“Let’s embrace all work with the understanding that we are making contributions that carry eternal significance,” says Anne Bradley. “The only way we can live this out is if we have a framework for understanding why our work is so important to God.”

That framework includes freedom, fulfillment, and flourishing. To help understand this framework, the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics has put together three short videos that illustrate each point.

Freedom: “We need an environment that provides us the freedom to pursue our callings, thrive in our work, and that reflects the inherent dignity of every person,” says Greg Ayers.

Fulfillment: God is pleased and we are more fulfilled when we work hard everyday at whatever task he has set before us.
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The religious shareholder activists over at As You Sow, Clean Yield Asset Management, and Trillium Asset Management are all abuzz over a commitment made by General Mills to adhere to the White House Pollinator Health Task Force strategy on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides (hereafter referred to as neonics). AYS submitted a proxy shareholder resolution to the Minneapolis-based cereal giant this past spring, seeking:

Shareholders request that, within six months of the 2015 annual meeting, the Board publish a report, at reasonable expense and omitting proprietary information, on the Company’s options to prohibit or minimize the use of neonics in its supply chain.

Proponents believe the report should include:

Practices and measures, including technical assistance and incentives, provided to growers to avoid or minimize the use of neonics to pollinators; and Quantitative metrics tracking key crops that are grown from seed pre-treated with neonics, and the specialty crops in General Mills’ supply chain that depend on pollinators.

AYS and the other investment groups fear that neonics are the hypothesized culprit behind colony collapse disorder, the unexplained phenomenon of bees leaving their hives never to return. However, the theory that neonics caused CCD remains extremely hypothetical, and research reveals honeybees are doing quite well, thank you very much, as long as they avoid riding in trucks. In fact, American Council on Health and Science reports that “There are 81 million commercial honeybees in the world, and each hive contains about 50,000 bees.” (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
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Seattle CEO Praised for Raising Employees’ Salaries to $70K Now Says He’s Struggling to Stay Open
Ray Nothstine, Christian Post

The CEO of a Seattle-based credit card processing company who promised employees an automatic salary of $70,000 is now renting out his house to try and keep the company afloat.

Why The Little Sisters of The Poor Are Right to Be Concerned About Their Religious Freedom
Elizabeth Slattery, The Daily Signal

The Obama administration continues its persistent attack on the Little Sisters of the Poor following their challenge to the Obamacare abortion drug mandate.

Lawmakers to demand full accounting on human trafficking report
Alex Wilts and Matt Spetalnick, Reuters

Senior U.S. lawmakers expressed concern on Tuesday about whether the State Department’s annual global report on human trafficking may have been watered down due to political considerations and vowed to demand a full accounting at a Senate hearing this week.

Why Conservative Governors Are Embracing Criminal Justice Reform
John G. Malcolm, The Daily Signal

It used to be that, like entitlement spending, criminal justice reform was a third rail in politics—touch it, and you could be sure that your next opponent would run a commercial saying you were “soft on crime.” It was a one-way ticket to “Loserville.”

Blog author: bwalker
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
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US Democratic leader Pelosi calls papal encyclical an asset in climate change
Fox Business

Pelosi said Pope Francis’ encyclical “really made an important impression on the world” and noted that citizens “who might reject a policy initiative spoken by a government official in the United States, really cannot ignore his holiness Pope Francis on the subject.” Pelosi made the comments Monday during a visit to the Milan Expo 2015 world’s fair focusing on food security issues, and as President Obama prepared to unveil later in the day new regulations demanding steep greenhouse gas cuts from U.S. power plants.

Obama says climate change a danger to future generations, national security
Fox News Latino

Obama also said Monday that, as Pope Francis made clear in his encyclical on climate change, the fight against this global problem is “a moral obligation.”

US President Obama unveils Clean Power Plan
Vatican Radio

The Clean Power Plan is widely seen as the cornerstone of President Obama’s desire to secure a global treaty at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this December, an event which Pope Francis’ recently-released Encyclical Laudato si’ also seeks to influence.

Heartland Daily Podcast – Craig Idso: Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change
H. Sterling Burnett, Somewhat Reasonable

Burnett and Idso discuss the work of the center in general and in particular his response to the Pope Francis’s comments and encyclical on climate change. In his recently released paper, “Stewardship and Sustainable Development in a World of Rising Atmospheric CO2: A Biblical Perspective on Humanity’s Relationship to the Biosphere,” Idso agrees with the Pope that we must be concerned with making the world a better place for present and future generations. In contrast to the pontiff, however, Idso argues increased CO2 and continued, broadened use of fossil fuels is the way to accomplish that goal.

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tip-logoThere are more slaves today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In fact, there are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, with an estimated 21 million in bondage across the globe.

Modern-day slavery, also referred to as “trafficking in persons,” or “human trafficking,” describes the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.

Every year since 2011, the State Department releases the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, a congressionally mandated report that looks at the governments around the world (including the U.S.) and what they are doing to combat trafficking in persons through the lens of the 3P paradigm of prevention, protection, and prosecution.

