Archived Posts February 2013 - Page 6 of 21 | Acton PowerBlog

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, writing on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), is reaching out to members of Congress regarding religious liberty and the HHS Mandate. In a sharply-worded letter, he reminds members of Congress that there is a clear history of protecting the rights of those with religious and/or moral objections to paying for services such as abortion. He then goes on to address the so-called “war on women”:

It can hardly be said that all these Presidents and Congresses, of both parties, had been waging a war on women. I have seen no evidence that such laws, showing respect for Americans’ conscientious beliefs, have done any harm to women or to their advancement in society. What seems to be at issue instead is a new, more grudging attitude in recent years toward citizens whose faith or moral principles are not in accord with the views of the current governing power. And while the mandate for coverage of abortion-causing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization is hailed by some as a victory for women’s freedom, it permits no free choice by a female employee to decline such coverage for herself or her minor children, even if it violates her moral and religious convictions.

Archbishop Lori concludes on this note: “I fear that the federal government’s respect for believers and people of conscience no longer measures up to the treatment Americans have a right to expect from their elected representatives.”

You can read Archbishop Lori’s entire letter here.

workaholicDuring an interview in support of his new book, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work, Tim Keller recently noted the importance of submitting our work as service to God rather than worshipping it as an idol. “Work is a great thing when it is a servant instead of a lord,” Keller said.

When thinking about work as an “idol,” we may begin to conjure up images of the workaholic who spends above-average time and energy in all that he does. But although overly aggressive workers may indeed choose to put their jobs before God, family, and the rest, we should be careful not to be overly rash in our attempts to draw stark lines between “work” and “life.” Idolatry is about the position of our hearts and needn’t be defined by hours worked per week or high levels of workplace passion and devotion.

Many do, however, seek to rid themselves (and others) of “excessive work” altogether, believing quite vigorously that life would be better if we all worked less and vacationed more. Look no further than Europe’s general disdain for American busyness and the corresponding labor policies to see how deeply and decidedly many free, democratic societies choose to value leisure over enterprise.

Yet as Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic argues in a recent post at the Harvard Business Review blog, much of the negative research done on the “over-worked” is incomplete because it fails to distinguish between those who are doing “what they love” (or, as we Christians might say, “what they’re called to do”) and those who are working for other various reasons:

Most of the studies on the harmful effects of excessive work rely on subjective evaluations of work “overload.” They fail to disentangle respondents’ beliefs and emotions about work. If something bores you, it will surely seem tedious. When you hate your job, you will register any amount of work as excessive — it’s like forcing someone to eat a big plate of food they dislike, then asking if they had enough of it.

Overworking is really only possible if you are not having fun at work. By the same token, any amount of work will be dull if you are not engaged, or if you find your work unfulfilling…Maybe it’s time to redefine the work-life balance — or at least stop thinking about it. (more…)

When most folks (Catholic and non-Catholic alike) hear “papal infallibility”, they often think “Catholics have to believe everything the pope says. They have to believe he’s never wrong.” Except that sometimes he is wrong, and that idea is too. In light of all the commentary we are going to hear in the coming weeks as the Church prepares to elect a new pope, it’s a good time to take a look at this particular Church teaching.

First, Catholics believe that Christ himself established the papacy by declaring Peter “rock” (Mt. 16:18) Thus, the “Chair of Peter” is the one the pope occupies as Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the Church. All popes are heir to the legacy of Peter. As John Zmirak explains, “What the bishop is for his diocese, the pope is for the whole church.” (more…)

Blog author: abradley
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Brittney C. Cooper, Assistant professor of Women’s and Gender studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University, writes at Ebony that President Obama is being unfair to the black community by pointing out that many of the violence-related pathologies in inner cities are a result of fatherlessness. Cooper objects saying,

Instead when the president began by suggesting that we need to “do more to promote marriage and encourage fatherhood,” I started shaking my head. Rather than empathizing with those Black families that have been destroyed by violence, he blamed the prevalence of non-nuclear Black families for contributing to it! Recycling this tired narrative about broken families and absentee Black fathers does nothing to address the steady flow of guns into our communities, nor the pathologies that lead young people to fire them.

Later on, Cooper raises a good point when she observes that although 70 percent of Black children are born to unmarried parents, this does not mean that 70 percent of Black children don’t have active fathers. Cooper concludes that the social pathologies we find in inner-city black communities are the result of economic stress. Cooper says,

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, February 21, 2013

School Choice in the Time of Calvin Coolidge
Rachel Sheffield, The Foundry

Some may think school choice is a new idea. Not so. In fact, the nation’s first voucher program began back in 1869 in the state of Vermont.

Socrates and the minimum wage
Mark J. Perry, AEI Ideas

If Socrates was alive today, here’s how Larry Reed imagines such a dialogue might go.

Conn. Bill to Require Homeschoolers to Undergo Behavioral Health Assessments
Melissa Barnhart, Christian Post

A controversial bill requiring behavioral health assessments of all home-schooled and public school educated children has been introduced in Connecticut.

How the Supreme Court Found the Wall
Mark Movsesian, First Things

Many Americans know that the Supreme Court has stated that the framers intended the Establishment Clause “to erect ‘a wall of separation between Church and State.’”. . . But hardly anyone knows the very interesting story that historian Don Drakeman (Church, State, and Original Intent) tells in a recent paper.

Radio Free Acton

The latest Radio Free Acton Podcast is part 2 of “Reflecting on the Legacy of Pope Benedict.” Director of Research Samuel Gregg and Research Fellow Michael Matheson Miller discuss the upcoming papal conclave.  They explain the process that will be used to choose Benedict XVI’s successor and what should be on the cardinals minds as they go about this process.

Click the play button below to enjoy the podcast:

“While president, Calvin Coolidge warned Americans that if it was the federal government that came to their mind when they thought of ‘the government,’ it would prove costly,” writes Ray Nothstine in this week’s Acton Commentary. But as Nothstine points out, everywhere we turn the federal government is increasingly visible and intrusive. The full text of his essay follows. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.