Archived Posts October 2012 - Page 9 of 12 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
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Religious Freedom at the Ballot Box
Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary

Just as significant [as the HHS mandate] is a referendum battle in Florida that will not only help determine the future of religious liberty in this country, but whether we are capable of facing up to our troubled past.

The Four Twisted Truths of Marx
Elise Amyx, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

The father of communism, Karl Marx, announced his object in life was to “dethrone God and destroy capitalism”. If Marx really wanted to dethrone God, shouldn’t it be disturbing that some Christians support his ideology?

In Texas, Cheerleaders’ Signs of Faith at Issue
Manny Fernandez, New York Times

School district officials ordered the cheerleaders to stop putting Bible verses on the banners, because they believed doing so violated the law on religious expression at public school events.

What Kills Small Businesses? Let’s Ask Them
Ron Faucheux, The Atlantic

Burdensome government regulations and a hyperactive legal culture topped the list of scourges in this new survey.

David Brooks recently took on the conservative movement for relying too heavily on pro-market arguments and tired formulas rather than emphasizing its historic features of custom, social harmony, and moral preservation.

As I’ve already noted in response to the Brooks piece, I agree that conservatism needs a renewed intellectual foundation brought about by a return to these emphases, yet I disagree that a lopsided devotion to “economic freedom” is what’s stalling us. If we hope to restore traditionalist conservatism, we’d do well to recognize that this means restoring economic conservatism along with it. Brooks is upset that dogmatic pro-market folks have seized the Republican Party, yet this is the same Republican Party that nominated the architect of Romneycare and can’t seem to get serious about the deficit.

Conservatism is faltering all around, and the reasons for each “sect’s” demise are more or less interrelated. As I’ve written elsewhere, we need to restore a holistic conservative imagination that ties its social and economic strains together by grounding them both in Russell Kirk’s “enduring moral order.”

For David Brooks, restoration is all about “balance,” but for the true conservative, it needs to be about integration.
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At an Acton Institute event on Oct. 3 in Grand Rapids, Mich., Amway President Doug DeVos delivered a talk on ‘Free Enterprise and the Entrepreneurial Spirit’ to an audience of 200 people. He was introduced by the Rev. Robert A. Sirico, president and co-founder of the Acton Institute.

See the Grand Rapids Press/MLive coverage of the event in “Read Doug DeVos’ take on Amway, the presidential race and Dwight Howard leaving the Orlando Magic” by reporter Shandra Martinez.

DeVos’ Amway bio:

Doug DeVos oversees daily operations of the company and shares Amway’s Office of the Chief Executive with chairman Steve Van Andel. Since 1986, DeVos has spent his career building enthusiasm for the Amway business. His belief in its ability to foster entrepreneurs around the world is reflected in the company’s record of sales growth during his time as president, since 2002.

He also has helped Amway grow into one of the world’s most international enterprises. DeVos has also served in various leadership positions in Asia, Europe and the Americas. DeVos is the youngest son of Amway co-founder Rich DeVos. In 1959, Rich DeVos and his lifelong friend and business partner, Jay Van Andel, started Amway from their homes in Ada, Mich. (more…)

Blog author: jcouretas
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
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At the online Prager University, lecturer Frank Pastore asks: “Do you have the ability to shape your own destiny? Is there a difference between your mind and your brain? Or is free will just a convenient delusion? Are you really just a product of physical forces beyond your control?”

Listen live online to The Frank Pastore Show — The Intersection of Faith and Reason here. In Southern California, tune into to KKLA 99.5.

Blog author: Mindy Hirst
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
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When my kids go to the pediatrician it is a mad house while we are waiting for the doctor to come in. All three of my kids are doing the random dance. The oldest is behind the bench inspecting the lamp, the youngest is hopping from one book to another spread out on the floor and the boy is using the bean bag chair as a fort.

When the doctor comes in, they all start talking to her at once as if she had six ears and three brains all equally engaged in each of their conversations. I am not totally convinced that this isn’t the case. One by one she checks their eyes, their ears, their walks, asks questions, listens intently and seems completely at home in the din of the kid-noise.

Then comes the blessed moments when she checks their hearts. She puts the stethoscope into her ears, gently rests the chestpiece on their bodies and closes her eyes. The room goes silent. Everyone is entranced by the peace that fills the room, and I always wonder what is going on in that moment. Is she counting? What is she listening for?

Recently, we did an interview with Dr. Pam Casson, pediatrician, asking her about what being On Call in Culture meant for her. In it she explained these special moments in the office. I was at once touched but unsurprised at what she shared. In those moments, she was talking to God. Of course she was! It made so much sense. She said that she asks God for two things: to capture that child’s heart and to allow her to hear any abnormalities.

We have been talking about how when we do our work well we are blessing the world. But in these moments, Pam has discovered how to offer a double blessing to the world God has put her in. Not only is she treating or maintaining the health of her patients, but she is looking toward their spiritual health as well.

