Syrian refugees

Recently more than half the nation’s governors—27 states—have expressed opposition to letting Syrian refugees into their states. Many lawmakers in Congress are also considering legislation that would suspend the Syrian refugee program. Here is what you should know about the current controversy:

Why is there a new concern about allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S.?

According to the French government, at least one of the terrorists in the recent attack on Paris is believed to have entered the country by posing as a refugee. The concern is that through inadequate screening procedures, similar would-be terrorists may be able to enter the U.S.

What is the Syrian refugee crisis?

For the past four years, Syria has been in a civil war that has forced 11 million people— half the country’s pre-crisis population—to flee their homes. About 7.6 million Syrians have been internally displaced within the country and 4 million have fled Syria for other countries. The result is one of the largest forced migrations since World War Two.

Are all the refugees fleeing Islamic State (ISIS)?

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, November 20, 2015

Refugees: Prudence isn’t Cruel and Tokenism Is Not Virtue
John Mark N. Reynolds, Eidos

A state must act (somewhat) more prudently than an individual. A state must recognize unintended consequences to even the most charitable acts.

The human right to school choice
Wilton D. Gregory and Jim Kelly, Washington Times

Public funding for private schools would benefit everyone.

China accused of trying to ‘co-opt and emasculate’ Christianity
Tom Phillips and Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian

Secretive conference to assess future of rapidly growing faith triggers concerns Communist party may seek to bring church in line with state agenda.

Prosecute global warming skeptics?
Gene Veith, Cranach

A group of 20 scientists is urging the president to prosecute scientists and organizations that question global warming. Now a Rasmussen survey has found that 27% of Democrats agree with that approach. So do 11% of Republicans and 12% of Independents.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, November 19, 2015

Gettysburg AddressToday marks the 152nd year anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Here are five facts about one of history’s most famous — and famously brief — speeches:

1. The Gettysburg Address was not written on the back of an envelope. Despite the popular legend that Lincoln wrote the speech on the train while traveling to Pennsylvania, he probably wrote about half of it before leaving the White House on November 18.

2. Much of the language and thematic content of the speech had been used by Lincoln before. The radical aspect of the speech was Lincoln’s assertion that the Declaration of Independence — and not the Constitution — was the true expression of the founding fathers’ intentions for their new nation.

3. There are five different versions of the speech. The most widely quoted one is the oldest.

4. Now regarded as one of the great speeches of history, the address was initially greeted with criticism by many newspapers. The Democratic Chicago Times called the address “a perversion of history so flagrant that the extended charity cannot regard it as otherwise than willful.”

5. “God” is the only proper name mentioned in the speech. The name of the battle is not mentioned.

laughton-465-(1)1Today marks the 152nd anniversary of the Gettsyburg Address, the speech given by Abraham Lincoln after the battle which left 7,000 American soldiers dead and 40,000 wounded.

Given its power and permanence, it may seem strange to memorialize it by pointing to an obscure comedy film from the 1930s. But it’s one that stirs all the right sentiments.

In Ruggles of Red Gap, the great Charles Laughton plays Marmaduke Ruggles, an English manservant who has been gambled away by his master (a duke) to a pair of unsophisticated “self-made” millionaires from America (Egbert and Effie). Ruggles sails to the New World, settles in with his rambunctious new employers, and hilarity ensues. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, November 19, 2015

Corruption-bribe-5-x-7_-123rfWhen Americans think of corruption, we tend to think of third world countries where getting anything done often requires bribing local government officials. We tend not to have such problems here; our corruption is more subtle and sophisticated, and often involves state level lawmakers.

For instance, over the past few years there have seen corruption-related charges or convictions of the house or assembly speakers of Alabama (bribery, misuse of campaign funds), Rhode Island (bribery, misuse of campaign funds), South Carolina (misuse of campaign funds), and New York (bribery, fraud, extortion, etc.). The former governor of Virginia was convicted for taking a bribe and the governor of Oregon resigned because of corruption charges.

That’s one of the reasons why states need systems and laws in place that can help prevent and expose corruption. So how are individual states doing in regards to transparency and accountability?

Blog author: rsirico
Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Acton Institute lost a great friend last week.

Austin Hill

Austin Hill

I first met Austin Hill at 1997 an Acton Institute, Towards a Free and Virtuous Society conference held in Connecticut. Those conferences were designed to identify young future religious leaders with great potential. We invested well with Austin, who came to numerous of our events over the years. He would becom a radio host, author and public speaker and was most recently producing “Austin Hill’s Big World of Small Business,” a syndicated talk show about entrepreneurship and small-business ownership. The Idaho Statesman noted that Hill previously hosted “The Austin Hill Show” on KINF and was employed by, an arm of the libertarian lobbying group the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

Having been a guest on Hill’s show a number of times over the years, I recall him as informed, inquisitive and professional

Austin died unexpectedly last Friday night probably from cardiac-related causes. He was a man committed to his family, the gospel of Christ and the promotion of the free society.

The Townhall website has a more extensive account of Austin’s accomplishments and you can see some of his columns here.

Austin had many things left to accomplish in life, but the Sovereign Lord whom Austin served knew he could perhaps accomplish them better in another way.

In lieu of flowers, it is requested that gifts be sent to a college fund for his son, Graham, a high school senior. To find out more about that, click here.

Requiescat in pace.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, November 19, 2015

Scholar: Economic & Religious Freedom Are ‘Inextricably Tied’
Joseph Rossell, Juicy Ecumenism

Christians concerned about religious liberty should also passionately defend economic liberty. That’s what Dr. Jay W. Richards, a professor at Catholic University and Executive Editor of The Stream, argued during a talk at the Family Research Council (FRC) on November 12. He contended that religious and economic freedom were “inextricably tied” and demonstrated that few societies retain one without the other.

Nobel Winner Angus Deaton: ‘I Both Love Inequality and I’m Terrified of It’
Jeffrey Sparshott, Wall Street Journal

“People on left have to better understand what are the benefits of inequality and people on right have to understand better what the dangers are….It has to become properly hardwired into the American democratic debate in a way that it hasn’t really been,” he said at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council annual meeting.

Should We Pray For ISIS To Be Defeated Or Converted?
Russell Moore

Over the weekend many of us watched with horror and heartbreak as reports came of terrorism in Paris. At least 120 people were killed in what appears to be a coordinated operation by the Islamic State (ISIS), a terror organization that has murdered thousands of innocent people over the last year, including many Christians.

Report: Efforts to punish sex traffickers improving
Gaye Clark, WORLD News Service

When the advocacy group Shared Hope released its first report card on efforts to combat sex trafficking of America’s children, 26 states received a failing grade. This year’s report card, released Nov. 11, proved a surprise to Shared Hope founder Linda Smith.