Archived Posts 2013 » Page 40 of 167 | Acton PowerBlog

slot machine reelsCaesar’s Palace didn’t have slot machines in the age of the apostles, so it’s not surprising that there is no explicit, direct, biblical prohibition of casino gambling. How then should Christians in America think about the growing trend of regional casinos?

For some Christian groups, the answers is based on their opposition to all forms of gambling. My own denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, calls on “all Christians to exercise their influence by refusing to participate in any form of gambling or its promotion.” However, other traditions, such as the Catholic Church, take a more nuanced position. The catechism states,

Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement. Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave matter, unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot reasonably consider it significant. (Catechism 2413)

A more thorough treatment is provided in the Catholic Encyclopedia, which lists four conditions that theologians commonly require for gaming to be illicit:
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Paradise0038New York magazine’s fascinating interview with Justice Antonin Scalia offers much to enjoy, and as Joe Carter has already pointed out, one of the more striking exchanges centers on the existence of the Devil.

When asked whether he has “seen evidence of the Devil lately,” Scalia offers the following:

You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore…What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.

As my friend Irene Switzer kindly reminded me, Whittaker Chambers set forth a similar hypothesis in an elegantly written essay for Life magazine in 1948. “When the Age of Reason began,” the sub-head begins, “the Devil went ‘underground,’” his strategy being “to make men think he doesn’t exist.”

Setting the scene at a New Year’s party in “Manhattan’s swank Hotel Nineveh & Tyre,” Chambers constructs a fanciful conversation between the Devil and a “pessimist” — a Modern Man what-have-you, who exhibits familiarity with Reinhold Niebuhr and C.S. Lewis (an indication of rejection over ignorance, no doubt). (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Catholic Response to the Demise of Rational Public Discourse
James Kalb, Crisis Magazine

To follow the news today is to get the impression that public life, in the sense of rational discussion oriented toward some reasonable understanding of the common good, has come to an end.

The Scholarly Abuse of Edmund Burke
Bruce P. Frohnen, Liberty Law Blog

Properly introduced and modulated, discussion of partial and mis-interpretations such as these can be highly useful in understanding the interpreters and the social context in which they wrote.

What Politico’s story on school choice failed to mention
James Pethokoukis, AEI Ideas

Give Politico some credit for writing about something other than the partial government shutdown and impending debt ceiling crisis. But its new piece on school vouchers creates an incomplete picture about the efficacy of school choice.

Christian Marriage and Family by Nelson Kloosterman
Nick Smith, Sylvan Manor

Throughout the book, Kloosterman draws on his experiences as a pastor, professor, father, and husband to apply the wisdom of Scripture to a host of contemporary issues.

Lawrence W. Reed

Acton on Tap: Lawrence Reed at Speak EZ Lounge – 10.8.13

The Fall 2013 Acton On Tap series kicked off at Speak EZ Lounge in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., this evening with Lawrence Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education, who addressed gathered attendees on the lessons our society can learn from the history of Rome. In the interest of speedy delivery, you can listen to the raw audio of Reed’s presentation and the Q&A that followed using the audio player below.

For those not in the know, Acton On Tap is a great little periodic event that the Acton Institute presents in our hometown of Grand Rapids. It’s a free, informal gathering held at a local establishment where you can join us for a cold drink, some good conversation, and a talk on a topic of interest from a variety of interesting people. If you’re in West Michigan, you’re always welcome to join us! We’ll keep you updated as future AOT events are scheduled.

Readers following my series of blog posts on shareholder proxy resolutions submitted by religious groups such as As You Sow and the Interfaith Council of Corporate Responsibility already know these resolutions have little to do with issues of faith. In fact, an overwhelming majority of these resolutions concern corporate speech and attempts to stifle it.

Your shareholders want to know more about your political spending. Really.

Your shareholders want to know more about your political spending. Really.

AYS and ICCR – as well as a host of other religious shareholders – submit proposals drafted by Bruce Freed, head of the Center for Political Accountability. Freed’s CPA and the Wharton Business School’s Zicklin Center, readers will recall, issued its annual index late last month. My last post detailed in part the wrongheadedness of shareholders pushing a political agenda at the expense of their fellow shareholders. However, I anticipate most readers require a bit more than your lowly scribe’s word that the CPA-Zicklin Index not only inflates the results of its shareholder resolutions but as well operates on behalf of groups more interested in shutting down corporate political speech.

