What is the difference between paying a tax and donating to a charity? Is it moral to force others to give to the cause of your choice? Is it moral for the government to force others to give to the cause of your choice?
Rob Gressis, a professor of philosophy, went on campus at California State University – Northridge, to ask students those questions.
You can see an extended version of the video here.
A new poll on public attitudes toward Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change included questions on the occurrence of climate change itself. Asked “Do you think that global warming is happening, or do you think global warming is not happening?” 69% of respondents said yes, 16% said no, 15% said that they were not sure, and 1% skipped or refused to answer the question.
The free event, hosted by the Progressive Christian Forum of Santa Cruz in association with Resurrection Church, is slated for the week after Pope Francis’ address to a Joint Session of Congress, will give the larger Santa Cruz community an opportunity to reflect on the message of the pope’s recent Encyclical about environmental issues as well as his visit to the United States.
Father Ryan High School theology teacher Brent Fernandez grows a garden at home, raises chickens, and rides his bicycle to school when he can…. On the June morning when Pope Francis released his encyclical “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” Fernandez “was like a teenager on the day their favorite band drops a new album.” He pored over it, immediately connecting with so much of what Pope Francis wrote about, formulating how he would incorporate the encyclical into his junior-level Catholic social teaching class at Father Ryan.
Over the past 500 years, some countries have proven to be more receptive to democracy than others. What accounts for the disparity? What causes some countries to be more likely to embrace democratic forms of governance?
As empirical evidence shows, one strong predictor is the presence of Protestant missionaries.
“Protestant missionaries played an integral role in spreading democracy throughout the world,” says Greg Scandlen. “We could preserve our own if we learn from their ways.” (more…)
Last week, the Washington Post featured an interview with Donald Trump, entrepreneur-turned-presidential candidate. Trump is clearly no fan of the pope’s comments on capitalism and free markets, and his approach to dealing with the pope on this topic is rather unique: Trump wants to scare Pope Francis.
It’s common for some to criticize Pope Francis’s wariness about capitalism, but Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump just took that to a new level, saying he’d try to “scare” the pope by telling him: “ISIS wants to get you.
I’d say ISIS wants to get you,” Trump said. “You know that ISIS wants to go in and take over the Vatican? You have heard that. You know, that’s a dream of theirs, to go into Italy.
I’m gonna have to scare the Pope because it’s the only thing, Trump said. The Pope, I hope, can only be scared by God. But the truth is — you know, if you look at what’s going on — they better hope that capitalism works, because it’s the only thing we have right now. And it’s a great thing when it works properly.”
The Rev. Robert Sirico, who has voiced his own concerns regarding the pope’s economic views, clearly was not impressed with Trump’s views on how to deal with the views of “the people’s pope.” (more…)
While Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the United States will be seized upon as an opportunity to critique capitalism, it would be far better if it were used to show how opposition to economic freedom does the poor great harm.
Free markets have lifted millions of people out of poverty all over the world. Now the power of economic freedom is breaking down the oppressive caste system in India, the world’s most populous democracy.
When we think of charity, helping someone get a job doesn’t immediately come to mind. We’re more likely to hand $20 to a homeless man, provide a holiday meal for a single mom, or donate to a local food pantry. Important as these charitable acts might be, they are geared toward meeting short-term needs. What about the long-term welfare of men and women who are struggling?
Pope Francis has started an important global discussion on the environment with the release of his encyclical Laudeto Si’, which the Acton Institute has been engaging in with vigor since it’s release, and has been ably covered as well here on the PowerBlog by the likes of Bruce Edward Walker and Joe Carter. But this isn’t the first time that Acton has waded into the debate over protecting the environment; Acton Founder Rev. Robert A. Sirico was debating Matthew Fox, proponent of deep ecology and a so-called “creation spirituality” back in 2000, and we’ve talked extensively about environmental stewardship as part of our Effective Stewardship curriculum and other publications as well.
Another recent example of Acton’s engagement with issues of environmental protection came as part of the 2014 Acton Lecture Series, as The Very Reverend Michael Butler and Andrew Morriss, Dean of the Texas A&M Law School, collaborated on a presentation at the Mark Murray Auditorium in the wake of the release of their monograph, titled Creation and the Heart of Man: An Orthodox Christian Perspective on Environmentalism. As the debate over Laudeto Si’ continues, we’re pleased to present this valuable contribution from the Orthodox Christian perspective.
Back in June, Fr. Michael Butler responded to Laudeto Si’ at Acton University. After the jump, you can hear his thoughts upon the release of the encyclical. (more…)
Forty percent of American Catholics and 31 percent of all adults said they were aware of the encyclical, according to the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and Yale University. Among Catholics who knew about the document, just 23 percent said they heard about it at Mass.
Pope Francis may have soaked up headlines earlier this summer when he published a whopping 192-page encyclical on climate change, but this week Muslims issued a declaration that could influence an even larger population than the Catholic decree. The declaration, announced Tuesday as part of the two-day International Islamic Climate Change Symposium in Istanbul, further exemplifies the trend of faith-based climate activism ahead of the U.N. climate change summit in December.
Soderberg said he was emboldened by Pope Francis’ sweeping manifesto on climate change that was released in June. In the encyclical, the pope said people of all faiths and no faith are called “to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.”
There has been no document by a world leader that has received more attention this year than Laudato Si.
Three months have passed since Pope Francis released his encyclical on the environment, and yet the media coverage and political commentary on it has hardly waned. Here on the Acton PowerBlog, Bruce Edward Walker has been compiling a daily list of links related to news and commentary on the encyclical. To date he has 62 posts with hundreds of links.
The encyclical was introduced at the Vatican by a secular climate scientist and a top Orthodox Christian leader, with simultaneous news conferences by Catholic leaders in many countries and the chiming of church bells for emphasis. Francis underscored the importance of the document by sending it to the world’s bishops with a handwritten note.
Yet despite all the hype and effort, few Catholics in the United States are even aware of the encyclical, much less know the Pope’s views on the environment: (more…)
Americans make up around four percent of the world population and yet they control over 25 percent of the world’s wealth. What if we were to simply redistribute our wealth to the most needy people on the planet—wouldn’t that end global poverty almost overnight?
“The answer unfortunately is no,” says philosopher Matt Zwolinski. “Sharing one’s wealth with those who have less is admirable and it often helps to relieve immediate suffering. But just sharing existing wealth we’ll never be enough to lift billions of people out of poverty in a sustainable way. To understand why we need to look at history.”
Rukmini Callimachi has told the stories of those held as prisoners of the Islamic State before. This week, her front-page article detailed the kidnapping, enslaving and ISIS-sanctioned rape of women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority.