appalachiaTelevision evangelist Pat Robertson is certainly known for saying provocative things, and he’s done it again.

When Robertson’s co-host, Wendy Griffith, said not all families could afford to have multiple children, Robertson replied, ‘That’s the big problem, especially in Appalachia. They don’t know about birth control. They just keep having babies.’

‘You see a string of all these little ragamuffins, and not enough food to eat and so on,’ he said, and it’s desperate poverty.’

(more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, August 1, 2013
By

Happy Birthday, Milton Friedman: Champion of Educational Freedom
Brittany Corona, The Foundry

On the late, great, Nobel Prize–winning economist Milton Friedman’s 101st birthday, it is fitting to remember his legacy of school choice and continue the fight for educational opportunity he left for us.

My “Success” Story: What I Learned from Jesus and John Wooden
Tyler Castle, Values & Capitalism

Our culture tells us two hopeful, but also damaging, lies about success. They are: 1) “If you work hard enough, you can be anything you want to be;” and 2) “You can be the best in the world.”

Why U.S. International Religious Freedom Policy Fails
George Weigel, First Things

According to Dr. Farr, “it would be difficult to name a single country in the world over the past fifteen years where American religious freedom policy has helped reduce religious persecution or to increase religious freedom in any substantial or sustained way.”

C.S. Lewis and the Three Enemies of Work
Elise Amyx, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

While most of us don’t know what it feels like to cram for an exam while bombs are exploding in the distance, we can all relate to feeling that our work isn’t very important from time to time.

DetroitInstituteoftheArts2010B

In today’s Acton Commentary, “It’s Time to Privatize the Detroit Institute of Arts,” I look at the case of the DIA in the context of Detroit’s bankruptcy proceedings.

One of my basic points is that it is not necessary for art to be owned by the government in order for art to serve the public. Art needn’t be publicly-funded in order to contribute to the common good.

In the piece I criticize Hrag Vartanian for this conflation, but this view is in fact pretty common and well established. In the Journal of Markets & Morality, David Michael Phelps reviews Art in Public: Politics, Economics, and a Democratic Culture by Lambert Zuidervaart (Cambridge, 2011), which as Phelps puts it, concludes that “direct subsidies are warranted both in terms of the government’s responsibilities and society’s needs.” Phelps ably dissects the numerous problems and complications with such a view.

The case of the DIA and the various responsibilities of public and private entities certainly is complex. As Graham W. J. Beal, the DIA’s director, put it in the NYT yesterday, the DIA’s situation is “singular and highly complicated.”

(more…)

HOPE_logo_vert_color-251x300In an interview with Forbes‘ Jerry Bower, Peter Greer, president and CEO of the the Hope International, explains why church foreign aid programs often hurts those its meant to help:

Greer: There’s an entrepreneur named Jeff Rutt, and after the fall of the Soviet Union he had a desire to go over with his church and help. So, initially they did what people so often do, which is see that people don’t have food and then send over food, and see that people don’t have adequate clothes for the harsh Ukrainian winter and then go in their closets and send things over. And all of that is good, all of that is appropriate, all of that is needed in response to a crisis. But as Jeff did that, after a couple of years it was the team in Ukraine that eventually said—“

Bower: “Your help is hurting.”

(more…)

It’s true: the middle-class is growing, globally. Here in the U.S., we keep hearing dire warnings about a shrinking middle class, but not across the globe. Alan Murray, president of The Pew Research Center, says the world is MiddleClass_10_0

witnessing its third great surge of middle-class growth. The first was brought about in the 19th century by the Industrial Revolution; the second surge came in the years following World War II. Both unfolded primarily in the United States and Europe.

(more…)

contraceptive pillsTwo different federal appeals courts have issued opposite rulings on whether Obamacare can force company owners to violate their religious beliefs by providing contraception and abortifacients to their employees.

A divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled that a Pennsylvania cabinet-making company owned by a Mennonite family must comply with the contraceptive mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act.

The majority said it “respectfully disagrees” with judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver, who recently narrowly found just the opposite. A split in interpreting federal statutes is usually an invitation for the Supreme Court to resolve the issue.

The court noted that there are numerous rulings that held corporations have free speech rights, but said there was a “total absence of caselaw” to support the argument that corporations are protected by the Constitution’s guarantee of free exercise of religion. Apparently, the court thinks that only part of the First Amendment applies to corporations.

(more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
By

Do Christians Need to Be Better Economic Stewards?
Joy Pullmann, Values & Capitalism

“How can we help our neighbors?” If we are to take the parable of the talents seriously (and I don’t think it applies just to wealth), responsible Christians will look to multiply what we have, because careful stewardship pleases God and so we can give to others.

Why You & Your Kids Need to Understand Economics: Government Spending
Thomas Purifoy, Compass Classroom

Here’s an obvious question: why do all those state governments want an additional 50 billion dollars from you and me? We both know the answer: so they can spend it.

What is Social Justice? From John Paul II to Benedict XVI
J.J. Ziegler, Catholic World Report

“Two crucial and intimately related areas of pastoral life [are] the family and the promotion of social justice,” he said. “Indeed, the defense and promotion of the family, the heart of every society, is a preeminent task facing all those committed to the pursuit of social well-being and justice.”

The Best Way to Help the Poor
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Scripture is clear that not only are we called to care for the poor, but we will be judged on whether we did. How do we best carry out this call?