Archived Posts June 2013 » Page 4 of 12 | Acton PowerBlog

The quality of children and our future society, depends directly on the quality of the marriage of their parents, says Pat Fagan of the Family Research Council speaking at the recent World Congress of Families:

Fagan notes that society is made up of five facets: the family, church, school, the marketplace and government. The first three mentioned are the places that “grow the people” so to speak, and are closely interrelated. The last two areas of society are those into which people are set loose, once they’ve grown up: but the role that they play in these spheres of economy and government really depends on what happened in their experience of family, church and school.

The statistics which Fagan shares are both interesting and revealing. When men marry, their productivity increases by over 20%, and the highest rates of productivity in society come from men who are married with three kids. Married people also make up the demographic that shows the lowest level of unemployment. And while sadly only 45% of children in America reach the age of 17 with their parents’ marriage still intact, those who do achieve better education results.

Read more . . .

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Monday, June 24, 2013

Samuel Gregg gives three responses to infringements on religious liberty
Christopher B. Warner, The Catholic World Report

Gregg says Christians must unite against the “real enemy” of “social engineering”

Why Religious Liberty Became Controversial: The Left and Jean-Jacques Rousseau
William Haun, Public Discourse

The Left is adopting a Rousseauian view of religion’s role in public life: the state is to determine where, when, and how religious instruction should be permissible for citizens.

True Religion and the Fatherhood of God
Dylan Pahman, Ethika Politika

Christians, who ought to call upon God as “Our Father” on a daily basis, should naturally be fathers to the growing number of fatherless in our society today.

Five Christian Traits Every Entrepreneur Needs
Brian Baugus, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Successful entrepreneurship turns chaos into order. It creates value where others see nothing. However, beyond the creative impulse, successful entrepreneurs need other traits that Christians should find familiar.

In Foreign Policy, Daniel Altman argues that over the long-term for-profit companies are often better for society than so-called socially responsible business initiatives:

As Jonathan Berman and I have written in the past, for-profit companies that take a long time horizon in their decision-making are likely to make more social and environmental investments. Things like training workers, bolstering communities, and protecting ecosystems can take a long time to pay off for private companies. When they do, the return — including a stronger labor pool, a wealthier consumer base, fewer working days lost to strikes and protests, and greater employee loyalty — can be comparable to other for-profit investments.

In fact, strictly for-profit companies can be among the best social investors because they apply the same discipline to these investments that they would to other parts of their core business. Energy and mining companies, for example, have some of the longest time horizons in the private sector, and they tend to be big social investors as well. Some European companies have actually stopped issuing quarterly reports to shift the attention of analysts to the long term. And because they are still targeting a single bottom line, profit, there’s no loss of clarity about their mission or erosion of transparency for shareholders.

Read more . . .

(Via: )

The U.S. State Department has released its annual “Trafficking in Persons” (Tip) Human Traffickingreport, used to not only further educate people about global human trafficking, but to identify countries where trafficking is most problematic. The report gives each nation a “tiered” rating. Tier 1 countries are those that fully comply with international laws and standards of the the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Tier 2 nations are on a watch list as they are making efforts to comply with the Act, but are still struggling with full compliance. Tier 3 countries make no effort to comply with this international standard. (more…)

Today at Acton University, Fr. Michael Butler gave an engaging lecture on the subject of Orthodoxy and natural law. Despite the contemporary ambivalence among many Orthodox (if not hostility) toward natural law, Fr. Michael argues that it is present in the Eastern Tradition from the ancient to the medieval and modern periods, focusing especially on the thought of the seventh century Byzantine Saint Maximus the Confessor.

A few months ago, I observed,

While it may be that there are important differences between a Thomist understanding of natural law and an Orthodox understanding of natural law, the historic difference is most assuredly not that Thomists accept it while the Orthodox do not.

