Blog author: bwalker
Monday, August 24, 2015
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A new poll on climate change
National Center for Science Education

A new poll on public attitudes toward Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change included questions on the occurrence of climate change itself. Asked “Do you think that global warming is happening, or do you think global warming is not happening?” 69% of respondents said yes, 16% said no, 15% said that they were not sure, and 1% skipped or refused to answer the question.

Faith Digest, Aug. 22, 2015: Forum to focus on Pope’s Encyclical
Santa Cruz Sentinel

The free event, hosted by the Progressive Christian Forum of Santa Cruz in association with Resurrection Church, is slated for the week after Pope Francis’ address to a Joint Session of Congress, will give the larger Santa Cruz community an opportunity to reflect on the message of the pope’s recent Encyclical about environmental issues as well as his visit to the United States.

Tennessee Catholic high school teachers eager to dive into the papal encyclical
Theresa Laurence, Crux

Father Ryan High School theology teacher Brent Fernandez grows a garden at home, raises chickens, and rides his bicycle to school when he can…. On the June morning when Pope Francis released his encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” Fernandez “was like a teenager on the day their favorite band drops a new album.” He pored over it, immediately connecting with so much of what Pope Francis wrote about, formulating how he would incorporate the encyclical into his junior-level Catholic social teaching class at Father Ryan.

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missionary1Over the past 500 years, some countries have proven to be more receptive to democracy than others. What accounts for the disparity? What causes some countries to be more likely to embrace democratic forms of governance?

As empirical evidence shows, one strong predictor is the presence of Protestant missionaries.

“Protestant missionaries played an integral role in spreading democracy throughout the world,” says Greg Scandlen. “We could preserve our own if we learn from their ways.”
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Last week, the Washington Post featured an interview with Donald Trump, entrepreneur-turned-presidential candidate. Trump is clearly no fan of the pope’s comments on capitalism and free markets, and his approach to dealing with the pope on this topic is rather unique: Trump wants to scare Pope Francis.
trump cnn

It’s common for some to criticize Pope Francis’s wariness about capitalism, but Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump just took that to a new level, saying he’d try to “scare” the pope by telling him: “ISIS wants to get you.

I’d say ISIS wants to get you,” Trump said. “You know that ISIS wants to go in and take over the Vatican? You have heard that. You know, that’s a dream of theirs, to go into Italy.

I’m gonna have to scare the Pope because it’s the only thing, Trump said. The Pope, I hope, can only be scared by God. But the truth is — you know, if you look at what’s going on — they better hope that capitalism works, because it’s the only thing we have right now. And it’s a great thing when it works properly.”

The Rev. Robert Sirico, who has voiced his own concerns regarding the pope’s economic views, clearly was not impressed with Trump’s views on how to deal with the views of “the people’s pope.” (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, August 24, 2015
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Opposition to Capitalism, Even From a Pope, Hurts the Poor
Michael Rubin, Commentary

While Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the United States will be seized upon as an opportunity to critique capitalism, it would be far better if it were used to show how opposition to economic freedom does the poor great harm.

What’s Driving the Rapid Growth of Welfare Spending
Paul Winfree, The Daily Signal

The fastest growing category in many state budgets? It’s not education. It’s not infrastructure. It’s welfare spending.

New Study Shows How Free Markets is Breaking India’s Caste System
Opportunity Lives

Free markets have lifted millions of people out of poverty all over the world. Now the power of economic freedom is breaking down the oppressive caste system in India, the world’s most populous democracy.

The Role of Philanthropy in Fostering Work
David Bass, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

When we think of charity, helping someone get a job doesn’t immediately come to mind. We’re more likely to hand $20 to a homeless man, provide a holiday meal for a single mom, or donate to a local food pantry. Important as these charitable acts might be, they are geared toward meeting short-term needs. What about the long-term welfare of men and women who are struggling?

Pope Francis has started an important global discussion on the environment with the release of his encyclical Laudeto Si’, which the Acton Institute has been engaging in with vigor since it’s release, and has been ably covered as well here on the PowerBlog by the likes of Bruce Edward Walker and Joe Carter. But this isn’t the first time that Acton has waded into the debate over protecting the environment; Acton Founder Rev. Robert A. Sirico was debating Matthew Fox, proponent of deep ecology and a so-called “creation spirituality” back in 2000, and we’ve talked extensively about environmental stewardship as part of our Effective Stewardship curriculum and other publications as well.

