CNN reports on why drug cartels are employing Fortune 500 practices to grow their businesses. Unfortunately, this means dealing in human trafficking.
Wenzhou, China, is known as the “Jerusalem of the East” because of its large Christian population, a population that had, until recently, enjoyed the Sanjiang Church for worship. A massive structure, Sanjiang Church took over 12 years to build and was a site of pilgrimage for Chinese Catholics.
Last week, however, the Chinese government (which had previously lauded the structure’s architecture) deemed the structure “illegal” and destroyed the entire building, bricking off massive statues to hide them from sight. The government cited bribery on the part of at least 5 officials as the reason for the church’s demolition.
The authorities’ behaviour is reminiscent of the smashing of church property during the Cultural Revolution,” another member of the city’s Catholic community told UCA News’s Chinese-language service.
The removals, news of which emerged Wednesday, took place on Saturday, 48 hours, before government demolition teams razed a Protestant church in the same city.
Wenzhou’s Sanjiang church became a symbol of resistance to the Communist Party’s draconian religious policies in early April. (more…)
In some parts of the United States, it is legal to hire a surrogate to carry a baby. The surrogate is paid for her services, and then surrenders the baby to the adoptive parents. Shared Conception in Texas (a “surrogacy-friendly” state, according to their website) puts it this way when discussing fees:
Sure there are a myriad of ways to make $20,000+ a year! To be honest, when you factor in morning sickness, sleepless nights, swollen ankles, doctor appointments, clinic visits, injections, labor pains and everything else associated with pregnancy, no logical and reasonable person would apply for that job…unless they have a yearning and a calling to profoundly help a couple or individual who is unable to have kids.
They are certainly right: it’s impossible to put a price tag on motherhood…but they’re going to try! (more…)
Vednita Carter wants this to be perfectly clear: human beings are not for sale. It’s a battle, she says, one where she is on the front lines.
Carter used to be a prostitute. But don’t think of a woman wearing outrageous outfits, standing on a street corner. No, think sex trafficking.
At 18, she was hoping to make money for college when she responded to an advertisement for “dancers.” At first, she danced fully clothed, but her bosses and then-boyfriend soon pressured her into stripping and, eventually, prostitution.
Carter eventually left the streets, with the help of a friend. She realized, though, that many women in the same situation had no one to help, so she created Breaking Free, a non-profit that helps sex trafficking victims over the age of 16 get off the streets and re-build their lives. Breaking Free provides rehab services for those with addictions, help with education and job skills, and an intensive 14-week course called “Sisters of Survival.” (more…)
For one Obama supporter, Obamacare was such a relief, she wrote the President to thank him. The hope and success of Obamacare wasn’t all she thought it would be.
According to Investor’s Business Daily, over 300 businesses are cutting employee hours and jobs to avoid Obamacare. If employers restrict employee work hours to 30 per week, then they avoid Obamacare mandates for health insurance. Jed Graham of Investor’s Business Daily says, “Data also point to a record low workweek in low-wage industries.”
Casinos are one industry that exemply these cuts. In Grantville, Penn., the Hollywood Casino has told part-time workers they are now limited to no more than 30 hours a week. Gene Barr of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry had this to say:
Government has decided that you as a business will pay this if you meet a certain size. They’ve put these conditions on and of course companies will have to work around and with those conditions in order to make sure they can stay as a successful business. Businesses have to take the steps they can to keep themselves profitable and keep the people that are now employed employed.
“Let us not forget: we are a pilgrim church, subject to misunderstanding, to persecution, but a church that walks serene, because it bears the force of love.” ― Oscar A. Romero, The Violence of Love
It is no secret to Christians that being one is not easy. However, the public practice of Christianity is becoming more and more difficult world-wide. The recent kidnapping of two Orthodox bishops in Syria is but one story of the on-going violence towards Christians in that country. Nigeria was recently cited for its attacks on Christians and Christian churches. Cadida Moss, a professor at the University of Notre Dame, is questioning the existence of Christian martyrs in the early Church. Rather than dying for their faith, she asserts, the stories of martyrs are myths created by a young church eager to establish itself as something worth dying for. Now, John Blake of CNN reports on American Christians as a “hated minority.” (more…)
Acton’s director of research Samuel Gregg’s reaction to last night’s GOP presidential debate is up at NRO’s The Corner. Like most people who saw the debate, he didn’t like the childish bickering, of which he says “the trivializing effects upon serious discussion are hard to deny.”
“There were, however, two useful moments,” he says:
One was several candidates’ efforts to put the contemporary disease of identity politics in its appropriate place (i.e., the grave).
The second was a number of candidates’ willingness to make the hard-to-hear but nevertheless accurate observation that the best way to address the slump in housing prices in places likeNevadais to allow the housing market to stabilize under its own volition. No matter how noble the intentions, government mortgage-relief programs have proved economically ineffective, and, in many instances they are deeply unjust. Who knows? If GOP presidential candidates are willing to make this point, maybe some of them will eventually dare to talk seriously about entitlement reform.
Hope springs eternal!
Director of Research Samuel Gregg is among those reacting to last night’s CNN/Tea Party Debate on National Review Online. His first point is that “when CNN hosts a Tea Party–sponsored debate, you know we’re not in 2008 anymore.” Gregg’s take is that the debate was a lot more mainstream than the network wanted us to think, and that the economic questions raised and debated are going to be the central issues of the 2012 election:
Almost all of the candidates demonstrated their ability to raise sharp questions about the present administration’s specific policies but also about the basic philosophy informing those positions. The question running through my mind was how the president was going to provide convincing (let alone coherent) responses to the critiques I heard of policies ranging from Obamacare, to his administration’s not-so-subtle association with some of America’s worst examples of crony capitalism, to the ramping up of deficit spending that has produced so few tangible results in terms of employment and growth.
Gregg doesn’t see the Tea Party’s influence declining anytime soon:
It was also revealing that the economic questions asked at this forum closely mirrored many of the issues raised at the previous debates. This suggests that all the talk about the Tea Party’s running out of steam since 2010 seems less convincing than ever. Whether the Republican party likes it or not, the Tea Party is still galvanizing American conservatives and also, perhaps more importantly, independents. And that spells deep trouble for the Left in 2012.