Posts tagged with: religion and liberty

The Spring issue of Religion & Liberty is now available online. The feature is an interview with Turkish scholar Mustafa Akyol. Akyol was a faculty member at Acton University last summer. The title of the interview is “Turkey: Islam’s Bridge to Religious and Economic Liberty?” In the interview Akyol notes:

So Turkey will not change the world in one day, but if it shows that a Muslim society can achieve democracy and lives in peace with the western world, that will be a great example to the Muslim nations. We are seeing signs of that.

Also, we are excited about the piece offered by Hunter Baker for this issue titled “Can Libertarians and Social Conservatives Find Common Ground?” It is timely because of the escalation of tensions between some social conservatives and libertarians, especially now that former Governor Mike Huckabee is about to release a book about his presidential campaign with a chapter titled “Faux-Cons: Worse than Liberalism.” In that chapter Huckabee throws a few jabs at some libertarian minded conservatives who worked to derail his campaign. In his piece Baker asks:

The tension inherent in the relationship erupted during the American presidential primaries when the libertarian-oriented Club for Growth clashed with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a Christian conservative. Club for Growth seemed to single out Huckabee for the most uncharitable view possible of his free-market bonafides. Rather than attempt conciliation, Huckabee apparently relished the attack and labeled the small government group “The Club for Greed.” The question, borrowed from the longest running feature in women’s magazine history, is “Can this marriage be saved?”

Read the article to find out Baker’s take on the future relationship of these two ideological camps under the conservative umbrella.

I offer a review of The Theology of John Wesley: Holy Love and the Shape of Grace authored by Wesley scholar Kenneth J. Collins. Collins is a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky, and his book does a fine job at weaving the historical Wesley with contemporary issues.

Paola Fantini reviews Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone’s The Ethics of the Common Good in the Social Doctrine of the Church. Fantini has also translated the prologue to the book by Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Kirill, and an excerpt from that appears in this issue. Both pieces were first posted on the Acton website in mid October. These articles are the first to translate anything from Cardinal Bertone’s The Ethics of the Common Good (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2008) into English.

In The Liberal Tradition for this issue is Wilhelm Röpke. Also, Rev. Robert Sirico’s column takes a look at the spiritual side of the financial crisis in “Mistaken Faiths of our Age.”

The feature interview for the Winter issue of Religion and Liberty was Dr. David W. Miller, who at the time served as the Executive Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. With his permission, Dr. Miller has agreed to let us inform our readers that he is taking a new position at Princeton as the Director of the Princeton University Faith & Work Initiative. The Trinity Forum is the only organization with an updated biography mentioning his new position.

No stranger to Princeton, Dr. Miller received his Master of Divinity degree and Ph.D. at Princeton Theological Seminary. He will also be an Associate Research Scholar and teach at Princeton. Dr. Miller will also continue as president of the Avodah Institute, which helps “leaders integrate the claims of their faith with the demands of their work.” The Acton Institute takes great delight in congratulating Dr. Miller on his new academic position.

The Winter issue of Religion & Liberty is now available online. The interview with David W. Miller is titled, “Theology at Work: Faithful Living in the Marketplace.” Miller is the executive director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture at Yale Divinity School, and co-founder and president of the Avodah Institute. Miller brings an unusual “bilingual” perspective to the academic world, having also spent sixteen years in senior executive positions in international business and finance. Miller’s book, God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement was published in 2007.

Joseph K. Knippenberg, professor of politics at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, offers his own analysis of the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life Religious Landscape Survey with a piece titled “Brand Loyalty in the American Religious Marketplace.” Knippenberg notes:

My preliminary bottom line is this: in terms at least of nominal adherents, American Protestantism is doing well, better than any other faith tradition except Hinduism, which has the “advantage” of being a culturally distinctive religion closely identified with a particular community of relatively new immigrants. What’s more, Protestants who leave their childhood denominations are much more likely to move to another Protestant denomination than they are to leave religion behind altogether. Indeed, they are for the most part more likely to move to an evangelical denomination or church than they are to leave religion behind. For our hitherto dominant American religious tradition, the flow toward evangelicalism is stronger than the flow out of religion altogether. I haven’t seen that headline yet.

