On this edition of Radio Free Acton, Acton Institute Director of Research Samuel Gregg and Director of International Outreach Todd Huizinga discuss the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, the strain that the crisis is putting on the European Union, and what the likely long-term impact of the crisis will be. You can listen to the podcast via the audio player below.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Free Market: It’s Like Uber, But for Everything
Robert Tracinski, The Federalist

If it sometimes seems like it’s impossible to restore the free market, as if every new wave of government regulation is irreversible, then consider that one form of regulation, which is common in the most dogmatically big-government enclaves in the country, is being pretty much completely dismantled before our eyes. And it’s the hippest thing ever.

A Millennial’s Take on Godly Civil Disobedience
Bryan Ballas, Juicy Ecumenism

So was Kim Davis in the right? To answer this question we must approach the issue from two angles: the authority of government and the duty of the Christian in the face of unjust orders.

Right To Work 2.0: A Vision For New Business And Economic Growth
Jay Caruso, Opportunity Lives

Big business loves regulation because it prevents competition. Amazon, Home Depot, Best Buy, and other big online retailers support an Internet sales tax because smaller online retailers will have difficulty complying.

Seven-in-ten people globally live on $10 or less per day
Rakesh Kochhar, Pew Research

Following his election in March 2013, Pope Francis wasted little time in conveying his great unease with the state of global poverty and inequality.

US-government-shutdownAre we headed for a government shutdown?

Probably not—at least not for a few more months. The Senate is voting today on a “clean” stopgap spending measure that will fund the federal government until Dec. 11. The House is expected to also approve this bill.

What does a “clean” measure mean?

After a Congressional committee has amended legislation, the chairman may be authorized by the panel to assemble the changes and what remains unchanged from the original bill and then reintroduce everything as a clean bill. A clean bill may expedite Senate action by avoiding separate floor consideration of each committee amendment.

The amendment that was stripped was a provision to defund Planned Parenthood. Although it was supported by most conservatives in Congress, as the AP reports, eight Republicans did not support that measure, leaving it short of a simple majority, much less the 60 votes required to overcome the filibuster. (A recent poll found that by a margin of almost two-to-one (60 percent to 32 percent), the public says any budget agreement must maintain funding for Planned Parenthood.)

Why do we seem to be under a threat of a potential government shutdown every fall?

Blog author: bwalker
Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Professors dialogue about the Pope’s encyclical
Courtney Becker, The Observer

“At the intersection of science and religion, you can’t just jump into any modern document and think that it can be taken entirely at face value,” [David Lodge, professor of biology and director of the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative]said. “You want to think about how the scientific community … might react to such a document. The history of the interaction between Christianity and science has been, to say the least, a little fraught on occasion.”

Red-Blue America: What should Americans have learned from Pope Francis?
Ben Boychuk, Duluth News Tribune

Pope Francis isn’t a politician, an economist or a climatologist. He is first and foremost a priest and a pastor of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. Americans, Catholic and Protestant alike, forget that too easily.
True, Pope Francis discusses politics, economics and the climate in confounding ways. He really doesn’t understand the way free markets work. He’s listening to some highly misguided people about global warming. And as his visit with Fidel Castro showed, Francis isn’t as outspoken in the face of tyranny as was his predecessor, Saint Pope John Paul II. But Francis is neither anti-American nor a Marxist. Some conservatives sound like fools when they accuse the pontiff of being something he’s not.

College professor will speak about Pope Francis at Wallingford Public Library
Mary Ellen Godin, Record-Journal

Francis has been criticized by those who deny the established science of human-caused climate change. Other critics have denounced the letter as akin to communism and anti-technology. Some conservative Roman Catholics view the encyclical as an interference with secular politics. “He’s not anti-science,” Bourgeois said. “Nobody is proposing we go back to the Stone Age; we can’t treat capital markets and technology as though they are going to solve all of our problems.”


darksuit_590Your writer has identified a surefire, two-word mantra guaranteed to elicit shrieks of terror and the rending of garments from the left: “Citizens United,” shorthand for the Supreme Court decision that overturned the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002. The runner-up spot is reserved for the phrase “dark money,” which are trigger words for private donations from individuals and corporations.

Despite all the phony-baloney rationalizations the left hurls at private donations and limits, there’s nothing really to be concerned about. Our Republic will not crumble because of Citizens United or even dark money.

First, however, let’s give the left a turn at the podium. The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (formerly the Social Investment Forum) is only one group of activist investors getting their knickers in a twist over Citizens United and Dark Money – and they’re joined by “religious” investment activist groups Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility and As You Sow, which, as we know by now, subscribe more to the church of liberal ideology than they do anything remotely cosmological. This from the SIR publication: “Confronting Corporate Money in Politics:” (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Taxing Churches Would Marry Church And State
Paul R. DeHart and Kevin Stuart, The Federalist

Saying government can tax religious organizations affirms the sovereignty of state over church.

