Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
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Pope tells Christians to put aside their divisions
Associated Press

Pope Francis has led a prayer service in a Rome basilica attended by representatives of Orthodox, Anglican and other Christian communities in hopes of healing centuries-old divisions.

On “Shark Tank,” Income Inequality, and the Glory of Entrepreneurship
Owen Strachan, thoughtlife

It has struck me in my limited viewings of “Shark Tank” that this wildly popular show offers a nice response to the quandary of “income inequality” so frequently discussed today.

Conservatives and the Constitution
Rob Schwarzwalder, Public Discourse

Conservatives must resist the temptation toward “big-government conservatism.” Easy acceptance of extra-constitutional federal powers betrays the philosophical roots of the conservative movement.

A Sustainable Solution to Poverty
Lord Brian Griffiths, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

What’s the best way to help the poor without trapping individuals in a cycle of dependency? It’s not aid. Not philanthropy. Not even straightforward commercial activity.

indexThe Think Thanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania has just published their seventh “Global Go To Think Tank Index.” This report takes almost a full year to compile and  looks at almost 7,000 think tanks worldwide and ranks them in 47 categories. Their website states that “the purpose of the rankings is to help improve the profile and performance of think tanks while highlighting the important work they do for governments and civil societies around the world.”

The Acton Institute was named in four categories:

  • 34th in “Top Think Tanks in the United States” (same as last year)
  • 11th in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks” (up from 13th in 2012)
  • 10th in “Best Advocacy Campaign” (19th in 2012)
  • 17th in “Best Think Tank Conference” (new category)

The “advocacy campaign” refers to Acton’s initiative PovertyCure, an international network of organizations and people looking towards free market entrepreneurial solutions to poverty.  Acton sponsors a number of events throughout the year including, Acton University, Toward a Free and Virtuous Society, Thriving Churches, Flourishing Communities, and Liberty and Markets. Acton’s largest event, Acton University, is a four-day conference held each June in Grand Rapids exploring the intersection of virtue and individual liberty. The event consists of lectures and informal discussions on practical topics in free-market economics, public policy, popular culture, private charity, and entrepreneurship. In 2013, Acton welcomed nearly 900 participants (of 1,200 applications received) from six continents.

You can visit TTCSP’s “rankings page” to view the 2013 or any of the older reports. You can visit this page to see the exact timeline and process of their report. Acton’s full release is available here.

 

On iHeart Radio’s Janine Turner Show, Conna Craig of the Hoover Institution’s Institute for Children, discusses the state of foster care in the U.S. and its link with human trafficking. Craig is concerned with the fact that so many children are “missing” from the foster care system and no one has reported them missing. Many, she believes, are lured into sexual trafficking situations.

Blog author: ehilton
Monday, January 27, 2014
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How can it be that the place where free speech should be most free is now the place where free speech goes to die? “Ideological re-education,” banned books, and so-called “approved” views abound in higher education.

economic-shalom-bolt“Economics is complicated,” says Derek Rishmawy in his review of John Bolt’s new book, Economic Shalom. “Establishing a Christian approach to economics seems even more daunting a task, especially given the amount of ink that’s been spilled when it comes to a Christian approach to money and wealth.”

The primary strength of Bolt’s proposal is try to move us past the simple biblicism that tends to run rampant in these theological discussions. In the first chapter, he disposes of the idea that there is clearly one “biblical economics” that can be cleanly read off the surface of the text. He does so partially by surveying the economic thought of three major christian ethicists, Walter Rauschenbusch, Ronald Sider, and David Chilton, using essentially the same biblicistic assumptions, end up with a wide variety of contradictory economic proposals ranging from interventionist socialism to theonomic libertarianism.

Instead, he holds up the thought of Herman Bavinck, who put forward a more chastened reading of Scripture that takes into account it’s salvific purposes . . .

Instead of piling up a bunch of verses and trying to see which specific commands can be cleanly mapped onto the current political system, Bavinck proposes we recover the main spiritual purpose of the Scriptures–the restoration of fallen man to God through the Gospel. From there, humans begin to be restored to their proper relationships with each other and are enabled to begin taking up the form of life rooted in God’s creational norms. Where do we go to find those norms? Well, back to the Scriptures, but now, we don’t go looking for particular commands, but the general principles that underlie and inform them. For this reason, Bavinck won’t speak directly of a “biblical economics”, but rather an economic system that is consistent with Scripture.

Read more . . .

Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts retailer with 588 stores across the U.S. is involved in a federal lawsuit against the HHS mandate. Aided in their legal fight by The Becket Fund, Hobby Lobby wants people to know what is at stake in their fight against the federal government’s mandate that employers must include birth control, abortifacients and abortions in employee health care coverage. David Green, founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby has stated:

My family and I are encouraged that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide our case. This legal challenge has always remained about one thing and one thing only:  the right of our family businesses to live out our sincere and deeply held religious convictions as guaranteed by the law and the constitution. Business owners should not have to choose between violating their faith and violating the law.

In addition, the company has released this video:

hosp3-e1380055370914“It was extremely unwise of Obama to take on the Little Sisters of the Poor,” says Robert P. George, “They are simply too strong an opponent. What was he thinking?”

Prof. George was commenting on the fact that on Friday the Little Sisters received a permanent injunction from the Supreme Court protecting them from the controversial HHS mandate while their case is before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals:

The injunction means that the Little Sisters will not be forced to sign and deliver the controversial government forms authorizing and instructing their benefits administrator to provide contraceptives, sterilization, and drugs and devices that may cause early abortions (see video). The Court’s order also provides protection to more than 400 other Catholic organizations that receive health benefits through the same Catholic benefits provider, Christian Brothers.

“We are delighted that the Supreme Court has issued this order protecting the Little Sisters,” said Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund. “The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people–it doesn’t need to force nuns to participate.”

Read more . . .