Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
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Chimpanzees Are Not Entitled to Human Rights, New York Court Says
Elizabeth Barber, Time

The chimpanzee at issue is not entitled to a writ of habeas corpus allowing him freedom from his cage.

Not Just a Rape Culture: The University’s Rape System
Greg Forster, Public Discourse

Only political reform can fight the system that protects rapists on college campuses.

The Case for Religious Freedom
Zenit

“Where any of these fights on religious freedom are going to go, will in great part depend upon whether people of faith will stand up and speak now, or will they sit in silence. The outcome is up to you”

Unholy row as nativity scene ban divides France
Anne Penketh, The Guardian

Court orders council in La Roche-sur-Yon to dismantle crib, after complaint from secular campaigners.

online predatorReligious believer or not, most of us agree that we should take care of the downtrodden. We have to feed and care for the homeless, the hurting, those who’ve temporarily hit hard times or those who, for whatever reason, cannot take care of themselves. These are the people who gather at the entrances of soup kitchens, who live atop garbage heaps, who salvage whatever they can for a shelter to call home.

What about those who live in the “cyberslums?” How do we minister to them? (more…)

A prototype with DC appliances connected.

A prototype with DC appliances connected.

[Note: See this introduction post for an explanation of gleaner technology.]

Forty percent of the world’s population, including a significant portion of the rural and urban poor sections of the population in India, does not have access to reliable electricity supply. But a new energy source for them could come from an unlikely source: the 50 million lithium-ion laptop batteries are thrown away in the U.S. every year.

According to MIT Technology Review, researchers at IBM Research India in Bangalore found that at least 70 percent of all discarded batteries have enough life left to power an LED light at least four hours a day for a year:

(more…)

ferguson_t580The events in Ferguson, MO and the tragic death of Eric Gardner have brought a variety of tensions to the forefront of our thinking and to the streets of many a city. But while the ensuing discussions have ranged from politics and policy to cultural attitudes about this or that, few have noted what the events might signify as it relates to the intersection of faith, work, and vocation.

Over at MISSION:WORK, Vincent Bacote fills this gap, noting how the current response against law enforcement and the criminal justice system is fundamentally a reaction against distortions of human dignity, and thus, “the relationship of human dignity to the opportunity to do work that contributes to one’s flourishing.”

Pointing to the stewardship mandate in Genesis, Bacote reminds us that, despite America’s largely positive legacy, our country has at many times resisted “opportunity for all persons to properly express themselves as image bearers in the world of work,” particularly when it comes to African Americans. “The problems magnified by Ferguson show we have not escaped the reverberations of a society where racial discrimination was part of the structure of society,” writes Bacote, “including ways that such discrimination impeded the path to full flourishing in the world of work for African-Americans.” (more…)

Lesbian_Heteronormative_Oppression_FeministThe Federalist has published two articles recently that question whether thoughtful women still want to be labeled as “feminists.” It is not a case of, “let’s toss out our high heels and head back into the kitchen where we belong.” Rather, it’s a case of how “feminism” got high-jacked.

Leslie Loftis says we should not throw out feminism. Instead, we women need to reclaim it. She says today’s feminists are allowing themselves to be used as pawns in political games, and that “feminist” has come to mean “victim” in the minds of far too many. Loftis then quotes Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman who has spent much of her life speaking and writing about the treatment of women in Islam:

Let’s not throw away feminism. It’s like throwing away the Civil Rights movement and its history. It’s like throwing away the history of the Apartheid movement, or the anti-slavery movement. Feminism is not the monster. Some women are. We can reclaim it. We have to make it serious and you’re on the right path by standing up and giving them opposition.

I am a feminist. I am a grateful and vicious feminist. I’ll tell you what we need to fight against – the real war on women.