John Couretas reviews Thomas C. Oden’s Deeds not Words: The Good Works Reader, while I penned a review of Ronald J. Sider’s book The Scandal of Evangelical Politics.

Rev. Robert Sirico’s column offers an analysis of “Ethics and the Job Market.”

Also, Religion & Liberty paid tribute to William F. Buckley who passed away in February of this year. In his autobiography of faith titled Nearer, My God, Buckley declared:

It is of course obvious that it is mostly features of this world from which we take our satisfactions. The love of our family, the company of our friends, the feel of wind on the face, the excitement of the printed page, the delights of color and form and sound; food, wine, sex. But there is that other life that only human beings can experience, and in that life, and from that life, other pulsations are felt. They press upon us, in the Christian vision, one thing again and again, which is that God loves us. The best way to put it is that God would give His life for us and, in Christ, did.

The Archbishop of York Dr. John Sentamu has some notable comments regarding compassion and consumerism in this BBC article. The Church of England leader is fearful that religious charity and compassion is being crowded out and under utilized. “Human rights without the safeguarding of a God-reference tends to set up rights which trump others’ rights when the mood music changes,” he says.

The Archbishop also criticized calls for removal of religion from the public square, saying it would usher in rampant consumerism. You can read the Archbishop’s address entirety at this blog. Surely, you may find disagreement with some of his words, but also a clear truth in a lot of his critique.

The Anglican leader has also made recent news because of a charitable parachute jump he plans to make in support of British soldiers killed and wounded in Afghanistan.

I stumbled across this article at David Thompson’s blog, where he notes that the article’s author, Jay Rayner, is pondering “…the whereabouts of dramatic radicalism in an age of state subsidy”:

The actor Julian Fellowes, who wrote the script for the Oscar-winning country house whodunit Gosford Park and the book for the stage musical of Mary Poppins, is a good place to start. He’s professionally posh. He has a son called Peregrine. His wife is a lady-in-waiting to Princess Michael of Kent and a descendant of Lord Kitchener. He is, unsurprisingly, a Conservative Party supporter, and like all good Conservatives he takes the long view. ‘Very simply put,’ he says, ‘after the Second World War the avant garde became the establishment. That meant that no one was poking fun at the establishment any more because they approved of it.’

So is it a conspiracy? ‘Absolutely not. I don’t want to give the impression that there’s some plot going on. It’s just become impossible not to be a socialist within the artistic community these days.‘ He recalls emerging from drama school in the Seventies and realising he didn’t fit in. ‘Suddenly being young meant being left-wing, because if you were to the right you were a boring old fart.’ And that, he says, has not changed despite changes in government. The problem, he says, isn’t too much theatre from the left: it’s a simple lack of it from the right. ‘There’s something profoundly non-intellectual about it. Any reasonably free society must allow for a range of views, and we don’t have that.’

Interesting stuff. And reminiscent of an article penned earlier this year by David Michael Phelps for Religion and Liberty:

But here we reach a very crucial point, the point where we see that handing ideas to the Artist is not the same as handing them to the Propagandist. For the Propagandist, the message is the focus, the party line is towed without falter, and as a result, the Propagandist seldom produces Art of lasting persuasive power. For the Artist, the vehicle of the message – that is, the Art itself – is the focus, and this is precisely why Artists are so much more convincing in their work than Propagandists: Propagandists so concentrate on the water that they attend less to the holes in the bucket. Artists concentrate on making great buckets, often concerning themselves less with the contents.

Likewise, conservatives may be more apt to produce propaganda when they attempt to create Art because their ideas are often more sound than the liberal (in the modern sense) alternative and they have less need for – and therefore less incentive to learn – Story. Liberals can indulge themselves in shoddy Syllogism, because they make up for the lack with good Storytelling. But this doesn’t excuse conservatives from falling off the other side of the horse.