The Center for Competitive Politics, a First Amendment nonprofit think tank located in Alexandria, Va., brings more firepower to arguments I’ve already made regarding the efforts of CPA and the proxy shareholders for whom Mr. Freed drafts resolutions. Regarding the CPA-Zicklin Index, CCP issued a statement by CCP Chairman Brad Smith, former Federal Election Commission Chairman:

To look at the CPA-Zicklin Index as a measure of ‘best corporate practices’ is like asking a wolf to describe ‘best practices’ for sheep … Corporations have an obligation to do what is in the best interest of their shareholders, not comply with the demands of a non- profit that opposes speech by the business community. (more…)

Blog author: jsunde
posted by on Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Faithful in All God's HouseFrom Gerard Berghoef and Lester DeKoster’s Faithful in All God’s House: Stewardship and the Christian Life:

The Lord God is a free enterpriser. This is one reason why Karl Marx, who was not a free enterpriser, rejected God.

God is a free enterpriser because he expects a return on his investments. Jesus’ parables of the talents (Matt. 25:14–30) and of the ten minas (Luke 19:11–27) clearly teach us that God expects interest on the talents he invests in each of us. This is implied in the Lord’s command: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).

In short, all of God’s gifts to mankind are as a divine investment on which the investor expects full return. We know from the whole tenor of the Scriptures what the nature of that return should be: so putting our talents at God’s disposal that others derive benefit from the gifts given to us. This is summarized in the Golden Rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). (more…)

Acton’s Director of Research and author of Tea Party Catholic: The Catholic Case For Limited Government, A Free Economy And Human Flourishing, Samuel Gregg, has a new interview featured at The Catholic World Report. In it, Gregg is asked about the title of his new book.

CWR: Why the use of the term “Tea Party Catholic”? Isn’t the Tea Party mostly made up of angry white voters who hate government and don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes? 

Gregg: Actually Tea Party Catholic has very little to say about today’s Tea Party movement—many members of which, by the way, are socially conservative Christians, including many Catholics, worried about America’s present direction. Instead, Tea Party Catholic seeks to underscore that it’s entirely possible to be a faithful Catholic and a supporter of the project in constitutionally ordered liberty that we associate with events like the Boston Tea Party and the American Founding. That Founding involved, as we know, rather strong commitments to limited government, economic freedom, and religious liberty: commitments that some think are under serious strain today. (more…)

636_debt_ceiling_0What is the debt limit or debt ceiling?

In most years the federal government brings in less revenue than it spends. To cover this difference, the Treasury Department has to issue government bonds which increases the national debt. The debt limit is legislative restriction on the total amount of national debt the Treasury is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations.

What is the current debt limit?

The current statutory limit on total debt issued by the Treasury is just under $16.7 trillion.

Shouldn’t we want Congress to refuses to raise the debt ceiling since it will lower our national debt?

The debt ceiling does not lower the national debt. The legal obligation to pay the debt has already been incurred by the government so the money is already owed. Refusing to raise the debt ceiling merely prevents the Treasury Department from borrowing money to pay the government’s bills.

When will the government run out of money to pay its bills?

The current estimate is October 17, 2013.

What happens when the government doesn’t have money to pay its bills?
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canyon closedThe panda cam at the Washington, D.C. zoo is down. The IRS is still taking our money, but not refunding anything. Barricades are up around open air monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial and the WWII Memorial. Only 15 people, instead of the usual 90, are looking after the First Family. There are a number of government employees, such as the National Weather Forecasters, who aren’t getting paid. (By the way, the weather forecaster is South Dakota went to work anyway, because of a massive snowstorm. They are stand-up folks.) During this government “shut-down” only 17 percent of the federal government is really shut down. Most of us are going about our daily lives feeling very little effect (except perhaps a news-induced headache.) (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
posted by on Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Five myths about anti-Christian persecution
John L. Allen, Jr., National Catholic Reporter

As a contribution towards erasing that blind spot, let’s debunk five common myths about anti-Christian persecution.

Income inequality, growth go together: Opposing view
Scott Winship, USA Today

Focus on the wealth gap is misplaced. Narrowing it shouldn’t be a priority.

Keep Calm and Read Bastiat
Art Carden, EconLog

Bastiat is just the corrective we need if we’re going to change the first rule of politics.

Biblical Warnings About Government
Art Lindsley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

The historical accounts throughout the Bible confirm that government has often overstepped its bounds, with frightening consequences.