Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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Prudence is a Virtue
Adam Gurri, The Umlaut

[P]rudence is a virtue, that caring for oneself and one’s closest friends and family members is as much a moral question as one’s duty to strangers, or one’s civic obligations.

Cross Purposes
Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review

What has changed since 1993 is American liberalism’s view of religious freedom.

Women’s Empowerment Starts with Economic Freedom
Charlotte Florance and Ana Quintana, The Foundry

While the status for women has improved overall, women in all corners of the world still suffer from gross injustices. In many developing countries that have laws to “protect” women, there is little enforcement.

The Common Core Is Driving the Changes to the SAT
Lindsey Tepe, The Atlantic

The recently announced redesign will bring the test in line with the standards.

On March 4, Acton’s Director of International Outreach, Todd Huizinga, participated on a panel discussion hosted by Calvin College on Ukraine and the Cold War. Huizinga focused on the EU during the discussion; he was joined by Prof. Becca McBride who focused on Russia; Prof. Joel Westra, who focused on the Global Security Implications; and  Dr. Olena Shkatulo, assistant professor of Spanish at Calvin, who is from Ukraine. The  moderator was Prof. Kevin den Dulk.


Ukraine – The Last Frontier of the Cold War from Calvin College on Vimeo.

Who is the biggest enemy of the free market system? The late Milton Friedman, one of the 20th century’s most prominent free market champions, had a surprising answer: the business community.

Economist Arnold Kling explains why support for markets and business are not the same thing:
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John Kennedy, CEO of Autocam

John Kennedy, CEO of Autocam

In today’s National Catholic Register, reporter Joan Frawley Desmond talks to John Kennedy, a Grand Rapids-based business owner of Autocam, a company that makes both precision auto parts and medical supplies. Kennedy (who is a board member of the Acton Institute) speaks candidly about his faith, his company’s future and the HHS mandate battle.

The Obama administration has sought to dismiss the merits of HHS lawsuits filed by business owners like Kennedy, arguing that free exercise and statutory religious-freedom protections only apply to individuals, not “corporations.”

While Kennedy and other HHS for-profit plaintiffs have gone to court to obtain a reprieve, Planned Parenthood has framed their legal fight as an effort to stop a threat to women’s reproductive rights. “The bosses want to deny your birth-control coverage,” announced one story on the Planned Parenthood’s website that has sparked editorials and commentary echoing its claim.

But Kennedy contends that his faith is integral to Autocam’s corporate culture and that the country actually needs more business leaders inspired by strong ethical and moral values and guided by Catholic social teaching that affirms the fundamental dignity and rights of every worker.

“I went into this with some trepidation, knowing how it was going to be painted,” he acknowledged.

“But I am more convinced now that we have absolutely done the right thing by standing up for religious freedom.”

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The Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, continue to express their views as to why the HHS mandate violates their faith. This short video highlights Green family members discussing their faith and how it informs all their decisions.

“When People Give Up Looking for Work, What Do They Do?” A Wall Street Journal story looks at the “millions of working-age men” sidelined by the economic slump, and warns that “the longer they’re out of work, the more their skills deteriorate and the harder it is to land the next job.”

“Those who can’t find work often turn to safety net programs, such as food stamps, unemployment benefits and disability — programs that have ballooned since the recession began,” the article continues. “Once people start receiving disability benefits, they rarely leave the program.”

The take home: take any ethical job. Consider self-employing yourself, offering to do work others find unpleasant. Some potential employers in your preferred career may look down on you for having done grubby work, but others will admire your willingness to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty while you’re waiting for a job in your chosen field.

The Bible condemns willful idleness and enjoins us to labor so that we can have the means to help those truly in need. If after pursuing any ethical job available, you’re still underemployed, cut your living expenses to the bone, minimize your use of the government dole, and use your idle week days to volunteer long hours doing something beneficial for society, including time on your knees in intercessory prayer.

The Christian community talks so much about pursuing your vocational passion and calling that we often neglect that gritty reality that sometimes God uses circumstances to call us into work that doesn’t use all of our talents, but instead exercises our fortitude, selflessness, and humility.

I remember when I was 22. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, March 10, 2014
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Orthodox patriarchs urge peace in Ukraine, plan first council in 1,200 years
Tom Heneghan, Reuters

Patriarchs of the world’s 250 million Orthodox Christians ended a rare summit in Istanbul on Sunday calling for a peaceful end to the crisis in Ukraine and denouncing violence driving Christians out of the Middle East.

Why 73% of Donations Go to Religious Organizations
Brian Brown, Humane Pursuits

Americans give over $300 billion to charity every year. A whopping 73% goes to nonprofits with religious ties (41% to churches and synagogues). These are hardly unknown facts, but what’s interesting about them is why.

For Catholics, The Vocation Of Business Is The Main Hope For The World’s Poor
Michael Novak, Forbes

The business vocation is the main hope of the 1 billion human beings around the world still locked in poverty.

The path to responsibility can start with a broom and a paycheck
Robert Doar , The Wall Street Journal

It is hard to be a young black male in the United States today. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for African-American men between 16 and 24 is 30.5%. That rate is more than twice what it is for whites in the same age group.