Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
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Evangelicals Talking With Orthodox
Robert Arakaki, Orthodox-Reformed Bridge

Rev. Graham has been respectful of the Orthodox Church. His goal has been to bring people to faith in Christ, not establish rival Evangelical Churches as an alternative to the historic Russian Orthodox Church.

Two Clashing Orthodox Views of the Past and Future
Terry Mattingly, UExpress

The photo-op on Nov. 7 was symbolic and, for many, historic. The elder statesman was the Rev. Billy Graham, and rather than an evangelical superstar, the man who met with him at his North Carolina mountain home was Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev.

Why The American Founders Cared About Happiness
Robert Curry, The Federalist

‘The pursuit of happiness’ shouldn’t confuse people who study the American founders.

There is No Difference Between Fiscal and “Social” Issues
Mike D’Virgilio, The American Culture

Ever since I became politically and cultural aware some thirty odd years ago(!), there has been a tension among the politically engaged on the right between the more religious who tend to emphasize what are called “social issues,” and the less or irreligious who stress what are called fiscal issues.

It has become a regular occurrence at conservative publications to note the strong correlation between traditional marriage and family and higher income levels. Take, for example, Ari Fleischer, who wrote the following in the Wall Street Journal last June:

If President Obama wants to reduce income inequality, he should focus less on redistributing income and more on fighting a major cause of modern poverty: the breakdown of the family.

He continues, “One of the differences between the haves and the have-nots is that the haves tend to marry and give birth, in that order.”

Despite my traditionalist leanings, I’ve always been a bit skeptical of these sorts of editorials. For example, contrast this with Ben Steverman’s recent article in Bloomberg:

Divorce among 50-somethings has doubled since 1990. One in five adults have never married, up from one in ten 30 years ago. In all, a majority of American adults are now single, government data show, including the mothers of two out of every five newborns.

These trends are often blamed on feminists or gay rights activists or hippies, who’ve somehow found a way to make Americans reject tradition.

But the last several years showed a different powerful force changing families: the economy.

He goes on: (more…)

homelessClose to 2.5 million children experienced homelessness in the U.S. in 2013, according to America’s Youngest Outcasts. The report looks at child homelessness nationally and in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“Child homelessness has reached epidemic proportions in America,” said Dr. Carmela DeCandia, Director of The National Center on Family Homelessness at American Institutes for Research (AIR), which prepared the report. “Children are homeless tonight in every city, county and state—in every part of our nation.”

From 2012 to 2013, the number of children experiencing homelessness annually in the U.S. increased by 8 percent nationally and increased in 31 states and the District of Columbia. The states are ranked in the report using a composite of four domains: (1) extent of child homelessness; (2) well-being of the children; (3) risk for family homelessness; and (4) policy response. All states have children who are homeless.

Top and bottom ranked states are:
(more…)

globalslaveryindexThere are 35.8 million people living in some form of modern slavery, claims the Global Slavery Index. The Index is a report produced by the Walk Free Foundation, a global human rights organization dedicated to ending modern slavery.

This year’s Index estimates the number of people in modern slavery in 167 countries, and includes an analysis of what governments are doing to eradicate the this form of human suffering.

According to the Index, of those living in modern slavery 61 percent are in five countries: India, China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Russia.

(more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, November 17, 2014
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Is Economic Liberty Necessary for Religious Liberty?
Napp Nazworth, Christian Post

Can churches have religious freedom in a nation without economic freedom? This issue was explored Monday at an Acton Institute conference hosted by the Catholic University of America.

South Florida religious leaders back school vouchers
Christina Veiga, Miami Herald

Black religious leaders took to the airwaves on Tuesday to call for an end to legal challenges against Florida’s largest school voucher program.

We’ll Never Know What Big Government Has Stolen From Our Lives
Joy Pullmann, The Federalist

You often never know what you’re missing, what government has prevented and killed. Like meat, drink, and the relationships they foster.

4 charts that show how an intact family affects kids’ economic futures
Natalie Scholl, AEIdeas

Today, Brad Wilcox and Robert Lerman have a must-read piece at NRO on “what’s happening to the American family and why it matters for the health of the American Dream.” Here are four charts from their article that show that young men and women “who grow up in an intact, two-parent family have a leg up in today’s competitive economy.”

