Blog author: jcarter
Monday, July 22, 2013
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Worth Worrying About? Same-Sex Marriage & Religious Freedom
Richard W. Garnett, Commonweal

Justice Kennedy’s Windsor opinion and much of the commentary celebrating it provide good reasons to be wary and worried.

Without Morsi, Christian persecution surges
Beth Byrd, Baptist Press

At least six Egyptian Christians have been murdered in a persecution surge following former president Mohamed Morsi’s removal from office July 3.

Study: World Is Turning More Religious; Atheism Declining
Anugrah Kumar, Christian Post

A new study says the world is more religious now than it was four decades ago, and this trend will continue to 2020 and perhaps beyond even as the global share of the nonreligious is likely to witness a sustained decrease.

Poverty has moved to the suburbs
The Economist

Americans tend to think of poverty as urban or rural—housing estates or shacks in the woods. And it is true that poverty rates tend to be higher in cities and the countryside. But the suburbs are where you will find America’s biggest and fastest-growing poor population.

Hobby-Lobby-StoreAccording to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, for-profit businesses won a significant victory for religious liberty today. A federal court granted Hobby Lobby a preliminary injunction against the HHS abortion-drug mandate, preventing the government from enforcing the mandate against the Christian company.

This victory comes less than a month after a landmark decision by the full 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled 5-3 that Hobby Lobby can exercise religion under the First Amendment and is likely to win its case against the mandate.

“The tide has turned against the HHS mandate,” said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and lead attorney for Hobby Lobby.

In an opinion read from the bench, the court said, “There is a substantial public interest in ensuring that no individual or corporation has their legs cut out from under them while these difficult issues are resolved.”

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Acton Rome office director Kishore Jayabalan offers perspective on the bankruptcy filing yesterday by the city of Detroit. Jayabalan told the network that Detroit is “really a city that’s on its knees.” Failing to fix its fundamental problems, he continued, the city must now change its “political and economic” infrastructure to come back from the brink, and that right now, much of the population has “given up.”

Listen to the interview by clicking on the media player below:

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Nietzsche-e1348964402763In the Genealogy of Morals, Friedrich Nietzsche makes an interesting observation about cultural elites and how a culture defines what is “good”:

[T]he real homestead of the concept of “good” is sought and located in the wrong place: the judgement “good” did not originate among those to whom goodness was shown. Much rather has it has been the good themselves, that is, the aristocratic, the powerful, the high-stationed, the high-minded, who have felt that they themselves are good, and that their actions were good, that is to say of the first order, in contradistinction to all the low, the low-minded, the vulgar, and the plebeian. It was out of this pathos of distance that they first arrogated the right to create values for their own profit, and to coin the names of such values (italics his)

As frustrating as Nietzsche can be for many, his point here is helpful in understanding why it is that elites feel justified in using power and coercion to force those who are not as enlightened and advanced, in the opinion of the elites, to live according to the elite’s imaginings for human life. This is a basic orientation of the type of progressivism we see playing out in American politics today. Progressives see themselves as more enlightened than the rest of us and believe that it is within their right to exert power over the common person to conform us all to a progressive vision for society.

Progressive elites not only know what is best but they will always use power to implement programs to actualize their social visions. Back in 1920, Herbert Croly, a key apologist of progressivism that heavily influenced the New Deal policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, described it this way:

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Blog author: jcarter
Friday, July 19, 2013
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How Big Government Co-Opted Charities
James Piereson, Wall Street Journal

The website www.opensecrets.org, which tracks money in politics, reports that many of the institutions that receive these large grants and contracts—including Johns Hopkins, the University of Washington and the University of Pennsylvania—maintain lobbying operations in Washington.

Christians under siege push for more freedom of expression in military
Annie Z. Yu, The Washington Times

There are famously no atheists in foxholes, but some conservatives say that the American military is not giving a fair shake to soldiers, sailors and Marines who want to practice their faith and express their beliefs more openly.

3 easy steps to understanding the Common Core
Lauren Aronson, AEI Ideas

The Common Core — a state-led effort to implement rigorous, national K-12 standards for math and reading — has become one of the most hotly debated issues facing American education.

An Interview with F.A. Hayek: Economics, Politics, & Freedom
Reason

An interview with economist F.A. Hayek from February 1975.

h-armstrong-roberts-1930s-magician-hands-pulling-rabbit-out-of-top-hatPulling a rabbit out of a hat is a classic magic trick. But if a magician wants to do it nowadays he also needs to be able to pull out a license for the hare and a USDA-approved “rabbit disaster plan” that details how the bunny will hop to safety in case of a natural disaster, like a hurricane, flood, or sharknado. Or even if the air conditioning goes out.

This Kafkaesque regulatory requirement started over forty years ago — with a dog named Pepper.

In 1965, Pepper disappeared from the yard of her home. Shortly after the disappearance, the owner recognized his missing dog in a picture taken of an animal dealer’s overcrowded truck featured in a local newspaper. The owner’s wife, children, and even his congressman tried to locate and retrieve the dog but were denied entrance to the “dog farm.” Unfortunately, the family never got the dog back: Pepper had been euthanized in an experimental procedure at a New York hospital. The incident led the congressman to introduce H.R. 9743, a bill that would require dog and cat dealers, and the laboratories that purchased the animals, be licensed and inspected by the USDA.

According to the USDA, the 1966 law, which was primarily concerned with dogs and cats, was restrictive in regards to its coverage of the types of animals and regulated facilities. Research facilities only had to register if they received government funding and the dogs or cats had to have crossed state lines. But as David A. Fahrenthold notes, “the letter of the law was broad. In theory, it could apply to someone who “exhibited” any animals as part of a show.” And indeed it does:

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An eagle eyed – well, eagle-eared – customer of the Acton Digital Download Store informed us today of an error in one of the audio files that we made available on the store during Acton University 2013. It turns out that the audio of Rev. Robert Sirico’s opening night address was truncated, ending a little more than halfway through his speech.

This is not good. Not good at all.

As a result, I’ve re-compressed the mp3 file, uploaded a new version to the store, and as a way of making amends, we’re going to let everyone have it for free until July 31st! Just head on over to the audio store and download away! (It’s in the 2013 Evening Lectures section.)

Also, please accept this picture of an ashamed puppy to express my sorrow for the error.

 

SOWRRY!

SOWRRY!