Blog author: jballor
posted by on Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You may have seen this story a few weeks back toward the end of last year: “Some faith groups say bottled water immoral,” by Rebecca U. Cho of the Religion News Service.

The core of the story revolves around this assertion made by the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program and a number of other mainline projects: Drinking bottled water is a sin.

Cassandra Carmichael, director of eco-justice programs for the National Council of Churches, bases this claim on the assumption that bottling water by definition deprives access to a natural resource basic to human existence.

“The moral call for us is not to privatize water,” Carmichael said. “Water should be free for all.”

According to the RNS piece, “Rebecca Barnes-Davies, coordinator of Presbyterians for Restoring Creation, said bottled water companies encourage a culture in the U.S. that is comfortable with privatizing a basic human right.”

“As people of faith, we don’t and shouldn’t pretend to have ownership of any resource — it’s God’s,” she said. “We have to be the best steward we can be of all those resources.”

The foundational document for the NCC’s campaign is “WATER: THE KEY TO SUSTAINING LIFE: AN OPEN STATEMENT TO GOVERNING BODIES AND CONCERNED CITIZENS,” which presents the following false dilemma, “Water should be viewed as a gift from God for all people, not a commodity that can be traded for profit.”

The problem is that “Access to fresh water supplies is becoming an urgent matter of life and death across the planet and especially for the 1.2 billion people who are currently suffering from a lack of adequate water and sanitation.”

The lack of access to water in many developing nations is a real and serious problem (more on that here). The exploitation of this real problem by the NCC, however, is indefensible. (more…)

Blog author: dwbosch
posted by on Monday, January 22, 2007

Via Drudge, the Weather Channel "Climate Expert" is taking serious flack (check the comments) for her call to pull the credentials of any media meteorologist who doesn’t endorse the theory of human-caused global warming. The cover provided by her boss doesn’t garner any more favorable feedback.

I think people want more science from scientists and less dogma. I know I do.

UPDATE: On the other hand, this seems a little over the top.

If forecasters can’t reliably tell us what will happen in two to three months from now, why would anyone trust that they know what will happen with the weather in 50 or 100 years from now and let them tell us how to live our lives accordingly? This is all about Big Brother do-gooders trying to control how you live your life, and stripping away the freedoms and liberties of people to live their lives as they see fit, engage in commerce and raise their families.

The truth is probably someplace in between.

UPDATE: Sorry, the cartoon is doing something funny with the format. Link is here.

UPDATE: Lots more here.

Blog author: jballor
posted by on Monday, January 22, 2007

Child labor is too expensive, at least for the Grand Rapids Press. As part of “cost-cutting measures,” The Press will no longer be delivered by paperboys and papergirls under the age of 18.

According to WOODTV.com, “In a change to the way they deliver their papers to their carriers, The Press announced they will drop off their papers to depots around the city instead of at neighborhood corners. The carrier will have to go to that depot to get their bundle and then deliver them.”

This means that only people 18 and over can go and deliver the paper, presumably because of transportation and insurance concerns.

This is the headline from Zenit on January 18. "Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako, the archbishop of Kirkuk warns that a division of boundaries will lead to more conflict, with Christians caught in the middle."

“He says ‘a divided Iraq will not be a peaceful Iraq.’ …Archbishop Sako fears that possible plans for a Christian safe haven on the Nineveh plain will not succeed. He said: ‘They would have their own territory, but to be viable, the idea of a protected zone, a safe haven, which is viewed sympathetically by the Kurds and even the Americans, needs an end to the violence and remains in any event, a dangerous plan. The Nineveh plain is largely surrounded by Arabs, and Christians would serve as a useful and undefended buffer zone between Arabs and Kurds.’”

In other words, Christians would be caught in the cross-fire between Arabs and Kurds, unless something is done to curb the violence.

"According to the archbishop the best solution is religious freedom:" ‘In my opinion it would be preferable to work at the constitutional level and each area to guarantee religious freedom and equal rights for believers of all faiths throughout the land, including Christians, who can be found everywhere.’
Note: San Diego County, where I live, has one of the largest concentrations of Iraqi Catholics outside of Iraq. They are known as Chaldean Catholics, and they use Aramaic as their liturgical language. That is the language Jesus Himself used. It would be a shame for Iraqi Christians to be purged from their country.

