An excellent reflection on the role of Christianity and its relation to political loyalties from Joe Carter at the evangelical outpost. The key conclusion: “As a fellow traveler of the GOP, I find myself walking side by side with the party toward the same goals. But at other times our paths will diverge and I must follow where my conscience as a Christian conservative leads me. After all, to stand with Christ means that I can’t always stand with the Republican Party.”
Rev. Robert Sirico spoke with Frank Beckmann today on Detroit-based WJR about faith and politics, emphasizing the proper role of religion in society as providing a solid moral foundation with which to approach political, social, economic decisions. Sirico also talks with the emergence of what Pope Benedict XVI refers to as the dictatorship of relativism – an idea which views the expression of religion as an impedance on liberty – and suggests an understanding of the integration between faith and politics as an integration of ideas, not as an institutional combination of politics and the church. As an example, Sirico describes our responsibility to the poor as a cultural mandate, not as a beaurocratic process as the religious left might suggest.
A story in the Sunday New York Times highlighted the move of the undergraduate library at the University of Texas at Austin to a predominantly electronic collection. While common reference materials like dictionaries will remain in hard copy, all other stacks of books “will be dispersed to other university collections to clear space for a 24-hour electronic information commons, a fast-spreading phenomenon that is transforming research and study on campuses around the country.”
A post by Leslie Sillars over at Signs of the Times takes ABC’s show, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” to task. His difficulty, essentially, is this:
is this charity in any reasonable sense of the word? It looks like the best kind of charity—unmerited favor for someone in need, out of the blue—yet, ABC makes buckets of money on the program, Sears and the other sponsors get loads of exposure, and Ty and the rest of them are portrayed as angels of mercy (never mind their salaries). Yet, what does it cost them? In the context of what it costs to produce a hit network series, $200,000 is chicken feed.
Are we supposed to then believe that the participants of the show are being exploited? Their situation seems roughly comparable to that of college athletes in major sports. A similar argument is put forth in that context, in that schools make millions off the players, while they get “just” a college education out of the deal.
In his “Bad Economics, Bad Public Policy and Bad Theology,” columnist Raymond Keating makes the case on OrthodoxyToday.org that the Religious Left offers “assorted biblical passages that speak of aiding the poor, the necessity for charity and justice, or other vague generalities, and then simply assert that these quotations support the particulars of their big government philosophy. Of course, this ranks as either ignorant or disingenuous from a theological standpoint.”
Today’s Christian Science Monitor has a story on the increasing use of micro-loans by Christian aid and development groups. According to the story, “Religious organizations are increasingly adopting the Talmudic sentiment that the noblest form of charity is helping others to dispense with it.”