Blog author: jcarter
Monday, November 21, 2016
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We can’t be pro-life if we’re not anti-poverty
Katie McCoy, ERLC

We can’t truly be pro-life if we’re not anti-poverty. Follow me through the facts here.

How Government Spending Kills Economic Growth
Daniel J. Mitchell, FEE

Now that Donald Trump has been elected, one of my main goals will be to convince him and his team that it would be wrong to leave government spending on autopilot (and it would be even worse to spend more money and increase the burden of government!).

Obamacare Takes Care From Disabled People To Subsidize Able-Bodied, Working-Age Men
Chris Jacobs, The Federalist

Obamacare’s dirty little secret: the hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities, who are on wait lists because they can’t get services.

What President Trump should do on poverty and opportunity
Angela Rachidi, AEI Ideas

President Trump’s first budget and any tax reform proposals must prioritize increased work among the least-skilled and most vulnerable.

What is the future of religious liberty? Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) type laws, says Richard Garnett, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame.

In any society where there is (a) religious and moral diversity and (b) an active, regulatory welfare state, there will — necessarily — be conflicts and tensions between (i) duly enacted, majority-supported, generally applicable laws and (ii) some citizens’ religious beliefs and exercise. What Justice Jackson called “the uniformity of the graveyard” is not an attractive way to manage these conflicts and tensions; the toleration-and-accommodation strategy, however, is. RFRA-type laws are, in my view, effective and workable mechanisms for carrying out the latter strategy and so, yes, I think such laws are part of the “future of religious liberty.”

Garnett offers two “reasons for cautious optimism” and three causes for concern which you can read here.

President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel

President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel

President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held their last joint press conference as heads of state on Thursday, pressing national leaders – in President Obama’s words – “not to take for granted the importance of the transatlantic alliance.” And they grounded that longstanding partnership on their conception of the bedrock principles that they believe unite North America and the EU.

“The commitment of the United States to Europe is enduring and it’s rooted in the values we share,” Obama said, “our commitment to democracy, our commitment to the rule or law, our commitment to the dignity of all people, in our own countries and around the world.” Merkel agreed that the transatlantic alliance is “based on our shared values.” The tone and content of their press conference echoed Merkel’s statement following Donald Trump’s election as president, as well as their joint New York Times op-ed, also published Thursday, in which Obama and Merkel call on transatlantic nations to “seize the opportunity to shape globalization based on our values and our ideas.”

The notion of shared U.S.-European values has undergone a resurgence since America’s presidential election. French socialist president François Hollande urged President-elect Trump to “respect” such “principles” as “democracy, freedoms, and the respect of every individual.” Other EU leaders have made similar statements. (more…)

Yesterday, Pope Francis hosted a private audience in his Apostolic Palace for a few hundred international entrepreneurs and business leaders. The members of the International Christian Union of Business Executives (UNIAPAC) had gathered inside the Vatican’s walls for two days of meetings for the “noble purpose of reflecting on the role of business persons as agents of economic and social inclusion.”

Pope Francis, not always an affirming supporter of free market capitalism, focused on some of his usual challenging caveats to business persons. While business is certainly noble and its success is a vital part of the promoting economic growth for the common good, fallen man should nevertheless be constantly wary of his weaknesses for material idolatry (especially money), selfishness (not showing solidarity), and unguarded concern for acts of corruption (intentional deceit), the latter of which Francis said was “the worst of social plagues.”

This holds true for “all human activity”, the pope reassured those present, and not just business activity. It is an anthropological-spiritual discipline that we must keep on the forefront of our daily decision making. In this way, we sharpen our prudence and hone our focus when treading uphill individual paths to holiness and salvation. By way of constant prayer and deep spiritual discernment, man can more likely make the best moral choices, even in the most cut-throat and difficult business situations.

But sometimes this is risky for the seeker and promoter of virtue.

papa-uniapac

Pope Francis addresses UNIAPAC Christian entrepreneurs and business executives at a private audience on November 17, 2016.

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Blog author: jcarter
Friday, November 18, 2016
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Why Catholics Built Secret Astronomical Features Into Churches to Help Save Souls
Geoff Manaugh, Atlas Obscura

In the process of researching the phenomenon, Heilbron uncovered a surprising story of cooperation not only between religion and science, but between precision astronomical observation and Catholic liturgy, between architectural design and the Christian calendar. Direct, even enthusiastic collaboration, uniting esoteric science with canonical religious belief, lay at the core of this hidden story.

How Regulation of Private Schools Hurts the Poor
Corey DeAngelis, FEE

The most successful private schools have the most to lose from regulations.

Study says more than half of young U.S. Catholics are Hispanic/Latino
Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service

The Catholic Church is one of the most culturally diverse institutions in the United States and Catholic institutions and ministries need to adapt and prepare for growing diversity, said a report presented to the country’s bishops Nov. 15.

“God and Money”: A Review of a Groundbreaking Book in Christian Stewardship
Daniel Huizinga,, Values & Capitalism

There have been countless books written about Christian stewardship of financial resources. Though most offer valuable insights, they often struggle at finding the right words to make lasting change in their readers’ financial lives.

In a recent article for The Telegraph, Sir Roger Scruton discusses the importance of national borders in Europe and the threat that the EU poses to them.  He explains how religion once united Europe but since religion began to fade in the 17th century, territory took over as the principle that Europeans turn to in order to find unity.  Scruton says this:

European civilisation has been steadily replacing religion with territory as the source of political unity. The process began in the 17th century, as the call for popular sovereignty and national unity began to be heard above the noise of religious conflict.  Following the French Revolution and Napoleon’s failed attempt at a pan-European Empire, Europe emerged as a collection of nation states.

Scruton goes on to talk about how national identity contributed to the outcome of the Second World War: (more…)

republican-powerBecause of the recent election, Republicans now control the White House, the U.S. Senate (51 percent), the House of Representatives (54 percent), 31 of the 50 state governorships (62 percent), and a record 67 of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers in the nation (68 percent).

What will they do with all that power and influence?

To predict what policies the GOP will champion over the next two to four years we can turn to the most recent party platform. Although the document is not binding on the presidential nominee or any other politicians, political scientists have found that over the past 30 years lawmakers in Congress tend to vote in line with their party’s platform: 89 percent of the time for Republicans.

Here are the agenda items that are related to issues covered by the Acton Institute. (Note: This level of government that would handle each item is not designated, so some issues may be handled at the state level and others by the U.S. Congress.)

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