We’ve had a busy couple of weeks at the Acton Institute, hosting a number of events here in Grand Rapids including a couple of Acton Lecture Series presentations. The first of those came on October 15, as we welcomed John Blundell, Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs. His talk was titled “Ladies for Liberty: Women Who Made a Difference in American History,” and provided a fine overview of a the contribution that women have made to the struggle for liberty in American history. We’re pleased to present video of Blundell’s lecture below.
More: John Blundell spoke once before as part of the Acton Lecture Series, in 2011. You can view his earlier address, “Lessons from Margaret Thatcher,” after the jump. (more…)
The most recent issue of the Journal of Markets & Morality (16.1) features an updated translation of “The Moral Organization of Humanity as a Whole,” the last chapter of the Russian Orthodox philosopher Vladimir Soloviev’s major work on moral philosophy The Justification of the Good. Writing in 1899, Soloviev offers an insightful reflection on the centurion Cornelius, the first Gentile convert to Christianity (Acts 10), regarding the military vocation and the kingdom of God, appropriate to consider as we celebrate Veterans Day today:
Neither the angel of God nor the apostle Peter, the messenger of the peace of Christ, nor the voice of the Holy Spirit himself suddenly revealed in the ones converted, told the centurion of the Italian cohort that which was, according to the latest notions about Christianity, the most important and urgently necessary thing for this Roman warrior. They did not tell him that in becoming a Christian he must first of all cast away his weapons and without fail renounce military service. There is neither word nor allusion about this ostensibly indispensable condition of Christianity in the whole story, even though the point is precisely about a representative of the army. Renunciation of military service does not at all enter into the New Testament concept of what is required of a secular warrior in order that he become a citizen enjoying full rights in the kingdom of God.
While this may appear to be an argument from silence, Soloviev notes,
When Peter came, Cornelius said to him, “Now, therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things … commanded you by God” [10:33]. But in this all that God commands the apostle to communicate to the Roman warrior for his salvation, there is nothing about military service.
Taking seriously that the Apostle Peter did not leave anything out when he told Cornelius everything he needed to begin the Christian life, the omission of any command to renounce military service is a significant silence. (more…)
The Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is meeting Nov. 11-13 for their General Assembly. Out-going USCCB President, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, gave the opening address today, focusing on religious freedom.
He began on a somber note, stating that Christians are killed for their faith at the rate of 17 an hour, every day around the globe, and that more than a billion people live under governments that actively suppress their religious beliefs and expressions. Calling the Middle East the “epicenter” of violence against Christians, Dolan noted persecution is not restricted to that region. (more…)
Carroll Ríos de Rodríguez, professor of economics and politics at Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala, recently reviewed Samuel Gregg’s latest book, Tea Party Catholic in her column at ContraPoder. She begins by discussing the incorrect assumption that redistribution of property and collectivism are inherently Christian commandments stating that the concept of individual freedom actually stems from Christianity.
No sólo es posible, sino natural, esbozar una postura católica en favor del gobierno limitado, el mercado libre y el progreso, afirma Samuel Gregg en su nuevo libro, Tea Party Catholic. Los seres humanos, hechos a imagen de Dios, estamos llamados a emplear nuestra libertad para convertirnos en la mejor persona que podemos ser.
El título del nuevo libro de Gregg puede despistar. No describe al nuevo movimiento conservador llamado Tea Party, cuyos allegados protestan contra altos impuestos y una deuda fiscal desbordada. Tampoco es una mera radiografía de la cultura estadounidense, vista por un inmigrante australiano. Gregg espulga tres fuentes: documentos oficiales del Vaticano, ensayos por los padres fundadores de la república, y libros por católicos en la modernidad. Así, destila el particular aporte del catolicismo a una comprensión integral de la libertad.
(Translations mine) It is not only possible, but natural, to sketch a Catholic position in favor of limited government, the free market, and progress, according to Samuel Gregg in his new book, Tea Party Catholic. Humans, made in the image of God, are called to use our liberty in order to become the best person we can be.
The title of the new book can be misleading. It does not describe the current conservative movement called the ‘Tea Party,’ whose supporters protest against taxes and overwhelming fiscal burdens. Neither is it a mere X-ray of American culture, as seen by an Australian immigrant. Gregg pulls from three sources: official Vatican documents, essays from the founders of the Republic, and books by modern Catholics. So, he distills the specifically Catholic tradition to a more fundamental comprehension of liberty.
‘Unbroken’ is a must read book about the survival, suffering, and redemption of World War II veteran Louis Zamperini. Zamperini, a former Olympic runner, served as a bombardier in the Pacific Theatre of the war. During a search and rescue mission, his B-24 crashed in the Pacific. Zamperini, battling starvation, sharks, and Japanese Zeroes, drifted in a life raft with two others for thousands of miles. But that was just the beginning of his epic battle for survival. He was picked up by the Japanese and made a prisoner of war. After his liberation from the camp at the end of the war, Zamperini’s life spiraled out of control from alcoholism, his only coping mechanism for his horrific wartime experience and the torture he suffered.
While I was reading this book by Laura Hillenbrand, it became clear to me that Christ was the only thing that could redeem Zamperini’s life. A few years after the war, Zamperini was transformed by the power of the Gospel at a Billy Graham Crusade in Southern California. Zamperini not only forgave his Japanese tormentors but worked a lifetime in ministry mentoring the young. Zamperini, born in 1917, currently lives in Hollywood, Calif.
One of the problems in evangelicalism today is the lack of leadership. There is a lack of uncompromising voices like a Billy Graham who is pointing the country to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It’s folly to believe this country can be salvaged or reformed without a strong vibrant faith in the people. For the Christian, the remedy for sin is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not all of the substitutes for the Gospel that has flooded our culture. Even big government now promises to treat so many of the symptoms of sin by trying and failing to build a heaven on earth.
Below is a short profile of Louis Zamperini introduced by Brett Baier at Fox News. His story represents so well the courage of many of our veterans and also points to the transformation of so many lives through the crusades of Billy Graham.