Blog author: jcarter
Monday, October 21, 2013
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Victory Is Now Final For Louisiana Monks
Institute for Justice

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects State’s Petition Seeking To Overturn Landmark Constitutional Victory

Amid New Attacks, Egypt’s Copts Preserve Heritage
Hamza Hendawi, AP

The little known Anba Bishay Church offers a striking example of how Egypt’s Orthodox Coptic Church jealously guards its heritage against formidable odds.

The Next Human Rights Revolution
Chen Guangcheng, Public Discourse

Renowned human-rights activist Chen Guangcheng calls on American citizens to recognize that China’s barbaric violations of human dignity threaten justice on a global scale. Americans must take practical, immediate actions, no matter how small, to abolish these atrocities.

Private Citizens Need To Fight Poverty
James Velasquez and Dantan Wernecke, Doublethink Online

The future demands society takes social welfare seriously, and that means taking it away from the bumbling hands of politicians and technocrats.

james lee burkeEvery artist, whatever the medium, is a pale example of our Creator God, and the best artists know that. James Lee Burke, whose novels are full of violence and glimpses of evil, seems to be an unlikely candidate for drawing attention to “God’s thumbprint” in our world, but he consciously does just that.

In an interview with PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, Burke talks about how religion (specifically his Catholic faith) plays a role in his writing. His primary character is Dave Robicheaux, a Louisiana cop and alcoholic. (more…)

ENERGY COMPANIES DRILL FOR OIL IN THE NIOBRARA FORMATION IN NORTHEASTERN COLORADOThere is much nostalgia about America’s agricultural past that many seem incapable of releasing. But the reality is forcing a new narrative about the family farm. In an era of globalization and government subsidizing large agribusinesses, family farmers have no choice in the near future but to diversify the use of their land and do something that is actually profitable. In the light of these realities, family farming is slowly becoming more of a hobby than a means of making a serious contribution to the U.S. food supply. The farmland owned by families in the past must continue to be developed for new and better uses if families want to still remain connected to that land.

For example, the New York Times today reports on the growing trend of North Dakota farms opening their land to oil drilling in order to remain viable. John Eligon reports that North Dakota family farmers, Mike and Kim Sorenson, receive royalties from oil that is produced on their land and from allowing drilling, which accounts for about 10 percent of their income. In fact, North Dakota has slowly become the second-largest oil producing state in the country and helped the state build a surplus of more than $1.6 billion. With this growing industry comes all of the ancillary markets needed to maintain oil production like waste management. North Dakota farmers with land that is drilled for oil are now wrestling with the realities that oil production requires a management infrastructure that will forever change the landscape.
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hospitalA new provision under Obamacare will fine tax-exempt hospitals via the Internal Revenue Service:

A new provision in Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code, which takes effect under Obamacare, sets new standards of review and installs new financial penalties for tax-exempt charitable hospitals, which devote a minimum amount of their expenses to treat uninsured poor people. Approximately 60 percent of American hospitals are currently nonprofit.

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noun_project_19538As the US federal government sidled up to the debt ceiling earlier this week without quite running into it, one of the key arguments in favor of raising the debt ceiling was that it is immoral to breach a contract. The federal government has creditors, both from whom it has borrowed money and to whom it has promised transfer payments, and it has an obligation to fulfill those promises.

As Joe Carter argued here, “Member of Congress who are refusing to raise the debt ceiling (or raise taxes) until their ancillary demands are met are acting immorally, since they are refusing to pay the debts they themselves authorized.”

But as Connie Cass writes, the idea that the United States has never defaulted isn’t quite true. As she writes,

America has briefly stiffed some of its creditors on at least two occasions.

Once, the young nation had a dramatic excuse: The Treasury was empty, the White House and Capitol were charred ruins, even the troops fighting the War of 1812 weren’t getting paid.

A second time, in 1979, was a back-office glitch that ended up costing taxpayers billions of dollars. The Treasury Department blamed the mishap on a crush of paperwork partly caused by lawmakers who — this will sound familiar — bickered too long before raising the nation’s debt limit.

So if it is immoral to default, then America has done so at least twice.
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Blog author: jcarter
Friday, October 18, 2013
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The Moral Challenge of America’s Pension Crisis
Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest

America’s pension crisis has crossed the line from financial challenge to moral crisis.

The Spiritual Value of Mortgage Banking
Derek Rishmawy, Reformedish

In some churches, guys are often fed the lie that unless they’re a pastor, or doing some ‘secular’ work that can be quickly linked to some moral or spiritual value, it’s 2nd-class work.

A Farmer’s Mission to Reweave Shalom
Elise Amyx, Values & Capitalism

Everything is interwoven in God’s great design. Salatin says his personal mission statement is “to develop emotionally, economically, and environmentally enhancing agricultural prototypes and facilitate their duplication throughout the world.”

What Does the Old Testament Says About Poverty and Riches?
Walter Kaiser, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

The basic thought of the Torah is that Yahweh is the protector and defender of the poor. God does not want his kingdom to have poverty, though he knows that because of sin this goal will not be accomplished until he returns.

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, October 17, 2013
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home_logoThe government shutdown and debate over the debt limit has ended — at least for now — with a rather anticlimactic denouement. A majority of Congressional representatives recognized that approving legislation was the only way to avert an economic and political crisis. So last night, they took a vote.

What is extraordinary, from a global and historical perspective, is that not only Congress but also the other branches of government, as well as a plurality of citizens, recognized that was the only legitimate option. No other extralegal option was even proffered. Sure, a few political pundits might have argued that the president should act unilaterally and ignore Congress. But hardly anyone took such proposals seriously, much less believed they would happen. Almost no one, in other words, was willing to overthrow America’s King – the rule of law.

For most of human history, the will of the ruler or ruling class was absolute. The concept of Rex Lex — the king is law – went largely unchallenged. In the 1600s, though, a new idea Lex Rex — the law is king – began to take hold. In 1644, this reversal of tradition gained traction when the Scottish Presbyterian minister Samuel Rutherford published Lex, Rex, a defense of the rule of law against royal absolutism. The idea spread, and within a hundred years, America would become the greatest example of what happens when the “law is king.”

Today, we take the concept, so it’s useful to define what it means. As the World Justice Project explains, the rule of law is a system in which the following four universal principles are upheld:
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