Fr. Michael’s research further strengthens this statement and helpfully highlighted some of the similarities and differences between natural law in St. Maximus and that in Aquinas. The audio of his lecture will be available on Ancient Faith Radio in the coming weeks, but in the meantime I will briefly share some of Fr. Michael’s insights here. It’s a little heady, but worth consideration. (more…)

Blog author: abradley
posted by on Friday, June 21, 2013

Chicago is in serious trouble. There has been a rash of crime over the past few weeks that has brought attention, yet again, to a city that cannot seem to make much progress. The Chicago Tribune reported the following about how out of control the city was this past Father’s Day:

At least 34 people were shot — nine of them fatally — Saturday afternoon through Father’s Day Sunday, stretching from 94th Street and Loomis Avenue on the South Side up to about North Avenue and North Pulaski Road on the Northwest Side, according to authorities. The youngest person killed during one of the bloodiest weekends in Chicago this year, 15-year-old Michael Westley, was fatally shot by a police officer Sunday night.

Shootings from Friday afternoon into Saturday left another 13 people shot, 1 fatally. The combined tally resulted in 47 people shot, and eight killed this weekend. Last year at about the same time, there were 53 people shot, nine fatally, in one weekend.

The rash of violent crime came as Chicago has seen a large dip in overall homicide and shooting numbers so far this year.

These murders come on the heels of Chicago reporting good news about the decrease over all in Chicago’s homicide rate:
(more…)

The double-headed eagle is a historical symbol of symphonia.

Today at Acton University, Fr. Michael Butler examined the history of Church-State relations in the Orthodox Tradition with special reference to the modern, Russian context in his lecture “Orthodoxy, Church, and State.” The audio of his lecture will be available via Ancient Faith Radio sometime in the coming weeks. As a teaser, I would like to briefly examine two concepts of Orthodox political theory to which Fr. Butler devoted specific attention: symphonia and sobornost.

Due to the influence of Max Weber, symphonia is often mischaracterized as caesaropapism (a term he coined), the state in which a nation’s sovereign is supreme in all ecclesiastical matters as well as those of state. It would be, then, a complete absorption of the Church by the state. Actual historical instances of this would include (to varying degrees) the Church of England where the monarch is the head and Imperial Russia from Tsar Peter the Great’s Westernizing reforms to the Bolshevik revolution. In the latter case, as Fr. Michael noted, one can see a distortion of symphonia for the elevation of state power, but not its essence or, by far, the complete historical picture. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Friday, June 21, 2013

Bait and Switch: ‘Evangelicals’ funded by George Soros Endorse ‘Gang of 8′ Immigration Bill
Kelly Monroe Kullberg, Christian Post

We should take notice when self-professed atheist billionaire and globalist profiteer, George Soros, is the quiet funder of a curious “Evangelical Immigration Table” campaign to promote yet another massive and mysterious piece of legislation in Congress.

Burke’s Wise Counsel on Religious Liberty and Freedom
William F. Byrne, Imaginative Conservative

One thing which made religion a key to virtue was the humility which Christianity promoted. Most of our political and social problems, Burke believed, stemmed ultimately from vanity, the chief of the vices.

How poverty might change the brain
Elizabeth Landau, CNN

As sociological studies have corroborated, it seemed to Farah that child-rearing and children’s early experience was very different depending on social class.

Innovation: The History of a Buzzword
Emma Green, The Atlantic

In the 17th century, “innovators” didn’t get accolades. They got their ears cut off.

In a lecture at Acton University titled “Business and the Common Good,” Dr. Scott Rae of Biola University examined the role of business in serving the common good.

Rae began by examining some of the common criticisms lobbed against business, namely, that it promotes greed, inequality, and consumerism. As Michael Miller often notes, these are human vices, not economic ones, and thus business, properly understood, is not immoral in and of itself.

On the contrary, business has great potential for serving and contributing to the common good. Though some believe profit-seeking enterprises are only valuable insofar as they can “give something back” out of what’s leftover, Rae emphasized how business advances the common good right from the get-go.

Rae offers four primary ways this occurs:

  • By peaceably providing needed goods and services that allow human beings to flourish and enhance their well being
  • By providing meaningful work that allows human beings to flourish and enhances their well being
  • By facilitating wealth creation and economic growth
  • By enabling the poor to lift themselves out of poverty

By leveraging business, we not only yield profits that can be used for the glory of God outside of business, we can serve our neighbors in the here and now. “God is not just redeeming individuals,” Rae concluded. “He is redeeming all of creation. He is redeeming the marketplace.” (more…)

Marina Nemat gave her keynote address last night at AU entitled, “Finding Christ in an Iranian Prison.” Watch below.