Another recent example of Acton’s engagement with issues of environmental protection came as part of the 2014 Acton Lecture Series, as The Very Reverend Michael Butler and Andrew Morriss, Dean of the Texas A&M Law School, collaborated on a presentation at the Mark Murray Auditorium in the wake of the release of their monograph, titled Creation and the Heart of Man: An Orthodox Christian Perspective on Environmentalism. As the debate over Laudeto Si’ continues, we’re pleased to present this valuable contribution from the Orthodox Christian perspective.

Back in June, Fr. Michael Butler responded to Laudeto Si’ at Acton University. After the jump, you can hear his thoughts upon the release of the encyclical. (more…)

Blog author: bwalker
Friday, August 21, 2015
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AP survey finds only 4 in 10 US Catholics know of Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change
Associated Press

Forty percent of American Catholics and 31 percent of all adults said they were aware of the encyclical, according to the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and Yale University. Among Catholics who knew about the document, just 23 percent said they heard about it at Mass.

The Islamic Climate Change Declaration Could Be More Effective Than Pope Francis’s Encyclical
Emma Foehringer Merchant, The New Republic

Pope Francis may have soaked up headlines earlier this summer when he published a whopping 192-page encyclical on climate change, but this week Muslims issued a declaration that could influence an even larger population than the Catholic decree. The declaration, announced Tuesday as part of the two-day International Islamic Climate Change Symposium in Istanbul, further exemplifies the trend of faith-based climate activism ahead of the U.N. climate change summit in December.

Ex-minister submits proposal for climate change initiative
Alison Noone, Associated Press

Soderberg said he was emboldened by Pope Francis’ sweeping manifesto on climate change that was released in June. In the encyclical, the pope said people of all faiths and no faith are called “to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.”

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pope-rainThere has been no document by a world leader that has received more attention this year than Laudato Si.

Three months have passed since Pope Francis released his encyclical on the environment, and yet the media coverage and political commentary on it has hardly waned. Here on the Acton PowerBlog, Bruce Edward Walker has been compiling a daily list of links related to news and commentary on the encyclical. To date he has 62 posts with hundreds of links.

As the Associated Press notes, “The document had a rollout unlike any other.”

The encyclical was introduced at the Vatican by a secular climate scientist and a top Orthodox Christian leader, with simultaneous news conferences by Catholic leaders in many countries and the chiming of church bells for emphasis. Francis underscored the importance of the document by sending it to the world’s bishops with a handwritten note.

Yet despite all the hype and effort, few Catholics in the United States are even aware of the encyclical, much less know the Pope’s views on the environment:
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Americans make up around four percent of the world population and yet they control over 25 percent of the world’s wealth. What if we were to simply redistribute our wealth to the most needy people on the planet—wouldn’t that end global poverty almost overnight?

“The answer unfortunately is no,” says philosopher Matt Zwolinski. “Sharing one’s wealth with those who have less is admirable and it often helps to relieve immediate suffering. But just sharing existing wealth we’ll never be enough to lift billions of people out of poverty in a sustainable way. To understand why we need to look at history.”

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, August 21, 2015
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American Churches and the Iran Nuclear Deal
Mark Tooley, The Weekly Standard

Most church groups and prominent religious voices speaking to the Iran nuclear deal are supportive. Most notable among them is the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops.

Catholic Colleges and Planned Parenthood: New Proof of Collusion
Patrick Reilly and Justin Petrisek , Crisis Magazine

As corporations and governments face increasing pressure to cut ties with scandal-plagued Planned Parenthood, let’s not forget the obvious: Catholic colleges ought to do the same.

Kidnapping and Sex Slavery: Covering ISIS’ Religious Justification for Rape
Erika Allen, New York Times

Rukmini Callimachi has told the stories of those held as prisoners of the Islamic State before. This week, her front-page article detailed the kidnapping, enslaving and ISIS-sanctioned rape of women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority.

Walmart and other US companies are starting to feel the full effect of minimum wage increases
Shelly Banjo, Quarz

Just months after giving raises to half a million US workers, Walmart says its profits have taken a major hit.

chickfilaIf you want to sell chicken sandwiches as the Denver Airport you need to check your First Amendment rights at the gate.

That seems to be the message sent by the Denver City Council to Chick-fil-A, a fast-food chain that is seeking to open a store at the Denver International Airport. The Council is considering turning away the popular franchise because the company promotes a Christian ethic in their business dealings. This offends the Council who is worried about how it will affect LGBT rights.

No one is really concerned that Chick-fil-A will flout the city’s nondiscrimination laws and refuse to hire or serve the LGBT community. Chick-fil-A has never in the past discriminated against gays or lesbians and is certainly unlikely to start doing so now. So what is the council’s concern? That Chick-fil-A executives may express their religious beliefs or that the company may use their profits in ways the council member’s find inappropriate:
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