Every Wednesday we publish the Acton Commentary, a weekly article that covers topics related to Acton’s mission. As 2012 comes to a close I thought it would be worth highlighting the superb commentaries that have been produced by Acton Institute staffers over the past year.

The following list includes articles published in 2012 by Dr. Jordan J. Ballor, Acton research fellow and executive editor of the Journal of Markets & Morality:
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Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, December 27, 2012
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Charity Begins With Wealth Creation
John Stossel, Reason

Charity—helping people who have trouble helping themselves—is a good thing two times over. It’s good for the beneficiary and good for the donor, too.

UK: A ‘Dad’ is Tenth Most Popular Christmas List Request for Children
Hannah Furness, The Telegraph

A ‘dad’ is tenth most popular Christmas list request for children with youngsters happy to forgo the latest iPad, toy or new pet, a survey has found.

America’s Declining Economic Freedom
Brian Brenberg, Values & Capitalism

What do Estonia, Bahrain, Finland and the United Arab Emirates have in common? According to the Fraser Institute’s 2012 “Economic Freedom of the World Report,” they are among the latest countries to surpass the United States in economic freedom.

Americans Recognize Obamacare’s Religious Liberty Problem
Sarah Torre, The Foundry

Americans see the problem with the religious liberty violation at the leading edge of Obamacare implementation, according to a new poll released by Rasmussen Reports.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
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Every Wednesday we publish the Acton Commentary, a weekly article that covers topics related to Acton’s mission. As 2012 comes to a close I thought it would be worth highlighting the superb commentaries that have been produced by Acton Institute staffers over the past year.

The following list includes articles published in 2012 by Dr. Samuel Gregg, director of research at the Acton Institute:
(more…)

Every Wednesday we publish the Acton Commentary, a weekly article that covers topics related to Acton’s mission. As 2012 comes to a close I thought it would be worth highlighting the superb commentaries that have been produced by Acton Institute staffers over the past year.

The following list includes articles published in 2012 by Rev. Robert A. Sirico, co-founder and president of the Acton Institute:
(more…)

The video below of a second grade teacher in Providence, RI reading his letter of resignation has recently gone semi-viral with over 200,000 views on YouTube.

What I would like to offer here is an Orthodox Christian critique of the anthropological assumptions that separate this teacher from the “edu-crats,” as he terms them, who in his district so strongly championed standardized testing-oriented education at the exclusion of all other methods and aims. (more…)

Albrecht Dürer - Study of the Christ Child - WGA07039In this day after Christmas edition of Acton Commentary, I take a look at the message the Christ child brings to us, particularly in terms of promoting a culture of birth. In “The Hopes and Fears of All the Years,” I note that “Where evil leaves us speechless, God speaks the Word of hope and salvation.”

The Italian greeting Buon Natale captures this a bit better than the English, “Merry Christmas.”

It struck me that this Christmas season, especially given all of the violent tragedies we’ve seen in America over recent weeks, was a wonderfully appropriate time to reflect on the hope of this birth for our world. The Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck writes evocatively that “the holy family is the example of the Christian home.”

Very often the “culture of life” and the “culture of death” are juxtaposed, but I want to point to particular aspect of that juxtaposition. Life and death are in some sense not precisely coordinate; if by death we mean the point of departure from this world (and in the traditional Christian understanding) the separation of the soul and the body, then the time of birth and death are in some sense more precisely related.

It’s no secret that the developed world in general, and more recently the United States in particular, faces some serious demographic challenges. Much of this has to do with the absence of a culture of life in general, and a culture of birth in particular. The causes are indeed complex; but in a profound way they are spiritual rather than merely economic or political.
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Blog author: ehilton
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
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All good people are concerned about the plight of the poor, and there are a multitude of ways to address this. The umbrella of “social justice” seems to get bigger every year, with Millenium Development Goals, the ONE campaign, and a host of other foreign aid projects that seek to remove the scourge of abject poverty. However, many of these projects overlook one fact: foreign aid doesn’t work.

As PovertyCure‘s Michael Miller has said,

While there are some success stories, aid has been largely ineffective. Now why is that? John Paul II said that “The primary fault of socialism was anthropological in nature.” What he meant was, socialism failed because it got the person wrong. Well, I would argue that aid failed because it gets the person wrong.

Leslie Eastman, of Legal Insurrection, echoes this sentiment in a recent blog post addressing the so-called “fiscal cliff”, stating that the answer to our economic woes is the church, with its focus on subsidiarity, and on the free market. She writes:

Mark Meckler, noted national Tea Party spokesperson and founder of Citizens for Self Governance, recently attended a dinner at the Acton Institute.  The Acton Institute works to promote a free and civil society” characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles.”  A great deal of their efforts are directed at highlighting the benefits of free market to clergy.

“It’s inspiring to know that the Acton Institute exists and is working to effect cultural change in the clergy surrounding the issue of free markets and free societies,” said Meckler.  “The founder of Acton, Father Sirico has written the best book ever on the morality of a free market.  His new book, Defending the Free Market; The Moral Case for a Free Economy, presents a clear and convincing case that a free economy promotes charity, selflessness, and kindness and is the surest route to a moral and socially–just society.”

Knowing that economic justice IS social justice is one step closer to alleviating poverty. Thank you, Legal Insurrection, for helping to spread the word.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
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12 killed in attacks on two churches in Nigeria
CNN

At least 12 people died in northern Nigeria when attackers raided two churches during Christmas Eve services, police said.

Religious Freedom as a Christian Doctrine
Rick Plasterer, Juicy Ecumenism

That traditional Christian doctrine and morality curtails freedom has been a common theme in the ongoing controversy concerning religion and society in the western world.

Artists, Entertainers and Academics
Wesley Gant, Values & Capitalism

It is all too often that the case for capitalism is made in the wrong way to the wrong audience.

Creativity, Purpose, & Freedom: Three Poverty-Fighting Tools
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

We were created by God to do special things. We are more fully alive in Christ when we are actively, obediently using the gifts he gave us.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, December 24, 2012
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Charity for Our Scrooges
Braxton Boren, The Gospel Coalition

Dickens’s masterpiece speaks powerfully today to a nation divided along lines nearly as deep as the class divisions in Scrooge’s London.

Christmas and the Scandal of Particularity
Brett Bertucio, First Things

The greatest sin, according to the dominant cultural mentality, appears to be this claim to particularity.

Christmas in Bethlehem
OCP News

Israel has taken measures to ensure a safe environment, smooth access and movement for the many worshippers and tourists who come to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem.

Christmas skirmishes as old as Puritans
Joseph Bottum, Washington Times

In truth, Christmas has always been something that would devour the world, if allowed. How could it not?

Field Guide to the Hero's JourneyYou don’t have to wait till Christmas to get your present from the Acton Institute. Just head over to Amazon and get a your free Kindle download of the new book, A Field Guide to the Hero’s Journey.

The book, co-authored by Jeff Sandefer and Rev. Robert Sirico, has been called a “the modern ‘how-to’ for entrepreneurs working on accomplishing big things” by Andreas Widmer, and is a terrific book not only for adults but for young people.

The Kindle edition will only be free on Amazon until the end of this weekend, so get your copy soon.