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
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Business Declares the Glory of God
Nathan Clarke, Christianity Today

How real-estate developer Walter Crutchfield’s gift at making money became a vocation.

Religious views should be welcomed in our public life
Interview with John Witte Jr., Faith & Leadership

Religion should be part of our political and legal conversation, says a law and religion scholar. Yes, it can make politics and lawmaking more complicated and contested, but also more realistic.

Obama’s Bible Issue
Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online

So why isn’t a publisher of Bibles eligible for a religious exemption from HHS?

10 Simple Ways to Teach Your Kids About Economics
Thomas Purifoy, Economics for Everybody

Basic economics is actually pretty easy to understand if you put it in the right perspective. In other words, move it out of the world of abstract concepts and make it concrete. This is especially important for children.

Over 1,000 pastors across the U.S. agreed to participate in yesterday’s Pulpit Freedom Sunday. The event, part of a strategic litigation plan sponsored by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), is an annual attempt to provoke the IRS into revoking the non-profit status of churches. Pastors signed a pledge agreeing to “evaluate candidate(s) running for political office during a regular worship service in light of biblical Truth and church doctrine.”

While the IRS has reportedly issued threats to pastors who use the pulpit of political speeches, the agency has never actually taken the issue to court. “[The IRS prefers] to put out these vague statements and regulations and enforce it through a system of intimidation, says Erik Stanley, ADF’s senior legal counsel. “Pastors are afraid to address anything political from the pulpit.”

Although I have a number of friends at ADF and highly value the work they do, I’ve never been comfortable with their encouraging pastors to make political endorsements  And I’m not the only one. According to a recent survey by LifeWay Research, nearly 90 percent of Protestant pastors believe they should not endorse candidates for public office from the pulpit.

My own view is that preachers are called to preach, not provide punditry. As Daniel Darling, a Chicago-area pastor and author, recently wrote,

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West Michigan businessman, John Kennedy, has joined over 90 plaintiffs in filing suit against the federal government in its attempts to force business owners and employers to pay for procedures and medications that violate religious beliefs. Kennedy joins other business owners, such as Hobby Lobby CEO David Green who says “God owns” his business.

Kennedy, president and CEO of Autocam and Autocam Medical, says the law clearly violates his religious beliefs.

“This law requires me to violate my beliefs by paying for controversial products that cause abortions, and it does nothing to improve access or eliminate cost for essential medications like insulin and heart medication,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy said he hopes the lawsuit will buy opponents of the law like himself enough time to repeal the mandates in Congress. The lawsuit seeks a court injunction to stop the mandates when they become effective on Jan. 1, 2013

“Why is the Obama administration prioritizing life- ending drugs over lifesaving drugs?” said Kennedy, who filed the lawsuit with the support of the CatholicVote Legal Defense Fund and the Thomas More Society of Chicago.

Kennedy added that the government is forcing employers such as himself to choose between violating religious beliefs, taking away all employee insurance programs, or closing down. Kennedy currently employees 680 people in the U.S.

Read MLive.com’s “West Michigan CEO files lawsuit, saying he cannot comply with Obamacare on religious grounds”.

Joseph Pearce offers a controversial (and irrefutable) argument that faith is a prerequisite to true freedom:

In an age that seems to believe that Christianity is an obstacle to liberty it will prove provocative to insist, contrary to such belief, that Christian faith is essential to liberty’s very existence. Yet, as counter-intuitive as it may seem to disciples of the progressivist zeitgeist, it must be insisted that faith enshrines freedom. Without the shrine that faith erects to freedom, the liberties that we take for granted will be eroded and ultimately destroyed. Faith preserves freedom. It protects it. It insists upon it. Where there is faith there is freedom. Where faith falters, so does freedom. This truth, so uncomfortably perplexing for so many of our contemporaries, was encapsulated by G. K. Chesterton when he asserted that “the modern world, with its modern movements, is living on its Catholic capital. It is using, and using up, the truths that remain to it out of the old treasury of Christendom.”

Read more . . .

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, October 8, 2012
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How Do We Recover the Moral Foundations of Economics?
E. Calvin Beisner, Economics for Everybody

In Christian ethics, two virtues stand supreme: justice (or righteousness) and love (or grace). The moral economy will take both of these into account. It will not reward injustice or hate, but will reward justice and love.

Four Questions About Faith & Work
Hugh Whelchel, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

No church-related work or mission is more spiritual than any other profession such as law, business, education, journalism, politics, plumbing, or being a janitor.

Governing the Medical Profession: Obamacare and New Governance
Michael Fragoso, Public Discourse

Obamacare purports to improve medical quality through dynamic processes that involve government-supported private actors, quality benchmarks, and participation by practitioners and patients.

Religious Liberty of Illinois Pharmacists Vindicated
Dominique Ludvigson, The Foundry

Illinois bureaucrats’ senseless, now seven-year-long crusade to crush the faith-based conscience rights of two pharmacists hit another snag recently when a state appellate court ruled that they could not be forced to stock and dispense abortion-inducing drugs in violation of their religious beliefs.