The Acton Institute’s 2007 book Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition offers insight on Jewish theology as it connects to creation and our place in the world. The following list provides seven key quotes from “The Spiritual Nature of Human Work,” an essay in the book written by Jewish scholars.

1. The religious Jew has much appreciation for the beauty of nature. We are filled with gratitude for these natural treats to our senses that are also natural treats to our senses that are also natural resources vital to the human race. In fact, a collection of benedictions is part of every religious child’s early-learned faith arsenal. From the earliest age, Jewish children smilingly utter the benediction for a rainbow upon seeing this arc in the heavens. When seeing a beautiful tree, the ocean, hearing thunder, and for many other manifestations of God’s world, we say a fervent “thank you.”

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Blog author: jcarter
Monday, June 29, 2015
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Who is the philosopher who holds so much influence over Pope Francis?
Matthew Schmitz, Washington Post

“Laudato Si,” Pope Francis’s letter on the environment, has captured the world’s attention, but few have considered how heavily it draws on the work of a little-known German philosopher-priest.

The tangled web of low-income housing tax credits, the Fair Housing Act, and disparate impact
Alan D. Viard, AEI

On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project that the Fair Housing Act authorizes lawsuits to challenge housing policies that have a disparate impact on racial minorities, even in the absence of discriminatory intent. As Justice Alito’s dissenting opinion explained, the Court’s holding is not supported by the text of the Fair Housing Act.

How a Supreme Court decision for gay marriage would affect religious institutions
David Masci, Pew Research

As the Supreme Court prepares to release its decision on gay marriage, some legal scholars and others are trying to determine how a ruling granting same-sex couples a constitutional right to wed might affect religious institutions. It’s a question on the minds of the justices too.

How the Supreme Court Housing Decision Will Hurt, Not Help, Poor Americans
Hans von Spakovsky, The Daily Signal

The news about the Supreme Court’s abysmal decision in King v. Burwell, in which the majority assumed the job of Congress and rewrote an unambiguous provision of SCOTUSCare (formerly Obamacare) to change it, obscured the release of a second, similarly awful opinion by the court today.

Since its publication in 2007, the Acton Institute’s Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition has been one go-to source for religious thought on environmental stewardship. The following list gathers information from “A Biblical Perspective on Environmental Stewardship,” an essay from the book that offers the Christian perspective on humanity’s place in nature.

1. God, the Creator of all things, rules over all and deserves our worship and adoration (Ps. 103:19—22).

2. The earth, and, with it, all the cosmos, reveals its Creator’s wisdom and goodness (Ps. 19:1—6) and is sustained and governed by his power and loving kindness (Ps. 102:25—27; Ps. 104; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3, 10—12). Men and women were created in the image of God, given a privileged place among creatures, and commanded to exercise stewardship over the earth (Gen. 1:26—28; Ps. 8:5).

3. The image of God consists of knowledge and righteousness, and expresses itself in creative human stewardship and dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:26—28; 2:8—20; 9:6; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10).

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The U.S. Supreme Court decided today that it is unconstitutional for a state to declare that marriage is only between one man and one woman. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires states to redefine marriage, but the Court decided that the Due Process Clause prohibits defining marriage as it has been defined for millennia just as it found a right to an abortion in the same Due Process Clause over 40 years ago.

The role of the Court is to rule on the merits of a case based on prior case law and the Constitution. The Court is not to legislate or find ways to make something legal that they personally believe is better for society. When the Court removes an issue from the realm of democracy and imposes its will based on what it perceives as the best public policy, there is a natural resentment that occurs from the people and states opposed to the ruling, particularly when such a ruling has no real basis in constitutional law.

“Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law,” writes Chief Justice John Roberts in his dissent. “Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept.”

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ssm-caseThe Supreme Court issued its ruling today on the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states. (You can find our explainer article on the case here.)

Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court, which was joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Roberts filed a dissenting opinion, in which Scalia and Thomas joined. Scalia also wrote an opinion that was joined by Thomas. Thomas also filed a dissenting opinion that was joined by Scalia. And Alito filed a dissent that was joined by Scalia and Thomas.

