Archived Posts November 2006 - Page 7 of 10 | Acton PowerBlog

One thing that President Bush’s formation of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives did was lead the way for the formation of similar offices at various other levels of government.

For example, in Michigan, Gov. Granholm formed the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives by means of an executive order in March, 2005. And the city government in Lansing also has such an office, formed in August of this year, and has recently announced the agenda for the effort (HT: Religion Clause).

If David Kuo wants to portray the president’s faith-based initiative as nothing more than a political ploy with no substance, he’s going to have to account for all the work that is potentially being done at all these other levels of government. (I say potentially because there are of course questions about how these efforts have been implemented and what sort of work they are actually doing.)

Perhaps the formation of such community and faith-based offices at other levels were unintended by the Bush campaign, but even so they now mean that the work of governmental faith-based initiatives is no longer simply identical and coextensive with that of the White House office.

Blog author: jspalink
Wednesday, November 8, 2006

How can developing countries best compete in a global economy? Humberto Belli, president of Ave Maria College of the Americas in Nicaragua, points to the power of education and human resources. In many cases, poorer countries have a long way to go. “This imbalance in the development of human resources, if not corrected, will negatively impact many countries, impeding them from enjoying the benefits of globalization,” Belli writes.

Read the commentary here.

Was anyone else thinking of this when they voted yesterday?

The most memorable quote? “Go ahead, throw your vote away!” Second best? “These candidates make me want to vomit in terror.”

The episode “Treehouse of Horror VII” originally aired on October 27, 1996. Some things are just perennially true.

Blog author: jballor
Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Strong claims coming from Sam at the Philanthropy in Culture, Education, Entrepreneurship blog:

The Charity model does not work – Fact. Time to move on. Responsible, accountable, dignified, respectable investment will liberate the developing world. Inventing a new model for the philanthropic space is not necessary. There is one already in existence – the business model. Change comes about through those who are bold and fearless, constantly innovating on a daily basis, questioning, re-inventing out dated methodologies. Trends suggest partnerships between business and NGO, sharing expertise to deliver lasting, viable solutions – a potent combination.

I guess it depends on what you mean by “the charity model,” but this strikes me as a false dichotomy. Why not both vibrant charity and vigorous commercial investment? Or is that what Sam is arguing for?

Blog author: jcouretas
Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Over at NRO, Jerry Bowyer looks at the left’s use of Scripture and Biblical history in making its case for higher taxes.

It’s hard to believe that recent attacks on the religious right in America are attacks on wealth itself. Where would the Left be if George Soros had sold all his possessions and given those proceeds to the poor? Where would John Kerry be if Henry John Heinz had done the same a hundred years ago?

It seems more likely that many of Bush’s American critics are not really calling for the elimination of all wealth accumulation, but more likely using (or misusing) these passages for their rhetorical value in a battle over the president’s tax cuts. I’m afraid, however, that the Biblical tradition offers no more succor to opponents of tax cuts than it does to opponents of wealth in general.

Read “The Gospel According to St. Marx.”

Blog author: kwoods
Tuesday, November 7, 2006

If David Kuo is disillusioned about the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives — or about anything else, really — he’ll need to stand in line. And I say that with no malice toward him or suspicion about his sincerity. Disillusion is part of the human condition. Yes, we’re created in the image likeness of God. Yet we are all people who by commission or omission disappoint our fellow human beings.

Kuo states: “I don’t know how anyone could be a Christian in politics and not be moved to think about matters of economic justice and social justice and racial justice.” A key error here is to equate keen Christian concern with government solutions for all of these problems. For all the flurry surrounding Kuo’s book, though, his isn’t a new observation. In 1999, Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson wrote Blinded by Might. They make this piercing statement in the epilogue: “Our primary problems are not economic and political. They are moral and spiritual and cannot be resolved solely through politics.” Perhaps the source of Kuo’s disillusion is not so much failure to honor the faith while doing the politics but the failure to realistically understand the people who work in both fields.

People who work in the West Wing, in Congress, in the media, in churches, anywhere — down to our own families and neighbors — ALL will eventually be the SOURCE of another’s disillusionment. Some just get more press than the rest of us.

Some work against it more than others; many make no pretense of caring. Even those who strive for the honorable still fall. Ted Haggard’s friends and flock are no more disappointed than King David’s subjects were when his immoral choices were revealed (2 Samuel, chapters 11 and 12).

The issue is not IF we will disappoint and suffer the same, but rather how and when — great men and women included. The issue is what will we do subsequent to such failings. David Kuo recommended a “two year fast from politics.” The impact of that recommendation in times of national and worldwide upheaval is at the least irresponsible. As Marvin Olasky noted, “… the irony of Kuo’s critique of political idolatry is that, if followed fully, it would increase the power of those who are the most idolatrous. If the saints go marching out, others will march in unimpeded.”

Political idolatry and the risk that people of faith have of being used by politicians is a non-partisan phenomenon; since the so-called values vote was underscored in the 2004 election, both parties have been scrambling to attract followers of the Faith-Based Initiatives. But there just isn’t enough righteous rhetoric to avoid disillusion.

Mark Early, president of Prison Fellowship, provided a realistic alternative to the political fast. His “Purists and Politics” commentary encouraged all voters to look for the best candidate among the field. Do your homework to make that choice responsibly. Look for the honorable leader, not the perfect one.

Dr. Evan Offstein’s new book, Stand Your Ground argues that honorable leaders don’t search for excuses. Instead, they search for more responsibility. They want to be held accountable for their decisions and actions.

November 7, 2006, presents us with a good opportunity for a fast — but not the reclusive one that Kuo and now others have latched on to for yet another round of political one-upsmanship. Instead of taking time for food today, take that time to do what you can to elect honorable leaders, those who have worked to make themselves accountable in their actions before they asked for your vote.

Blog author: jspalink
Tuesday, November 7, 2006

In response to Sir Nicholas Stern’s cost/benefit analysis of dealing with climate change, Christopher Monckton, former adviser to Margaret Thatcher and journalist, has published an article (a second will be published next week) and what looks like a very long, researched and documented paper [pdf] explaining why the “consensus” regarding global warming is not correct. Here is a summary of his argument:

All ten of the propositions listed below must be proven true if the climate-change “consensus” is to be proven true. The first article considers the first six of the listed propositions and draws the conclusions shown. The second article will consider the remaining four propositions.

  1. That the debate is over and all credible climate scientists are agreed. False
  2. That temperature has risen above millennial variability and is exceptional. Very unlikely
  3. That changes in solar irradiance are an insignificant forcing mechanism. False
  4. That the last century’s increases in temperature are correctly measured. Unlikely
  5. That greenhouse-gas increase is the main forcing agent of temperature. Not proven
  6. That temperature will rise far enough to do more harm than good. Very unlikely
  7. That continuing greenhouse-gas emissions will be very harmful to life. Unlikely
  8. That proposed carbon-emission limits would make a definite difference. Very unlikely
  9. That the environmental benefits of remediation will be cost-effective. Very unlikely
  10. That taking precautions, just in case, would be the responsible course. False

While I tend to disbelieve the general “consensus” that our world is warming at exceptional rates, sea levels will rise twenty feet, and we’re all going to die in 50 years because we didn’t ratify Kyoto, I do think it’s generally good stewardship to try not to pollute and to take responsibility for the pollution that we put into the air, water and land.

Anyhow, read the article, and let us know if you share Monckton’s skepticism, or if you are unpersuaded by his analysis.