Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, October 31, 2013
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Just How Useless is Orthodox Environmental Thought?
Fr Michael Butler

Does Orthodox environmental thought stand on claims made by non-Orthodox, Western activists and scientists?

Praise be to Soros for investing millions in Baltimore
Terry Mattingly, Get Religion

What I think is missing here — in light of Soros’ beliefs as an atheist — is a story that truly explores precisely why he wants to get involved in this kind of, to be blunt, urban ministry.

Iranian Christians Flogged for Taking Communion
Michael Avramovich, Mere Comments

Four Iranian Christians were sentenced to a flogging of 80 lashes for drinking communion wine, even as a new United Nations report strongly criticized Iran for its systematic persecution of non-Muslims.

Ecclesiastical Exceptionalism
James R. Rogers, First Things

I’d suggest that the Church is not a community, it is the community. By that I mean that there is an ontological reality to the community of the Church that does not exist for any other type of human community.

lady libertyArchbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore is one of the Chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee for Religious Liberty. He recently celebrated what is known as a “Red Mass”, an annual event throughout the church for lawyers, judges, legislators and others in the legal profession, at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Richmond, Va. In his homily, he addressed issues of religious liberty pertinent to Americans today.

First, he stressed the link between sound society and morality:

In his farewell address, George Washington famously said: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports.” (more…)

gaiaIn this week’s Acton Commentary, Ryan H. Murphy asks, “Why don’t we bat an eye when extremists hope a pagan god will smite SUV owners?”

TV Tropes, a Wikipedia-style website, catalogs many clichés of fiction, including this, which the site calls “Gaia’s Vengeance.” Some variation on this theme can be found in major Hollywood movies like The Happening, The Day After Tomorrow, and Avatar. To take a specific example, Kid Icarus: Uprising, a 2012 Nintendo 3DS video game that has sold over a million copies worldwide, features a genocidal maniac of a nature goddess whom the player-protagonist must protect humanity from even while quipping, “I have to admit, she has a valid point.”

It’s this type of attitude that makes it appear that many activists, rather than recoiling from the global warming that they see as inevitable, instead welcome its onset as a day of reckoning for the prideful men who dare emit carbon into the atmosphere. If global warming ends up never causing serious problems for human beings, it would be as if a murderer was acquitted, not the release of a collective burden.

The full text of his essay is here. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

 

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
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GOTW.102913.Libertarian-320x414There was something wrong with Zhang’s dog. The Chinese man had bought the Pomeranian on a business trip, but after he brought it home he found the animal to be wild and difficult to train. The dog would bite his master, make strange noises, and had a tail that mysteriously continued to grow. And the smell. Even after giving the mutt a daily bath Zhang couldn’t bear the strong stink.

When he could take it no longer, Zhang sought help from his local zoo in Tunkou. They informed him that the dog was not a dog at all — it was an Arctic fox, a protected rare species.

The Tea Party movement is like Zhang’s dog. For the four years, pundits and politicians have been trying to identify this political animal. Almost everyone thinks they have political movement on their hands, but as many folks recognized years ago the Tea Party “movement” is not really a movement at all. It’s a new title for something old the Republicans have ignored for a long time. A number of astute observers recognized that fact soon after the “Tea Party” movement was born.

“Having looked at the swelling of the Tea Party,” Paul Gottfried wrote in The American Conservative in 2010, “I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not a uniform movement. There are at least three different movements trying to give the impression of being one.” And as Matthew Continetti of The Weekly Standard said that same year:
(more…)

Former editor of Poetry magazine Christian Wiman struggles, like many of us, to make sense of suffering and faith. His struggle is poetic:

God goes belonging to every riven thing.

He’s made the things that bring him near,

made the mind that makes him go.

A part of what man knows,

apart from what man knows,

God goes belonging to every riven thing he’s made.

(more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
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Religious-Discrimination Claims on the Rise
Melanie Trottman, Wall Street Journal

Complaints Include Dress Codes, Working on the Sabbath, Handling Alcohol

Humility — America’s Greatest Virtue?
Emma Elliott Freire , AFF Doublethink Online

American humility is not an oxymoron. In fact, some of our country’s finest moments are characterized by humility.

Judge Who Ordered Baby’s Name Changed From ‘Messiah’ Cited by Court Panel for Religious Bias
Leonardo Blair, Christian Post

A Tennessee judge who had ordered a young couple to change their baby boy’s name from “Messiah” to something else because it is a title reserved for Jesus Christ has been cited by a court panel for inappropriate religious bias.

Capitalism’s Theologian
Mark Tooley, The American Spectator

The renowned Michael Novak, on his journey to conservatism.

birdsflock“Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allwayes together,” wrote William Turner in 1545. If he were with us today, the author might construct an interesting Venn diagram representing the activist birds scheduled to testify tomorrow before the Securities and Exchange Commission. But, rather than briefly overlapping sets of circles, the SEC witnesses for greater corporate “disclosure” comprise one giant bubble of activists seeking to circumvent the U.S. Supreme Court Citizens United ruling, including Laura Berry, executive director, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.

Berry joins a gaggle of like-minded individuals who somehow think the country benefits from forcing “publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending,” according to a joint Public Citizen’s Congress Watch/Columbia Law School Public Affairs media advisory. Among Berry’s peeps clamoring for tightening SEC rules are Heidi Welsh, Sustainable Investments Institute; Pat Doherty, Office of the New York State Comptroller; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). (more…)