In the ruling and four dissents—which total 103 pages—there are dozens of interesting and important quotes. Here are 50 key passages you should know about.

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The following quotes come from Dominique Rey’s book Catholicism, Ecology and the Environment: A Bishop’s Reflection, published in 2013 in the Acton Institute Christian Social Thought Series.

1. The current ecological crisis is first of all metaphysical. A confused understanding of the depth of being of things and a lack of respect for reason stands in the way of a correct understanding of the relationship between God and the world.

2. A distinctly Christian ecology must be theological and based on a vision of the world as creation that came out of the hands of God. This supernatural vision allows the recognition in creation of the Creator’s face and makes possible the definition of the ontological status of the universe. The world is not God.

3. This world, this universe, had a beginning and it is distinct from the Creator.

4. In the final analysis, the ecological crisis that we are going through comes from the fact that man has lost the just place that was his in nature that, originally, was made good by God. Ultimately it will be possible to seek to restore this lost harmony only through profoundly changing man’s heart.

5. In its breadth and in the omniscient logic of its laws, God’s wisdom permits us to glimpse something of his Creator Spirit. The earth and everything it contains reflects the beauty and glory of God. “It is a wondrous work of the Creator containing a grammar which sets forth ends and criteria for its wise use, not its reckless exploitation.” [Benedict XVI]
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Blog author: bwalker
Friday, June 26, 2015
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The Pope, the Globe, and the Facts
Cal Thomas, Townhall.com

Is it worth radically altering our economies and lifestyles and giving government even more power over us for a climate change faith that has not been fully debated and is problematic at best and wrong at worst?

The Pope’s “Science Advisor” Is an Atheist Who Worships the Earth
The Rush Limbaugh Show

The word for it in the story that I found, one of the most credible stories, is a pantheist, which is a variation of atheist. A pantheist is somebody that believes the earth is a living organism that has the equivalent of a brain and reacts to horrible things done to it by humans.

U.S. has the strategy to back up Pope’s climate change appeal
The Lowell Sun

What’s the most efficient way of reducing harmful emissions? MIT Energy Economics Professor Christopher Knittel shows that revenue-neutral surcharges on emissions are far more efficient than present regulations. Present laws require new cars to be more fuel-efficient. For instance, electric cars get the equivalent of 100 mpg.

Heed the pope’s call for action on climate change
James Corbett, Seacoast Online

In contrast to the Pope, the President, and the majority of the American people, however, climate deniers and their allies in Congress are still trying to block public health and environmental safeguards. On the day the encyclical was released, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced a bill aimed at dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean Power Plan, which sets the first ever federal limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. It’s time for polluters and their congressional allies to stop trying to block action on climate, and start working to protect our public health, our environment, and our future.

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What was the same-sex marriage case that was decided by the Supreme Court?

The Supreme Court issued its ruling on the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, which is consolidated with three other cases—Tanco v. Haslam (Tennessee); DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan); Bourke v. Beshear (Kentucky). These cases challenged two issues concerning whether the Fourteenth Amendment must guarantee the right for same-sex couples to marry.

o-SUPREME-COURT-BUILDING-facebookWhat issues was the court asked to decide?

The two issues that were answered in this case are:

1. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?

2. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

These are known as the “marriage” and “recognition” questions, respectively. The Court answered both in the affirmative.

What did the Court rule?
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Mark Tooley, President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, reacts to the recent encyclical from an evangelical perspective:

The climate change issue is portrayed by the activists as being a moral issue and they put themselves forward as defenders of the oppressed and the poor around the world.  But, in fact, it is the poor, especially the extreme poor, who are the most arguably in need of increased access to what, at this point, only fossil fuels can provide.

See his full statement in the video below:

As an economic leader brought up in Argentina, Alejandro Chafuen, president of Atlas Network, gave his perspective on Pope Francis’s eco-encyclical at Acton University last week: