Blog author: jcarter
Monday, September 14, 2015

Why Politics Can’t Drive the Gospel
Russell Moore

One of the reasons I say that it is good for American Christianity to no longer think of itself as a “moral majority” is that such a mentality obscures the strangeness of the gospel.

Kim Davis And The Rule Of Law
Richard Samuelson, The Federalist

Kim Davis views her stand as simply one of conscience rights, but it implicates many more questions about the rule of law and the democratic process.

The US government wants more students to do apprenticeships straight out of school
Anne Quito, Quartz

US president Obama announced plans for a hefty new investment in apprenticeship programs across the country.

Economists getting Africa wrong are a warning for the rest of us
Laura Seay and Kim Yi Dionne, Washington Post

In the conclusion to his excellent new book, “Africa: Why Economists Get it Wrong,” economic historian Morten Jerven asks the question, “Do economists have a character flaw that makes them incapable of doing scholarly work on Africa?”

Blog author: bwalker
Friday, September 11, 2015

Symposium on Pope’s encyclical sparks reflections on climate change
Mike Polhamus, VTDigger

The pope’s letter has been lauded by members of the environmental movement and scoffed at by climate-change skeptics. Speakers at a symposium held by St. Mike’s, a private Catholic college in Colchester, say Francis’ environmental advocacy is not surprising, and they say the document is not solely focused on the natural world.

Pope Francis’ visit is just one ring in 2016 campaign circus — but it’s a big one
Rick Hampson, USA Today

On Sept. 24, when Pope Francis becomes the first pontiff to address a joint session of Congress, there’ll be no coup d’etat. But his first U.S. visit could be another wild card in the unpredictable 2016 presidential race, especially if he touches on controversies such as Planned Parenthood funding, global warming, immigration or the Iran nuclear deal.

14 Tompkins residents arrested in protest at Crestwood appeal to Pope Francis
Jolene Almendarez, The Ithaca Voice

Just two weeks before Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, where he is widely expected to call for urgent action to protect the world’s environment, 28 people, led by local members of the Catholic Worker Movement, formed human chains shortly after sunrise this morning across both entrances of Crestwood Midstream on Route 14.


Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico was interviewed recently for a story on WHYY FM in Philadelphia discussing the Pope’s upcoming trip to the city, and focusing on the impact of his encyclical Laudato Si’ within the Catholic Church. Sirico points out that while the Pope is correct to urge Christians to be responsible stewards of God’s creation, the inclusion of specific policy proposals on climate may prove to be unwise in the long run.

You can listen to the full interview via the audio player below.

Work-New1Originally written in 1982, Lester DeKoster’s small book, Work: The Meaning of Your Life, has had a tremendous impact on the hearts and minds of many, reorienting our attitudes and amplifying our visions about all that, at first, might seem mundane. More recently, the book’s core thesis was put on display in Acton’s film series, For the Life of the Worldparticularly in the episode on creative service.

Christian’s Library Press has now re-issued the book, complete with new cover art and a hearty new afterword by Greg Forster.

In the afterword, Forster revisits the book in light of the broader faith and work movement, noting DeKoster’s keen awareness of the struggles and hardships we often experience at work, and the hope of Christ in the midst of such struggles.

Although the book applies to every occupation and vocation — from the Wall Street executive to the independent artist to the stay-at-home mother — one of DeKoster’s primary audiences in his own life was blue-collar workers, who he routinely taught in night classes at Calvin College. “His message of hope to them is an outstanding model for our movement today,” Forster writes.

Indeed, DeKoster realized that without a proper understanding of God’s ultimate purposes, we will find ourselves trapped in a “wilderness of work,” lost and without meaning. But when we understand God’s grand design for all things, everything changes. (more…)

drowned-syrian-toddler-was-trying-to-come-to-canada-body-image-1441309587What is the Syria refugee crisis?

For the past four years, Syria has been in a civil war that has forced 11 million people— half the country’s pre-crisis population—to flee their homes. About 7.6 million Syrians have been internally displaced within the country and 4 million have fled Syria for other countries. The result is one of the largest forced migrations since World War Two.

If this has been going on for years, why is this now in the news?

Last week the images of the lifeless body of a 3-year-old Syrian refugee captured the attention of both global news sources media. The child had drowned after the 15-foot boat ferrying him from the Turkish beach resort to Greece capsized.

The images reignited a debate about whether the European Union—and other Western countries—was doing enough to aid refugees from the war-torn country.

How did this all start?