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3557statuechris_00000002873Those interested in reviving Catholicism’s saliency in everyday life in Latin America, says Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg, should consider how they can make Christ front-and-center of their social outreach:

It’s hardly surprising that the election of Latin America’s Pope Francis has focused more attention on Latin American Catholicism since the debates about liberation theology which shook global Christianity in the 1970s and 1980s. The sad irony, however, is that this renewed attention is highlighting something long known to many Catholics but which non-Catholics are now becoming more cognizant: that Latin America’s identity as a “Catholic continent” is fading and has been doing so for some time.

By that I don’t mean that most Latin Americans no longer identify as Catholic. That’s still the case. Indeed, in many countries south of the Rio Grande, it remains overwhelming true. But what’s clear is that Catholicism’s ability to shape Latin America’s religious context is in decline, or, from another perspective, faces some significant competitors: and not just from Evangelicals but also agnosticism and atheism.

Read more . . .

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
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Church Giving Tops $50 Billion A Year In U.S.—And Its Future Is Not A Collection Plate
Ruth Graham, Fast Company

“Churches are no different than any other operation in that they need to be relevant and convenient,” said RaeAnn Slaybaugh, editor of Church Executive magazine, who has reported on new giving options. “The difficulty is in capitalizing on a moment of generosity.”

The Basics of a Biblical Theology of Work
Amy L. Sherman, The Gospel Coalition

To inspire their flock about their daily work, congregational leaders need to start with the vital truth that work preceded the fall. This truth is foundational for faithful vocational stewardship. Work is not a result of humankind’s fall into sin. Work is central in Genesis 1 and 2.

In Seven States, Atheists Push to End Largely Forgotten Ban
Laurie Goodstein, New York Times

Maryland and six other states still have articles in their constitutions saying people who do not believe in God are not eligible to hold public office. Maryland’s Constitution still says belief in God is a requirement even for jurors and witnesses.

9 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Persecution of Christians
Rick McDaniel, OnFaith

Is discrimination against Christians an acceptable form of prejudice?

As many as 15 million children are caught up in violent conflicts around the globe, reports UNICEF. Globally, an estimated 230 million children currently live in countries and areas affected by armed conflicts.

“This has been a devastating year for millions of children,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “Children have been killed while studying in the classroom and while sleeping in their beds; they have been orphaned, kidnapped, tortured, recruited, raped and even sold as slaves. Never in recent memory have so many children been subjected to such unspeakable brutality.”

According to UNICEF, the sheer number of crises in 2014 meant that many were quickly forgotten or captured little attention. Protracted crises in countries like Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, continued to claim even more young lives and futures. This year has also posed significant new threats to children’s health and well-being, most notably the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, which has left thousands of children orphaned and an estimated 5 million out of school.

Interest-Rate-burdenUsury is the practice of making immoral monetary loans intended to unfairly enrich the lender. But what, for Christians, counts as an immoral loan?

For much of church history, any interest was considered immoral. The 12th canon of the First Council of Carthage (345) and the 36th canon of the Council of Aix (789) declared it to be reprehensible even for anyone to make money by lending at interest. But that view eventually changed, and today even the Vatican participates in modern banking.

Some Catholics have used this example to argue for other changes, such as contraception. As Jay Richards notes,
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Blog author: jcarter
Monday, December 8, 2014
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The Case for Religious Freedom
Deborah Castellano Lubov, Zenit

Especially at this time in Western nations, we’re seeing this incredible backlash … the demand that Catholic or Jewish persons surrender their consciences and serve others.

Economist’s View: ‘Maths and Morals, Economics and Greed’
Mark Thoma, Economist’s View

We need to represent markets as centres of communication and deliberation, not as competitive arenas driven by profit maximisation. The clue is in the word forum, which defined both the market place and the political centre of a Roman city.

The Cost of Amnesty
David Frum, The Atlantic

President Obama touts the economic benefits of immigration, but the rising price of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit alone could be dizzying.


Pastor Rick Warren to Catholics: ‘We Have Far More in Common than What Divides Us’

Thomas D. Williams, Breitbart

To the delight of some and the consternation of others, bestselling author and pastor of the Saddleback community megachurch, Rick Warren is endorsing closer union between Evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics.