On Sunday, March 27, Acton’s President and Co-founder, Rev. Robert Sirico will join Shannon Bream and Leland Vittert on Fox News’ America’s News HQ. He will offer an Easter reflection and comment on any significant breaking news. You can catch him between 1 and 2PM Eastern. America’s News HQ on Fox News Channel reports the latest national and world news. It reports expert insight on health, politics and military matters.
In the Detroit News, Rev. Robert A. Sirico, co-founder and president of the Acton Institute, offers a commentary on the two-year battle with the city of Grand Rapids over the institute’s exempt status under state property tax law (see the March 15 Acton news release, “Acton Institute Prevails in Property Tax Dispute with City of Grand Rapids” for background). In his opinion piece, Rev. Sirico writes:
We were assured earlier from then-City Attorney Catherine Mish that it all wasn’t political, but a brief signed and submitted by assistant city attorneys tells another story.
The city made the accusation that the Acton Institute “is a politically driven think tank that publishes right-wing libertarian, philosophical and political propaganda tempered with extreme-right religious viewpoints.” The city further alleged that our educational curricula and publications were “tailored narrowly to the mission of spreading its right-wing libertarian viewpoint.”
It’s clear Acton was being denied this exemption for so long not on the merits, but on personal and political grounds. An undercurrent of menace is unmistakable throughout the brief, directed at our religious and economic teachings.
This is part of a larger trend of over-spending city bureaucrats targeting nonprofits to make up for the city’s own mismanagement of funds.
Read “When politicians want your money” in the Detroit News by Rev. Robert A. Sirico.
Also see the March 18 article “City on hook for $205K in tax decision” by Rachel Weick in the Grand Rapids Business Journal.
“We had asked the city at the very beginning of this process to identify for us why they believed we didn’t qualify. They could never articulate an answer for us,” said [Acton attorney Deborah] Ondersma. “I would say that the most disappointing part of the process for me as an attorney was to see the tone of the city’s briefing. That was surprising and disappointing to me.” (more…)
On February 18th, the Acton Institute was pleased to welcome Jay Richards and Joseph Pearce to our Mark Murray Auditorium for an exchange on two distinct ideas on economics: Distributism vs. Free Markets. The gentleman’s debate was moderated by Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico.
Joseph Pearce, writer in residence at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee, and Director of the college’s Center for Faith and Culture, argued in favor of distributism; Jay Richards, Assistant Research Professor School of Business and Economics at The Catholic University of America, a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, and Executive Editor of The Stream, defended free markets. It was a lively exchange, and we’re pleased to present the video of the event below.
Acton Institute Director of International Outreach Todd Huizinga joins us on this week’s edition of Radio Free Acton to discuss his new book, The New Totalitarian Temptation: Global Governance and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe. When many of us think of the European Union, we picture an organization of European democracies acting in concert on a variety of issues, and holding a common (albeit troubled) currency. But how democratic is the EU? What philosophy undergirds the European project? Is the EU splintering under the pressure of the Eurozone and migrant crises, or will the pressures currently applied to the EU lead to meaningful reform of the organization?
You can listen to the podcast via the audio player below, and be sure to pick up a copy of Todd’s excellent book.
We’ve had a burst of media activity this week; let’s round up some of Acton’s activity on the airwaves:
Monday, February 15
Todd Huizinga, Acton’s Director of International Outreach, joined the FreedomWorks podcast to discuss his newly released book The New Totalitarian Temptation: Global Governance and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe.
Tuesday, February 16
Kishore Jayabalan, Director of Istituto Acton in Rome, is a native of Flint, Michigan, and recently spent some time in his hometown. WJR Radio in Detroit turned to him for a native’s perspective on the water crisis, and what his thoughts are on the cause of the crisis and the way forward for the city.
Wednesday, February 17
Acton Institute Director of Research Samuel Gregg joined host Rob Schilling on WINA Radio’s The Schilling Show in Charlottesville, Virginia, in order to discuss the economic proposals of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Gregg argues that Trump, far from being a champion of free markets, actually promotes mercantilist policies that will result in more crony capitalism. According to Gregg, voters are right to be angry at the state of politics and the economy in the US, but Trump’s proposed solutions will only make the situation worse.
We’re anticipating more interviews to come this week, and we’ll share them with you here on the PowerBlog. Stay tuned.
American and Canadian college faculty: Acton is accepting proposals for mini-grants on free market economics. If you’re a professor or you know of a professor teaching in the United States or Canada, be sure to visit the Mini-Grants page. The deadline to turn in proposals is March 31, 2016 and grants can range from $1,000 to $10,000. Acton is accepting applications for proposals in course development and faculty scholarship.
Interested in applying, but not sure how to get started? Here are some characteristics of a successful grant proposal:
- Have a clearly defined topic that the project intends to address, and why this is of value to the teaching, scholarship and practice of free-market economics.
- Have clearly defined objectives.
- Have a well-defined project budget.
- Demonstrate that the individual and/or team members have related experience, technical knowledge, scholarly and/or business community networks, and other appropriate resources (intellectual, social, financial) that will contribute to the success of the proposed project.
- Demonstrate the potential to improve understanding of free market principles.
- Illustrate how the results will be disseminated throughout the larger academy.
In addition to our regular slate of articles examining the intersections between faith, freedom, markets, and morality, this issue contains the text of the Theology of Work Consultation symposium at the 2014 conference of the Evangelical Theological Society. The subject was “The Economics of the Theological Vocation.” The entire symposium, as well as executive editor Jordan J. Ballor’s editorial on the subject, is open access.
In addition, associate editor Hunter Baker’s review essay on Kevin M. Kruse’s One Nation Under God and Timothy E. W. Gloege’s Guaranteed Pure is also open access. In it, Baker seeks to answer the question, “Is Christian America Invented? And Why Does It Matter?”
One last highlight: We are pleased to include a republication of a rare 1941 essay by German economist Wilhelm Röpke, “A Value Judgment on Value Judgments.” Samuel Gregg, director of research at the Acton Institute and a scholar of Röpke’s work, authored the introduction, “A Value Judgment on ‘A Value Judgment on Value Judgments.'”
Read the entire issue here.
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