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, September 11, 2015

How Christians Can Evaluate Religious Liberty Objections
Russell Moore and Joe Carter, TGC

Here’s a standard by which we can fairly consider the claims of religious objectors.

Four Reasons Christians Should Support Kim Davis
Rick Phillips, Reformation 21

Christians have different reactions to Kim Davis. Many have criticized her for failing to perform her duty as the law requires, often citing Romans 13. But put in biblical and historical context, Christians should be supporting Davis, praying for her and rallying to her cause.

When Progressive Policies Cause Creative Destruction
Ben Weingarten, The Federalist

Since automation trends are primarily government-driven, non-elites who vote for progressive candidates are going to have an increasingly tough time.

Looking for Calvin Coolidge
Gracy Olmstead, The American Conservative

Coolidge wrote about an American populace who “want to be told the truth … The people want a government of common sense.” But do we still have that?

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, September 10, 2015

casino-package-02In 1942, economist Joseph Schumpeter coined the term “creative destruction” for the process of incessant product and process innovation mechanism by which new production units (jobs, businesses, industries) replace outdated ones.

Schumpeter said this process was the “essential fact about capitalism.” This essential fact is also one of the essential reasons people oppose capitalism. Creative destruction sounds wonderful when it’s replacing things like rotary phones with iPhones and typewriters with laptop computers. Unless, that is, you’re in business of making typewriters and rotary phones. When it’s your job, business, or industry that is being lost and replaced by innovation, it’s much harder to appreciate the benefits of creative destruction.

While we need to find ways to help those who are harmed by creative destruction, we also need to make it clear to everyone why the process is necessary and eventually helps mankind far more than it hurts. Don Boudreaux has a very helpful metaphor for explaining how the process benefits everyone in the long run: Creative destruction is like an anti-casino.

Blog author: bwalker
Thursday, September 10, 2015

Tree trunk sprouts prayerful inspiration in sculptor
Sharon Abercrombie, National Catholic Reporter

Weidner’s juniper tree encounter took place just a few weeks prior to the release of Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.”
“I was so excited, when I heard it was coming,” Weidner said in an email. “It’s a blessing to have a major spiritual leader try to wake up those in denial about the ecological impact of our global culture cultures and technology on Mother Earth.”

Catholic leaders: Reaction to pope’s climate change message mixed
Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio

“The feedback has been positive,” said Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba, adding it might have something to do with Minnesotans’ connection to nature. “We taste the beauty of the land in which we live, because we’re fishing and we’re hunting and we’re camping out and canoeing and everything.”

Why Is Politico Reporting On Climate Change Like There’s Still A Debate?
Joe Romm, ClimateProgress

Will Politico ever inform their readers there’s a big difference between those leaders who say climate change is caused by humans and those who deny it? Memo to Politico: The latter group are as scientifically wrong as those who used to say cigarette smoking isn’t harmful. The popular news outlet has perfected the “view from nowhere” style of political reporting where the only thing that matters is personalities and the horse race. A classic, if depressing, example is their piece, “The Pope vs. The Donald.”


7figuresA new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows how the geographic distribution of the poor has changed since the “war on poverty” began in 1960.

Here are 7 figures you should know from the report:

1. The nation’s official poverty rate has declined over the past half-century, from 22.1 percent in 1960 to 14.5 percent in 2013.

2. In 1960, half (49 percent) of impoverished Americans lived in the South. By 2010, that share had dropped to 41 percent.



Moses Breaking the Tables of the Law (1659) by Rembrandt.

The Supreme Court of the state of Oklahoma has approved to bring down the Ten-Commandment monument. Such decision entails an opportunity for us to ponder once again on the relation between Christianity and classical Liberalism.

We have repeatedly claimed that individual rights from the Anglo-Saxon tradition are of a Judeo-Christian, origin and that due to this, the US Declaration of Independence is fully coherent when asserting that God has endowed all men with the certain unalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. To safeguard these rights, the 1787 US Constitution was later ordained and established.

Secularists –and not Christian healthy secularity- intend to sweep all the religious influence from the public square, when confusing “public” with “state”. That a nation such as the United States should acknowledge God as the origin of individual rights, far from being a sign of intolerance towards non-believers, grants the latter their utmost liberty, by grounding religious liberty not on the whim of the ruler, but on the recognition of natural law stemming from God through human nature. The Ten Commandments are precisely those explicitly proclaimed by God in rough times, to remind men about the elemental rules of justice and the notion of the individual person, almost impossible to have risen out in the West without God’s special intervention. (more…)