Cross-posted at my personal blog.

Acton senior fellow Rev. Gerald Zandstra comments on the first 100 hours of the new legislative session in this Associated Baptist Press article by Robert Marus.

Zandstra had previously examined one of the core planks in the House leadership agenda, raising the federal minimum wage, in a recent Acton Commentary, “Minimum Wage and Common Sense.”

Blog author: kschmiesing
posted by on Thursday, January 18, 2007

Higher education is one of those areas—like health care—in which prices are so out of whack because of so many distortions in the market that it’s hard to know just how to go about rectifying the situation.

Richard Vedder, a great economist who has done pathbreaking work on the causes of the Great Depression, offers an incisive analysis of a Democratic proposal to lower student loan interest rates. It serves as an excellent case study in the law of unintended consequences.

By the way, the bill, which was voted on yesterday, passed.

This is one of the images I see on days I drive home from school:




Yes, that’s a shared storefront for a health spa featuring “rub downs” and “American” girls, along with an adult “super store.” Nothing untoward about that connection. Nope, nothing at all.

And even though it touts “American” girls, this parlor isn’t located in a country like Thailand, which was noted by the US State Department as “a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor.”

In a statement in 2004, Mohamed Y. Mattar, Co-Director of the Protection Project of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, talked about cases in which “massage parlors have been shut down after it was discovered that they were fronts for houses of prostitution. The women working in those establishments did not have massage therapist licenses and traveled from New Orleans to Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, New York, Biloxi (Mississippi) and Grand Rapids (Michigan) to engage in prostitution.”

And as the icing on the cake, these shops are located on this street:




The adventure in cognitive dissonance leading to a street named “Division” to become the site for honoring Martin Luther King Jr. is a whole other story. At least they got one thing right: MLK is “above” division.

Blog author: sgrabill
posted by on Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Duncan Foley’s new book, Adam’s Fallacy, is the latest installment among the critics of free-market economics to spin economic history according to the received wisdom of today’s Center-Left intelligentsia. Lest this statement be too harsh, let it be shown that Foley himself reports that his intention in writing the book is not to get bogged down in historical and textual analysis of the key economic texts of the last three-hundred years but to tell his own “imaginatively reconstructed” account of the broad sweep of modern economic history.

If you tend to be a “splitter” as opposed to a “lumper” where historical figures and key texts are concerned, you should heed Foley’s admonition and be warned that Adam’s Fallacy is his “own take on economics and exploits the great figures in the history of political economy shamelessly for [his] own ends.” If your ends don’t happen to match Foley’s ends, then you may find yourself disgruntled like me. But, at the very least, you can take heart that you were warned twice, once by Foley and once by me.

Blog author: dphelps
posted by on Wednesday, January 17, 2007

There is no ordering of the state so just that it can eliminate the need for a service of love. Whoever wants to eliminate love is preparing to eliminate man as such.

Deus Caritas Est

Last weekend I had the joy of sharing in a special meeting in Newport Beach, California, that was appropriately named the Issachar Project. This small project is the work, primarily, of my friend Andrew Sandlin of the Center for Cultural Leadership. Andrew is convinced that there must be an intellectual and existential coalition of (1) Christians working in Hollywood and elsewhere in the film industry and (2) serious Christian thinkers in the arts.

You may recall that the sons of Issachar are described in the Scriptures as “men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). Their number was small but their impact was great. This unique gathering included men and women, mostly under forty. The purpose of this group was not to form a “think tank” but rather to explore the neglected dimension of knowing God through beauty and imagination, in other words to explore how we know him incarnationally, not merely intellectually.

Most of the invited participants at this unusual meeting were film and television script writers, producers, teachers of the arts and reviewers. We heard four presentations on subjects like how Genesis 1 provides a storyline for narrative, how we should understand Acts 17 as it relates to the Mars Hill context of our times, and why we should watch films in the first place. Brian Godawa, author of the outstanding, and highly recommended new book Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films With Wisdom & Discernment (InterVarsity Press), was a major contributor to the event, as was Jack Hafer, who produced the fantastic feature film, “To End All War.” (more…)