Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Persistent rumours suggest Hagia Sophia will be turned into a mosque
Nat Da Polis,

Increasingly, rumours are circulating about the future transformation of the Cathedral of Saint Sophia into a mosque.

The National Council of Churches & the March on Washington 1963
Mark Tooley, Juicy Ecumenism

During this week’s 50th anniversary commemoration, the National Council of Churches recalled its role in the August 1963 March on Washington, most famous for Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Christians and Nationalism in the Middle East: A Brief History
David T. Koyzis, First Things

Centuries ago followers of Jesus Christ were in the majority in the region, even after the Muslim Arab conquests and possibly as late as the fourteenth century when the tide turned in favor of Islam.

How Catholics Can Save Our Dying Civilization
R. J. Snell, Crisis Magazine

Even before joining the Church, I was tantalized and impressed by the Christian Humanism of Catholicism. Here was a faith that included great intellectuals and great mystics, magnificent works of art in exalted buildings and works of mercy in the most humble of settings, the work of spirit and the work of human hands.

WIPFSTOCK_TemplateOver at Capital Commentary, Byron Borger has a review of Jordan Ballor’s new book, Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action):

Although his book is not simple, he is a fine popularizer, writing serious material in sometimes playful ways, with the occasional nod to pop culture, drawing on themes from Deadwood or Lost or a contemporary novel. The book is neither introductory nor scholarly. Readers of journals such as First Things, Cardus, or The Journal of Markets & Morality (for which he serves as the executive editor) will most appreciate the four long essays in this volume. Ballor often cites, with unusual insight, the work of Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Bonhoeffer, and Kuyper.

Read more . . .

PovertyCure, an international coalition of more than 250 organizations and 1 million individuals (the Acton Institute is a founding partner), is seeking entries for their International Short Film Festival, slated for December 12, 2013 in New York DRCity.

Guidelines for the film festival may be found here. With $30,000 in prizes, PovertyCure is seeking short films (25 minutes or less in length) that “push the boundaries” of thinking about poverty and ways to alleviate it. Since PovertyCure’s vision of poverty alleviation runs against the grain of foreign aid and international “hand-outs”, the organization is looking for creative narrative, documentary, and music video films that also demonstrate new, innovative ways of seeking solutions to global poverty. By looking above and beyond the traditional way of responding to poverty and international crises that stem from poverty, film-makers are encouraged to visualize new ways of tapping into human potential, illustrating not only what helps lift humans from poverty, but also what impedes poverty alleviation.

Films may be submitted via With the code 2WG2BWF, Acton PowerBlog readers can submit without having to pay the entry fee ($30 for non-students, $25 for students.) Entries must be made by September 9, 2013, with a late deadline of September 30, 2013. Again, all information regarding the PovertyCure Short Film Festival can be found by visiting their page.

As noted here last week, Obamacare is seen by some as an elitist system of health care, rather than the equalizing force it purports to be. This week, the news is that the nation’s unions aren’t happy with how Obamacare is shaping up for them, obamacare waiverand the Obama administration is scrambling to find new ways to entice them to publicly support the Affordable Health Care Act.

Richard Trumpka, president of the AFL-CIO (the nation’s largest labor union), is saying that the Obamacare plan wasn’t thought through well enough, and is stepping back from fully backing the plan. He wants to see the 30 hour work week endorsed as full-time under the plan, mainly to help workers in industries like fast food. According to The Washington Times:

Critics of the law say the 30-hour cutoff has forced fast-food chains and other employers to trim employees’ hours to keep them at part-time status and avoid penalties tied to the law’s employer mandate, which requires companies with 50 or more full-time workers to provide health coverage or pay fines.

“That is obviously something that no one intended,” he [Trumka] said during a wide-ranging interview hosted by the Christian Science Monitor in Washington.


Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, September 3, 2013

protestant-work-ethic-Over 100 years ago sociologist Max Weber coined the term “Protestant work ethic” to describe how in some Puritan-based Protestant traditions hard work and frugality are a constant display of a person’s salvation in the Christian faith, in contrast to the focus upon religious attendance, confession, and ceremonial sacrament in the Catholic tradition. Many people (including me) think Weber’s thesis is fundamentally flawed. Nevertheless, Protestants do seem to have a peculiar and unique relationship with work.

As researchers at the University of Groningen found, Protestants seem to be particularly susceptible to the emotional strain of being unemployed.


The topic of mankind’s “dominion” over God’s created order is one that has been misunderstood by entire generations of Americans in the last half century. Many conscientious people of faith worry that the traditional Judeo-Christian values system in the West has dropped the ball when it comes to the environment and our usage of natural resources. While there are more than a few grains of truth in these charges, the emotional appeal of being on the side of Mother Nature can take its intellectual (and eventually, moral) toll on even the most sincere of Believers.

Let’s take a quick look at what Scripture has to say about all of this.

Genesis 1:26-28:


Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Private Schools Increase Political Knowledge and Reduce the Danger of Political Indoctrination
Ilya Somin, Volokh Conspiracy

The evidence suggests that political knowledge is higher among students who attend private schools, even after controlling for various demographic variables such as race and family income.

The Church and the Syrian Refugees
William L. Patenaude, Catholic World Report

“We don’t help people because they are Catholic … We help people because we are Catholic.”

There are better anti-poverty tools than the minimum wage
James Pethokoukis, AEI Ideas

Raising the minimum wage may not be a policy idea deserving of the passion it generates. It’s not a well-targeted, poverty-fighting weapon.

Why Humility Matters for Faith, Work, & Economics
Hugh Whelchel, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

The Apostle Paul tells Timothy that the Holy Scriptures prepare God’s people to be “thoroughly equipped for every good work.” That includes not only what we do on Sunday, but also what we do at our offices, in our homes, and in our communities throughout the rest of the week.