Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, January 28, 2016
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breaking-the-lawThe weekend forecast calls for sunny skies, so you decide to have a picnic in a national park with your family. After finishing your meal you throw away your trash. Your son, however, isn’t so careful — he leaves behind a few leftover items. As you leave your picnic area, a park ranger asks if you or your family has left trash in the area. You tell him that you’ve cleaned up after yourself.

You’ve just committed an arguable federal felony: False Statements to a Federal Official. Any false statement made to a government official — even when it is made in conversation and not under oath nor in writing — can leave a citizen vulnerable to a “false statement” charge.

That many seem absurd, but as civil rights lawyer Harvey A. Silvergate notes, this hypothetical example has real-life parallels. Overcriminalization and an increase in vague regulations have made most of us unknowing and unintentional felons.

This wasn’t always the case. Under the common law, criminal intent — an intention to commit a crime or violate a law — was a necessary element of every crime. Most statutory laws also require criminal intent. However, as William J. Sloan explains,

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UntitledA generation of Christians has been inspired and challenged by James Davison Hunter’s popular work, To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World 1st Edition. Published five years ago, the book promotes a particular approach to cultural engagement (“faithful presence”) that stirred a wide and rich conversation across Christendom.

Its influence continues to endure, whether in stirring individual imaginations or shaping the arc of institutions. To reflect on that influence, The Gospel Coalition recently rounded up a series of essays on the topic, including a range of voices such as Collin Hansen, Al Mohler, Hunter Baker, and Greg Forster. Titled Revisiting Faithful Presence, the collection is available for free as an ebook.

The responses vary in praise and critique, uncovering new insights, posing new questions, and exposing lingering cracks and gaps. In doing so, they’ve inspired me to once again return to the book myself.

Though each offers its own compelling angle, it was Greg Forster’s essay (“To Love the World”) that stuck with me the most, reminding me of some of the key areas I initially wrestled with, particularly Hunter’s lopsided elevation of common grace and the embedded materialism in his framing of culture. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, January 28, 2016
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Property rights, not eminent domain, first function of good government
Ray Nothstine, Jones & Blount

Like all inherent rights, the right to private property tends to erode with the growth of government. While the American framers did not agree on everything, they were universal in their agreement that personal freedom and property rights were inseparable.

The Impossible (Pipe) Dream—Single-Payer Health Reform
Henry J. Aaron, Inside Sources

Single-payer health reform is a dream because, as the old joke goes, ‘you can’t get there from here.’

Marriage, Poverty and the Political Divide
Andrew L. Yarrow, New York Times

There remains some argument among lawmakers over which Americans should be able to marry, but nearly everyone agrees that marriage itself offers stability and economic benefits to couples and to society at large.

Shared housing as a poverty solution
Kevin C. Corinth, AEI

We often think there are only two ways to fight poverty — the government and private philanthropy. But living arrangements can be just as important

In honor of the sixth annual National School Choice Week, here are some facts you should know about school choice in America.

What does “school choice” mean?

NSCW-Stacked-LogoThe term “school choice” refers to programs that give parents the power and opportunity to choose the schools their children attend, whether public, private, parochial, or homeschool.

Why is school choice necessary?

While there are some excellent public schools in America, many students are trapped in schools with inadequate facilities, substandard curriculum, and incompetent teachers. Most parents, however, cannot afford to pay for education twice—once in taxes and again in private school tuition. School choice programs empower parents by letting them use public funds set aside for education on programs that will best serve their children. As Bill Cosby, a comedian who holds a doctorate in education, says, “We have a moral and societal obligation to give our children the opportunity to succeed in school, at work, and in life. We cannot meet that obligation unless parents are empowered to select the best schools of their children.”

What types of school choice programs exist for students and families?

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Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
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acton-commentary-blogimage“If the nation-state is passé,” asks Todd Huizinga in this week’s Acton Commentary, “why do “Europeans” cling to it?”

Current events have made it more crucial than ever to understand what makes the European Union tick. What are the ideological roots of the eurozone crisis? Why do so many EU leaders seem willing to risk exposing their people to more jihadist terror and to invite a potentially unmanageable de-Westernization of Europe by opening the floodgates to immigrants from a burning Middle East? To understand why these crises are affecting Europe, we need to look at the unique nature of European Union.

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

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
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Francis to other Christians: Sorry we mistreated you
Inés San Martín, Crux

Pope Francis apologized for Catholic mistreatment of other Christian traditions Monday, and called on Catholics to forgive followers of those traditions for any offenses of “today and in the past,” as a step toward deeper unity.

How Much Did Jonas Cost the Economy?
Bourree Lam, The Atlantic

There’s no agreed-upon way to measure the price of a blizzard—but people do make intelligent guesses.

Bernie Sanders, One Of The Greediest People On Earth, Says Greed Isn’t Good
Kerry Jackson, Investor’s Business Daily

It is truly painful to hear people use words they don’t understand. It’s made worse when it’s a favorite word that they use a lot.

Can Wealth Acquired by Unrighteous Means Be Used for Righteous Purposes?
Art Lindsley, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

Job is an unimpeachable example of the righteous rich. But, those classified as the righteous rich are not always such paragons of righteousness, as Abraham’s story shows.

Violet_crawleyDefenses of limited government are rare in pop culture. You won’t find many characters in movies or TV that say that what is needed is for the state to be less intrusive and less centralized. So it’s particularly surprising to find one of the most passionate appeals for individual freedom over government encroachment on a television station that was created by an act of the United States Congress and partially funded by the federal government.

That’s what awaited fans in last night’s episode of Downtown Abbey.

For the past several weeks Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, has been opposing a merger of the village hospital with the Royal Yorkshire. The hospital storyline has been rather dull and seemingly inconsequential, especially for the show’s final season. But last night the hospital plot revealed itself to be about something much larger than we might have realized.

The Dowager’s opponents, most of whom are family members, assumed she was simply resistant to change and was loathe to relinquish any personal power. But as she explains, she has a deeper understanding of government and the duty to protect freedom than anyone had assumed.

“For years, I’ve watched governments take control of our lives. Their argument is always the same: ‘Fewer costs, greater efficiency.’ But the result is the same, too. Less control by the people, more control by the State — until the individual’s anguishes count for nothing. That is what I consider my duty to resist.”

“Your great-grandchildren won’t thank you when the state is all-powerful because we didn’t fight,” adds the Dowager. Indeed, not that the state is very close to being all-powerful we should be thankful for our ancestors from the last century who did fight and managed to hold off big government—at least for awhile.

(Via: Hot Air)