On Tuesday, the Acton Institute, along with our friends from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, welcomed F.H. Buckley, Foundation Professor at George Mason University School of Law and author of The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Goverment in America, for a lecture presentation in the Acton Building’s Mark Murray Auditorium. Buckley addressed the topic of his book, describing the increase in presidential that has occurred since the time of the founders, and which has reached its fullest flowering in the Obama Administration. You can watch the video below; if you haven’t listened already, you might be interested in the latest edition of Radio Free Acton which features an interview with Buckley.

7figuresMost countries in the world are facing a serious public health problem as a result of various forms of malnutrition, claims a new report.

The first-ever Global Nutrition Report provides an analysis on the state of the world’s nutrition. The report finds that every nation except China had crossed a “malnutrition red line,” and is suffering from too much or too little nutrition.

Here are seven figures you should know from the report:
(more…)

hLOcRIn case you hadn’t noticed, “manly Christianity” has become somewhat of a thing. From the broad and boilerplate Braveheart analogies of John Eldredge to the UFC-infused persona of the now embattled Mark Driscoll, evangelical Christianity has been wrestling with how to respond to what is no doubt a rather serious crisis of masculinity.

Such responses vary in their fruitfulness, but most tend to only scratch the surface, prodding men to spend more time with the wife and kids (good), provide more steadily and sacrificially for their household (also good), spend more time in God’s creation (also good, I suppose), and eat more chicken wings and do more Manly Things™ (debatable).

Yet as Alastair Roberts artfully explains in a beautifully written reflection on the matter, the fundamental problem is, well, a bit more fundamental. (HT)

Due to a complex web of factors, some more controllable than others, society and culture have increasingly promoted a full-pronged infantilization of modern man, driven by or paired with its increasingly hollow philosophy of love and life. Thus, Roberts concludes, “The recovery of Christian masculinity will only occur as we commit ourselves to the restoration of biblical Christianity and the recovery of the weight and stakes of its moral universe.”

I have routinely written about the challenges of raising kids (particularly boys) in an age where economic prosperity, convenience, and a host of other newfound privileges make it easier than ever to insulate ourselves from external risks and skip past formative processes that were once built-in features of existence (e.g. manual labor). When it comes to the cultivation of the soul, our character, and the human imagination, what do we lose in a world wherein work, service, and sacrifice have been largely replaced by superficial pleasures and one-dimensional modes of formation? (more…)

too many childrenSandra Fluke, the young woman who testified before Congress that she needed someone (you) to pay for her birth control, lost her bid for Senate in California. She was pushing for “progressive change,” which meant, in part, that someone (you) would be paying for lots of birth control. No one should be without. No questions asked.

Unless, of course, you want to have children – more than  your fair share. Or if you’re poor. Or not American. In these cases, there’s a problem.

Nicholas Kristof, in The New York Times, is throwing around words like “bewildered” and “nuts” when it comes to keeping certain people from getting pregnant. We simply aren’t doing enough to stop them. Globally, he says, we’re under-investing in getting birth control to the developing world. Here in the U.S., Kristof says, we need to get long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) into young people, fast. (Never mind that LARCs are more expensive in the long run and have hideous side effects for many women.) (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, November 14, 2014
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Two new studies show charter schools can work — if you give them time
Max Ehrenfreund, Washington Post

The argument for charter schools has always been based on the theory that competition is good. When teachers and principals have a chance to try new ideas, the most successful approaches will attract more students.

Germany’s Pay to Pray Scheme
Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

In Germany, as in a number of other European countries, if you are a member of a church or mainstream religion, you have to pay a pretty significant tax to the government, which distributes the money to the churches.

Why Christian Groups Lead the Biggest Relief Efforts in the World
Christopher Hale, OnFaith

Organizations like World Vision give the lie to negative stereotypes about Christian work in the world.

Minneapolis schools to make suspending children of color more difficult
Alejandra Matos, Star Tribune

Minneapolis public school officials are making dramatic changes to their discipline practices by requiring the superintendent’s office to review all suspensions of students of color.