Countries are ranked in tiers based on trafficking records: Tier 1 for nations that meet minimum U.S. standards; Tier 2 for those making significant efforts to meet those standards; Tier 2 “Watch List” for those that deserve special scrutiny; and Tier 3 for countries that fail to comply with the minimum U.S. standards and are not making significant efforts. As Reuters explains,
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Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
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Many people believe that market economies create a dog-eat-dog environment full of human conflict and struggle. But as Prof. Aeon Skoble explains, the competition in markets encourages people to cooperate with one another for mutual benefit.

(Via: Cafe Hayek)

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
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Ex-Im and Planned Parenthood: Where are Our Priorities?
Casey Mattox, The Federalist

Boeing donates to Planned Parenthood, and is the primary beneficiary of Ex-Im. The Senate has voted to continue funding both.

Is the Government Playing Politics With Human Trafficking Rankings?
Jennifer Teng, The Weekly Standard

Cuba, Malaysia rewarded by the State Department.

Major U.S. metropolitan areas differ in their religious profiles
Michael Lipka, Pew Research

The religious face of America is largely a Christian one, with roughly seven-in-ten Americans belonging to that faith. But some of the nation’s biggest metropolitan areas have a very different look.

A Libertarian View of Francis’ Laudato Si
Donald Devine, Library of Law and Liberty

A fragile planet with limited resources means a zero-sum situation in which the richer deprive the poor majority of necessities. Even where serious commitments have been made by the West to reduce carbon emissions, the richer nations are unwilling to confront the underlying problem of consumerism among their populations.

If you want to see what happens when a government fails its basic responsibilities of maintaining law and order, read this fine and saddening piece by Detroit Free Press columnist John Carlisle, “The last days of Detroit’s Chaldean Town.” In it you’ll encounter the fraying of the town’s social architecture built around faith, family, work, and government.

At a conference a few weeks ago I was involved in a discussion about the ‘worst’ jobs we had ever had. Mine was cleaning the meat room at a grocery store run by four Chaldean brothers in an area just a bit further east of Chaldean Town. I worked at a “training wage” for the better part of a year, I think, while in high school. I didn’t mind transferring out to make a bit less bagging groceries.

Joseph Sunde has written a fair bit on how “hard work cultivates character.” Earlier today I was reading through a classic speech by the famed American pastor Russell Conwell, which includes this bit of wisdom: “There is no class of people to be pitied so much as the inexperienced sons and daughters of the rich of our generation.” Conwell’s point was that the rich most often attained wealth by working smarter and harder. But “as a rule the rich men will not let their sons do the very thing that made them great,” thereby depriving them of the very same experiences that enabled the creation of wealth in the first place. This is actually as true for the moderately rich as it is for the extremely wealthy. As Michael Novak has put it, “Parents brought up under poverty do not know how to bring up children under affluence.”

So even though I hated that job cleaning the meat room at the Chaldean market, which closed some years later, I was sad to see it go and I’ll always carry those experiences with me and try to pass their lessons along to my own children. The rise and fall of Chaldean Town also has some things to teach us about flourishing at the community level.

Blog author: bwalker
Monday, August 3, 2015
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Are Pope Francis’ views on climate change costing him supporters?
Sabrina McLaughlin, Patheos

“Laudato Si” was heralded in advance of its release by many of the national progressive Catholic organizations and thinkers I have come to admire (the Franciscan Action Network, NETWORK, Father James Martin, S.J., etc.), and it is still bring promoted and discussed online and in the media. When I attended mass in the weeks following the release of Laudato Si, I was expecting to hear this highly anticipated teaching referred to and passed on to the people from the pulpit. However, I was disappointed when other topics took precedence in the homilies that I heard during those masses. Laudato Si and its pressing message and urgent call to action seemed to be ignored.

Pope Francis sides with climate change
Ray Johnson, Press Republican

In late June, Pope Francis issued a 184-page encyclical, “Laudato Si.” This was not a spur-of-the-moment decision but evolved over many months, with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences playing a leading role.

Pope politics: How the ‘Francis factor’ could upend 2016
John Gehring, MSNBC

A pope who denounces “trickle down” economics and insists climate change is an urgent moral issue is recalibrating a values narrative in U.S. politics that in recent years has been off kilter. Less than two months before the pope visits the United States and becomes the first pontiff in history to address Congress, a “Francis factor” could prove to be one of the most intriguing storylines of the 2016 election.

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The Rains Came - Beginning of the Flood Vittorio Bianchini (1797-1880/Italian)No, it’s not a regular flood. It’s a flood of immigrants – some legal, some not. Europe is getting swamped; what’s the damage going to be?

The American Interest reports that the Italian Coast Guard rescued almost 2,000 people over the weekend, bringing the number of immigrants to Italy this year alone to 90,000 (170,000 last year). The financial strain for Italy and other EU nations is becoming more and more apparent.

Many of the migrants keep making their own way to the more economically vibrant north. This in turn creates the kind of dysfunctional political dynamic on display between France and England in recent days, where the migrant crisis festering in Calais has seen as many as 5,000 migrants each day for the last six days try to force their way across the Eurotunnel by hiding in trucks and boarding trains. Eurotunnel authorities warned over the weekend that increased security at Calais, promised by both French and British ministers, would only displace the problem to other, less well-guarded ports.

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