kidnappings in Nigeria by the Islamic militant group Boka Haram has cast the issue of religious persecution – of Christians in particular – into the spotlight, and begs the question: Why have American Christians been so silent on the subject of religious persecution of their spiritual brethren around the world?

How the student loan debt bubble hurts the poor
Kevin Glass, Hot Air

Even if we assume that defaults are spread evenly across the income groups, a default is worse for a student in a low-income group than in the higher-income groups by mere fact that a student loan comprises a higher percentage of their assets than otherwise.

Advancing Economic Freedom: An Antidote to Boko Haram
Anthony B. Kim, The Foundry

Advancing economic freedom that leads to more inclusive growth and dynamic job creation is indispensable in ensuring greater and securer futures of Nigeria as well as the continent as a whole.

Florida Couple Fined, Threatened with Jail for Feeding Homeless
Bill Briggs, NBC News

A Florida couple who retired from their management jobs to care for the poor vowed Monday to wage a tenacious legal fight days after being fined more than $300 each for violating a local law.

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Patriarch says he will discuss Middle East Christians with pope
Francis X. Rocca, Catholic News Service

When Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople meets Pope Francis in Jerusalem May 25, one of their main discussion topics will be the “diminishing Christian minorities in the Middle East,” the patriarch told Catholic News Service.

What Subway Teaches Us About the Minimum Wage
Amy Otto, The Federalist

Minimum Wage increases not only hurt the poor and consumers, it insulates big business from new competition.

The Spiritual Reflection of Economic Inequality
David Cowan, The Center for Christian Business Ethics

The more who strive the more we will see economic change for the better, it will be part of the measured economic output. However, the economy will only measure and reflect this, it will not make it happen.

How Jesus’s Work Influenced His Teaching
Klaus Issler, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Jesus was a shrewd observer of life, offering wisdom gleaned from birds, flowers, and the weather. Last week we explored Jesus’ work experience – perhaps his time in the workforce also provided insights that he included in his parables.

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Africa’s Richest Man, Aliko Dangote, to Fight Boko Haram With $2.3B Investment in Northern Nigeria
Leonardo Blair, The Christian Post

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man and the world’s 24th richest person, with an estimated net worth of $24.5 billion according to Forbes, plans to fight militant Islamist group Boko Haram in northern Nigeria with a $2.3 billion investment in the rice and sugar industries.

C.S. Lewis and the Science of Obamacare
John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist

“I believe in God, but I detest theocracy,” wrote C.S. Lewis. “For every Government consists of mere men and is, strictly viewed, a makeshift; if it adds to its commands ‘Thus saith the Lord’, it lies, and lies dangerously.”

How Far School Choice Policies Have Come in Two Decades
Lindsey Burke, The Foundry

It’s amazing how far school choice options have come in a little more than two decades.

Boko Haram and the Return of the Nigerian Slave Trade
Geoffrey Clarfield, New English Review

Given the extreme violence and the high death toll of Islamic uprisings in places like Syria and Iraq, the Western public has become accustomed to hearing about an ebb and flow of religiously inspired massacres, but it is the proud slaving propensities of Boko Haram that are a shock to the news reading public and, the fact that they openly boast about it. There is more to this story than meets the eye.