Bulgaria should not let more migrants in, Orthodox Church says
Sofia News Agency

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has announced it will help migrants who have arrived in Bulgaria, but has urged authorities not to let any more migrants in.

What the four previous popes had to say about socialism
Mark J. Perry, AEI Ideas

Pope Pius XI further emphasized the fundamental opposition between Communism and Christianity, and made it clear that no Catholic could subscribe even to moderate Socialism.

How We Should Help the Poor Escape Poverty
Collette Caprara, The Daily Signal

The Census Bureau’s most recent poverty data was released last week and, predictably, vast expenditures on anti-poverty programs have not budged the numbers: more than 45 million Americans are living in poverty.

Blog author: bwalker
Monday, September 28, 2015

Jeb Bush on Pope Francis’s Calls to Fight Climate Change: “He’s Not a Scientist”
Tina Nguyen, Vanity Fair

Bush dismissed the Pope’s words. “Put aside Pope Francis on the subject of any political conversation,” he said, before turning the subject back on his true nemesis, Barack Obama. “I oppose the president’s policy as it relates to climate change because it will destroy the ability to re-industrialize the country, to allow for people to get higher wage jobs, for people to rise up.”

U.N. chief: Listen to Pope Francis on climate action
Ban Ki-moon, CNN

Pope Francis, in his recent encyclical, clearly articulated that climate change is a moral issue, and one of the principal challenges facing humanity. He rightly cited the solid scientific consensus showing significant warming of the climate system, with most global warming in recent decades mainly a result of human activity. And he has emphasized the critical need to support the poorest and most vulnerable members of our human family from a crisis they did least to cause, but from which they suffer most.

Pope Francis Gives Catholics Permission To Be More Vocal About What They Already Know To Be True
Jeremy Deaton, ClimateProgress

When it comes to global warming, Pope Francis is meeting American Catholics where they are. An analysis from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication conducted before the release of the pope’s encyclical found American Catholics are more likely than the general public to think climate change is happening. And, while fewer than half of non-Catholic Christians in the U.S. are worried about climate change, nearly two-thirds of American Catholics are concerned about the problem.American Catholics are also more likely to understand the scientific consensus around climate change and to support pro-climate policy than the American public at large. Hispanic Catholics are particularly likely to favor action to address climate change.


Blog author: jcarter
Monday, September 28, 2015

Spicy-Chicken-Sandwich-Vibrant-1024x768In 1958, Leonard Read published his brilliant essay, “I, Pencil.” Read’s original essay was written from the point of view of the pencil and the humble writing implement explains why it is as much a creation of God as a tree.

Since only God can make a tree, I insist that only God could make me. Man can no more direct these millions of know-hows to bring me into being than he can put molecules together to create a tree.

For Christians the idea that God creates trees is uncontroversial since that claim is made directly in Genesis 1:12. But where do we get the idea that God creates pencils? I believe it comes from a few verses later, in Genesis 1:28, when God blesses mankind . . . and then puts us to work.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (ESV)

In the Reformed tradition, this command is often referred to as the “cultural mandate.” As Nancy Pearcey explains in her book Total Truth:

kickstarter1Several years ago, as a music student in college, I remember hearing constant complaints about “lack of funding for the arts.” Hardly a day would go by without a classmate or professor bemoaning the thin and fickle pockets of the bourgeoisie or Uncle Sam’s lack of artistic initiative.

Little did we know, a shake-up was already taking place, driven by a mysterious mix of newfound prosperity, entrepreneurial innovation, and the market forces behind it. The digital revolution was beginning to level the playing field and drain power from tanks and banks of all kinds, from the Hollywood execs with dollar signs in their eyes to the aesthetically enlightened cronies at the National Endowment for the Arts. Despite the many prophecies of a creative apocalypse, a bottom-up revolution was taking place.

Amid the sea of new technologies and tools that were soon to emerge — streaming music, streaming movies, ebook publishing — crowdfunding rose as a powerful path to creative independence: artistic, economic, and otherwise. Leading the pack is Kickstarter, with success stories abounding, from inventors to thespians to foodies to photographers, and with routine funding results that actually surpass the NEA. (more…)

Pope Francis talks aboard the papal plane while en route to ItalyWhen Pope Francis gave addresses at the White House, Congress, and the UN, he mentioned the importance of religious freedom. But many people (including me) were rather disappointed that he didn’t speak more specifically about what sorts of religious liberties are under threat.

Once aboard the papal plane, though, it appears the pontiff provided more clarity on the issue. According to Reuters, the pope said government officials have a “human right” to refuse to discharge a duty, such as issuing marriage licenses to homosexuals, if they feel it violates their conscience.