Blog author: jcarter
Friday, August 12, 2016

Black Pastors Are Breaking the Law to Get Hillary Clinton Elected
Emma Green, The Atlantic

According to a new survey from Pew Research Center, roughly 9 percent of people who have attended religious services in the last few months have heard clergy speak out in favor of a political candidate, and roughly 11 percent have heard clergy speak in opposition. What’s remarkable, though, is how much this is apparently happening at one particular kind of church: those run by black Protestants.

How Wal-Mart Serves the Poorest Americans
Tom Rogan, Opportunity Lives

Regularly lambasted as an enemy of working people and a destroyer of local communities, Wal-Mart isn’t exactly America’s favorite company. Yet if liberals were truly focused on raising opportunity for low-income Americans, they would shower Wal-Mart with praise.

The Pay Gap Myth and Other Lies That Won’t Die
Thomas Sowell, National Review

Rigorous research demonstrates that pay levels are determined by career decisions, not by the prejudices of employers.

Unpacking the Lies We Believe about Work (and the Biblical Truths to Counter Them)
Art Lindsley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

The culture of a workplace influences the satisfaction of the people who work there. What is culture in this context? The values, attitudes, and actions of people from the top leadership on down. And all of these things are influenced by character.

4-stages-of-wealth-building-small1Note: This is the latest entry in the Acton blog series, “What Christians Should Know About Economics.” For other entries in the series see this post.

What it means: A marginal tax rate is the amount of tax paid on an additional dollar of income.

The Explanation: What is the tax rate you pay on your current income?

For most Americans, the question is surprisingly difficult to answer. The reason we don’t know our tax rate is because we have a progressive system of taxation on income — and most of us don’t fully grasp the concept of marginal tax rates.

Fortunately, the concept is easy to understand once you get past the confusing jargon. So let’s unpack what it means.

Popeyes CEO Cheryl Bachelder

Popeyes CEO Cheryl Bachelder

Questions about what makes a good or a bad leader dominate many conversations as we approach the 2016 presidential election. Real leadership happens all around us, not just in the Oval Office. As we pulled together the various pieces for this Summer 2016 issue of Religion & Liberty, the informal theme of leadership seemed to connect all the content. For the interview, I was able to sit down with the CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Cheryl Bachelder, to discuss her unique approach to leading the casual fried chicken corporation. Rev. Robert Sirico also addresses leadership in his column as he asks the question, Where are the leaders? He reflects on the legacies of Reagan, Thatcher and John Paul II, and contemplates the qualities that make for a truly great leader. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, August 11, 2016

Here Are 7 Ways Free Trade Has Helped Michigan
Tori Whiting, The Daily Signal

In 2010, the Michigan economy was on the rocks—715,000 people were out of work, and the Great Lakes State’s gross domestic product had contracted by 7.6 percent by the time the recession ended. Today, Michigan is the comeback state, and international trade plays a vital role in its growth.

Should Christians Save for Retirement?
Randy Alcorn, Eternal Pespective Ministries

Scripture do we see God calling healthy people to stop working. So before we think about saving for retirement, we should reexamine our thinking about retirement itself.

No Regulation Without Representation
Mark Meuser, The Federalist

While the phrase “No taxation without representation” became the rallying cry, it is important to understand that people in the American colonies were upset at more than just taxation.

Christians say defeating Islamic State won’t make Iraq safe for them
Associated Press

As operations to retake the militant-held city of Mosul ramp up, Iraqi Christians displaced from the area by the Islamic State group say that even if the militants are defeated militarily, the country will not be safe for minorities, including the once-prominent Christian presence in the region.

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Although not everyone see its, technological progress has meant progress in human flourishing, notes Dylan Pahman in this week’s Acton Commentary.

To answer the Luddites, first of all we must acknowledge that there is truth to what is seen. People see workers losing their jobs due to technology. When that happens (and it does), Christians and other people of good will should not be indifferent.

However, not all people who complain about the loss of manufacturing jobs see even this. The economic nationalists who oppose trade, like Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump or Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, clearly do not. According to economist Ben Casselman, “In 1994 there were 3.5 million more Americans working in manufacturing than in retail. Today, those numbers have almost exactly reversed, and the gap is widening.” He continues to note, however, that manufacturing production in the United States is still quite strong, having more than recovered since the 2008 recession. At the same time, manufacturing jobs have not increased proportionally with that production. Why? In part because of technology. Despite their smaller numbers and the relative unpopularity of their cause, the neo-Luddites have a better case to make than the economic nationalists.

The full text of the essay can be found here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

Note: This is the second in a series examining the positions of several minor party and independent presidential candidates on issues covered by the Acton Institute. A previous series covered the Democratic Party platform (see here and here) and the Republican Party Platform (see here and here).

lplogoAlthough minor parties — often called “third parties” to distinguish them from the dominant two — have always been a part of American politics, the dissatisfaction with the Republican and Democratic parties in the current election season has led some Christians to give them more consideration. The intention of this series is to provide some basic information on where some of these parties stand on issues covered by the Acton Institute.

A couple of caveats are thus in order.

IMG_7231When we think of the intersection of work and calling, many of us think immediately of our long-term career aspirations. Despite most of us beginning our careers in some sort of menial labor, these are not the types of services or stations our culture deems significant or inspired.

Yet for the Christian, economic transformation begins where creator and producer meets neighbor, no matter the product or service. Our fundamental calling is to love our neighbor, and that begins the moment we get our hands dirty. God is glorified in all of our labor, and that includes the work of the fast-food cook or the late-night cleaning crew.

“Loving your neighbor is not just taking them soup when they’re sick,” says Pastor Tom Nelson, author of Gospel Shaped Work. “It’s making a good hamburger.” (more…)