Archived Posts February 2013 - Page 14 of 15 | Acton PowerBlog

Foxes spoiling vineJoe Carter has done a marvelous job of outlining the details surrounding the Obama administration’s abortion/contraceptive mandate. In a recent cover story for WORLD Magazine, these details are brought to life through a series of snapshots of real businesses and non-profits facing a real choice to either violate their Christian consciences or become economic martyrs.

Thus far, Hobby Lobby has received much of the national spotlight—due in part to their visibility in the marketplace and corresponding outspokenness. In the WORLD article, we begin to see the bigger picture, beginning with Chris and Paul Griesedieck, brothers and owners of American Pulverizer, a small, 105-year-old, family-owned manufacturing company, which could face fines of up to $5 million per year if the owners choose to be guided by Christian principles above economic penalties:

Like Hobby Lobby and other plaintiffs, the Griesediecks filed a lawsuit against HHS. They say the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (a law designed to protect against government infringement of religious freedom) and their First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion. The brothers made a simple argument based on Christian principles: “It would be sinful for us to pay for services that have a significant risk of causing the death of embryonic lives.”

…Frank Manion—an attorney at the American Center for Law and Justice—represents the Griesediecks, and says the federal government is imposing a stark choice on his clients and all Christian employers who oppose the mandate: “Abandon their beliefs in order to stay in business, or abandon their business in order to stay true to their beliefs.”

Abraham Kuyper famously wrote that “there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’” This view may seem uncontroversial to some, yet it is increasingly seen by our scrupulous government overlords to be irrelevant to First Amendment protections: (more…)

Blog author: ehilton
posted by on Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New England Patriots’ punter Zoltan Mesko is undoubtedly upset that his team didn’t make  it to the Super Bowl again this year, but it’s hardly the toughest ordeal of his life. As Romanian refugees, Mesko’s family endured Communist oppression, deprivation and violent revolution. Mesko, who holds an M.A. from the University of Michigan, shared his family’s experience and how faith plays a role in his life in an interview with the National Catholic Register.

Courtesy of the New England Patriots/David Silverman

Courtesy of the New England Patriots/David Silverman

When asked if he found it difficult to adapt to American culture, Mesko responded:

Not really. Romania was a very harsh place to live while the communists were in power. They portray it as equality for all, but the equality you get is everyone being equally miserable. Government control of everything results in less prosperity for everyone…My mother and father are both engineers, so we had quite a bit of money. However, because of hyperinflation, the money couldn’t buy much. We lived paycheck to paycheck in Romania, so the transition to American culture wasn’t too tough. I found things to be so much easier here.

(more…)

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) recently relaunched their flagship publication, Intercollegiate Review, and added a brand new daily website, IntercollegiateReview.com. As a companion site to the decades-old magazine, the online daily will mainly serve undergraduate readers interested in learning more about the principles of conservatism. Here are some of the featured stories you should check out:
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Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What We’ve Forgotten About Vocation
Jeff Haanen

Even though the concept of a divine calling is so pervasive in Scripture, today we have largely lost some of its key tenets. I think we’ve lost at least three things.

The Importance of Stan Musial’s Funeral Mass
Donald DeMarco, Crisis

Since we all spend most of our existence in eternity, the funeral Mass is of critical importance as a ritual whose purpose is to usher us into a blessed and eternal union with God. Musial’s funeral is a salutary event for everyone especially at a time when, in our increasingly secularized society, the importance of the afterlife is commonly de-emphasized.

Simple Justice: Kids Deserve School Choice
Richard W. Garnett, Public Discourse

Rather than cave to self-interested protests against school choice from teachers unions, we should do what we can to make Catholic schools a viable school option for low-income children.

A Christian baker refuses to make cake for same-sex wedding and now faces charges
Denny Burk

The Oregon Department of Justice is investigating a complaint against a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding.

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Recently Samuel Gregg talked with Jack Riccardi from KTSA 550 San Antonio about Gregg’s new book Becoming Europe.

Listen to the entire interview here:

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Theodore Dalrymple also recently reviewed Becoming Europe on the Library of Law and Liberty’s Liberty Law Blog. He said:

In this well-written book, Samuel Gregg explains what can only be called the dialectical relationship between the interests of the European political class and the economic beliefs and wishes of the population as a whole. The population is essentially fearful; it wants to be protected from the future rather than adapt to its inevitable changes, while at the same time maintaining prosperity.

You can purchase a copy of Becoming Europe here.

“The Constitution protects your right to believe and worship, not force your beliefs on others.” That’s a response Acton received via Twitter regarding a blog post on the HHS Mandate. This type of statement is a typical one in our society: you can believe whatever you want, but don’t force your beliefs on anyone else. Religious belief and worship should be a wholly private affair; bringing your beliefs into the public square constitutes “forcing” them onto others.

In the latest issue of Faith and Justice from Alliance Defending Freedom, twelve women talk about what happened when this very scenario happened to them. As nurses working at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey elective surgery unit, these women were told by their employer that they must assist in elective abortions. Despite an employment clause that said nurses were exempt from this except in emergency situations if they believed abortions were immoral, the hospital stood its ground, and the nurses were told they would lose their jobs. Their union declined to help. A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the nurses. (more…)

On Monday, Jan. 28, The Aquinas Institute for Catholic Thought in Boulder, Colo., hosted its Sixth Annual Great Debate which addressed the question, “Can the free market adequately care for the poor?”  Acton President and co-founder Rev. Robert A. Sirico argued for the side of the free market, debating Michael Sean Winters, a writer for National Catholic Reporter.

Watch the entire debate here:

Can the Free Market Adequately Care for the Poor? from Aquinas Institute on Vimeo.

 

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Monday, February 4, 2013

db_file_img_930_160xautoThe Acton Institute recently partnered with the Christian History Institute to produce the latest issue of Christian History magazine. The issue (which you can download as a free PDF) examines the impact of automation on Europe and America and the varying responses of the church to the problems that developed. Topics examined are mission work, the rise of the Social Gospel, the impact of papal pronouncements, the Methodist phenomenon, Christian capitalists, attempts at communal living and much more.

Check out these feature articles:
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On Friday the Obama administration proposed a rule that it says will appease the concerns religious organizations have about the controversial abortion/contraceptive mandate issued last year by the Department of Health and Human Services. Here’s what you should know about the mandate and the proposed changes.

the-pillWhat is this contraception mandate everyone keeps talking about?

As part of the universal health insurance reform passed in 2010 (often referred to as “Obamacare”), all group health plans must now provide—at no cost to the recipient—certain “preventive services.” The list of services includes sterilization, contraceptives, and abortifacient drugs.

If this mandate is from 2010, why are we just now talking about it?

On January 20, 2012, the Obama Administration announced that that it would not expand the exemption for this mandate to include religious schools, colleges, hospitals, and charitable service organizations. Instead, the Administration merely extended the deadline for religious groups who did not already fall within the existing narrow exemption so that they will have one more year to comply or drop health care insurance coverage for their employees altogether and incur a hefty fine. For example, Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned company that is opposing the mandate, is facing fines up to $1.3 million per day.

Is there a religious exemption from the mandate? If so, who qualifies for the exemption?
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Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Monday, February 4, 2013

My Valuable, Cheap College Degree
Arthur C. Brooks, New York Times

I possess a 10K-B.A., which I got way back in 1994. And it was the most important intellectual and career move I ever made.

Will the United States Fight Religious Persecution?
Jillian Kay Melchior, Doublethink Online

Religious freedom continues to decline around the world, and persecution is on the rise. In September, The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life reported that three-fourths of the global population—more than 5 billion people—live in countries with “high government restrictions on religion or high social hostilities involving religion.”

Christians in Syria Fleeing Country as Crisis Reaches ‘Unprecedented Levels of Horror’
Stoyan Zaimov, OCP Media Network

As the civil war in Syria has reached “unprecedented levels of horror,” according to the U.N., Christians are being forced to flee their homes as avoiding the violent conflict has become less of an option.

Grace for Monotonous Work
Andre Yee, Desiring God

Somehow it seems easier to view our work as reflecting God’s glory as Creator in our creativity. Creativity is a reflection of our Creator. But how do we glorify God when engaged in the repetitive work that seems to be completely devoid of creativity?