There a popular saying that suggests “If you are a liberal when you are young, you have no heart. If you aren’t a conservative when you are old, you have no head.” But I see no reason why must we lack one to have the other. We should have, and must communicate with, both. We must add Story to our Syllogism, adding emotional punch to our reason. After all, Socrates taught with syllogisms, and Jesus with parables.

With a background in ministry and journalism (complementary vocations?), Ray Nothstine joins the Acton Institute this week as Associate Editor. He will be working on Acton’s Religion & Liberty (new issue just out) and shepherding the monthly Acton Notes publication. And, of course, weighing in on the PowerBlog.

Ray Nothstine (pronounced NOTE-stine) holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Mississippi and a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary, which he received in 2005. He gained ministry experience at churches in Mississippi and Kentucky. Earlier, he was a staff assistant for Congressman Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) in Gulfport in 2001-02. The son of an Air Force officer, Ray has lived in such places as Okinawa, Egypt, Hawaii and now … Grand Rapids.

He began his writing career as a student and has continued as an intern and free-lancer for a number of publications and organizations, including the Institute on Religion and Democracy. IRD, you may recall, recently elected PowerBlogger John Armstrong to its board. See some of Ray’s work on the IRD site here and here.

Welcome Ray!

The Summer 2006 issue of Religion & Liberty is now available. This issue focuses on the relationship between virtue and success. Looking at this question from several different perspectives – from an economic to a Biblical point of view – we convey that a virtuous society will best satisfy the requirements for liberty and free, and effective, markets.

Inside This Issue:

The Economy of Trust: R&L interviewed Kenneth Arrow, a Nobel Prize and National Medal for Science winner, on the value of morality and religion in markets. Kenneth Arrow poins out that morality, ethics, and religion all help to fill in the gaps that are inherant in markets. Markets require ethics and morality, virtues such as honesty and trust, in order to function efficiently. “Religion calls for a sense of responsibility to the other, which the market, in principle, doesn’t have,” says Arrow.

Trust and Entrepreneurship: Raymond J. Keating, an economist and columnist, talks about the neccessity of trust in a marketplace that would flourish. Keating systematically explains need for trust between businesses, consumers, and the government. If trust breaks down, between business and the government then it becomes doubtful that contracts will be enforced or private property protected. If trust breaks down between business and consumers, consumers will not buy products. Looking at the neccessity of trust, Keating then argues that a re-evaluation of the “big-business” trusts of the 19th century is in order – as they were a “fantastic example of entrepreneurs who served consumers well.”

Second-Career Clergy and Parish Business: R&L interviewed journalist Jonathan Englert, author of The Collar: A Year of Striving and Faith inside a Catholic Seminary, the story of five seminarians through one year of education. The seminary that Englert examines is specifically geared towards men who have begun discerning their vocation later in life, many who came to the seminary from business backgrounds. R&L, always seeking to insersect religion and economics, examines the approach that a business-person turned priest may have when addressing the “business” of a parish.

The Dividends of Social Capital: Michael Miller, director of programs at the Acton Institute, explores some of the ideas presented in Francis Fukuyama’s Trust: The Social Virtues and The Creation of Prosperity. Private property and rule of law, states Miller, are essential for free and prosperous economies. But “social capital,” specifically the existence trust, is also essential.

Defending the Weak and the Idol of Equality: This article is taken from a lecture delivered by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., at the Pontifical North American College in Rome as part of the Centesimus Annus Lecture Series. In it, Dr. Morse explains the social teaching of the Roman Catholic church in regard to equality, specifically its teaching regarding care of the poor. Dr. Morse explains that the Catholic church advocates for defense of the weak and those in poverty, rather than the socialist tendency to turn “equality” into an idolatrous extreem embraced by the state.

Anders Chydenius (1729-1803)

In the Liberal Tradition – Anders Chydenius:

The more opportunities there are in a Society for some persons to live upon the toil of others, and the less those others may enjoy the fruits of their work themselves, the more is diligence killed, the former become insolent, the latter despairing, and both negligent.

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