Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, July 16, 2015
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The Best Way to End Homelessness
Alana Semuels, The Atlantic

The first-ever large-scale study on the topic finds that permanent, stable housing can be more cost-effective than shelters.

The Enduring Significance of Edmund Burke
Russell Kirk, The Imaginative Conservative

Order in society: an arrangement of things not according to an abstract equality, nor yet according to a utilitarian calculus, but founded upon a recognition of Providential design, which makes differences between man and man (and God and man) ineradicable and beneficent. This, I think, is the idea fundamental to Burke’s liberal conservatism, and this is the principle to which all real conservatives after him clung.

Don’t Supersize the Minimum Wage
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, City Journal

Boosting New York’s fast-food hourly wage to $15 will kill jobs and raise prices.

Nuns challenge policy on contraceptive access
Robert Pear, New York Times News Service

Four federal appeals courts have upheld efforts by the Obama administration to guarantee access to free birth control for women, suggesting that the government may have found a way to circumvent religious organizations that refuse to provide coverage for some or all forms of contraception.

billmckibben

Bill McKibben

I recently enjoyed a brief back-and-forth with 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben in which he claimed that I accused him of lacking religious faith. That most assuredly was not the case. I told him so, but also stood by my initial assertion that he and other environmental activists are cherry-picking Pope Francis’ Laudato Si for religious and moral firepower on climate-change while ignoring those elements that are core Roman Catholic teachings with which they disagree.

Let’s look at Mr. McKibben’s religious background, shall we? In his essay, “Doing the Math: The Scale of Global Warming and the Urgency of Self-Restraint” (in Sacred Commerce, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2014) he expresses his religion thusly:

 The highest I ever rose in the ecclesial hierarchy was a Sunday school teacher at our backwoods Methodist church. It’s such a small church that the only qualification for being a Sunday school teacher is if on Christmas Eve you can take a dish towel and turn a third grader into a Palestinian shepherd for the pageant. So that’s the degree of my theological qualification. On the other hand, these are questions that I have thought about and written about a good deal.

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Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
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Melville House Is Publishing Pope Francis’ “Call to Action” Encyclical on Climate Change
Steve Duffy, Flavorwire

Independent Brooklyn publisher Melville House has acquired the rights to be the first secular publisher of Pope Francis’ climate change encyclical: On Care for Our Common Home. The volume focuses on the fates of poorer nations, should current greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. It comes at an apt time, with the crucial UN climate talks (where leaders will try to reach a new global agreement aimed at reducing greenhouse gases) due in Paris this December.

Civil Society Leaders Praise Pope’s Climate Encyclical
Eunsun Cho, World Policy Blog

Many major faith traditions are increasingly focusing on the issue of climate change. As an interfaith global movement for climate action, Our Voices recently organized Multi-Faith Emerging Leaders Convergence and an interfaith climate change march, which involved a diverse representation of major faith traditions and civic movements around the world. Father Fletcher, Coordinator of Our Voices and Executive Director of GreenFaith, a U.S.-based think tank for religion and ecology, expressed, “Fighting climate change is fighting poverty and injustice. All of us share the encyclical´s impatience at the lack of progress in the UN climate negotiations. Decisive action is needed now, we urge world leaders not to miss the opportunity at the next negotiations in Paris in December.”

Prominent Christians: Pope’s Climate Change Stance Harms Not Helps Poor
Donna Rachel Edmunds, Breitbart

Two prominent Christian peers have rejected the Pope’s recent encyclical on climate change as backwards and more likely to increase not reduce poverty. They accuse the Pope of falling foul of thinking on climate change that hankers for a time before the Industrial Revolution which campaigners paint as simpler and easier, but was in fact more brutal and painful.

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Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
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Yesterday Zack Pruitt explained why when “sanctuary cities” disregard the rule of law on immigration, humanitarian issues become clouded and morality is challenged. But what exactly are sanctuary cities?

This short video by The Daily Signal explains what they are and why they’ve become so controversial.

acton-commentary-blogimageDuring his encounter with President Morales of Bolivia last week, Pope Francis was given a “communist cross.” In this week’s Acton Commentary Jorge Velarde Rosso explains why the gift was not so harmless.

Of course Morales had an agenda with that gift. It wasn’t an innocent gesture. Designed by the same Jesuit priest who had been honored by Francis a few minutes earlier, the pope’s “that is not OK” represented a correction to Morales. The fact, however, that Morales gave Francis this cross — it is unthinkable that anyone would have given John Paul II or Benedict XVI a cross in the shape of a symbol of death and oppression for millions, including the millions of Catholics who have suffered at the hands of Marxist regimes and movements — underscores that Morales didn’t think Francis would be offended. Indeed, only a few minutes later Pope Francis expressed his support for the work of Morales’ regime.

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

FLOW_EXILEIn the various discussions surrounding the Acton Institute’s film series, For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles, a common response has been to call into question the basic notion of Christians existing in a state of “exile.”

The general complaint is that it’s somehow hyperbolic, given the privileged position of the modern West in the scope of human history. From here, things typically descend into detailed historical debates about the realities of America vs. the Middle East vs. the Roman Empire vs. Babylonian rule, and so on.

But as Russell Moore now helpfully points out, such a critique assumes a false definition of “exile” that most simply misses the point.

Exile has nothing to do with some temporal decline from this earthly rule to that — in our case, from some nostalgic memory of a “Christian nation” to the present “post-Christian” dysphoria. “The political and cultural climate of America does not make us exiles,” Moore reminds us, and such a perspective “just continues the triumphalist rhetoric of the last generation.”

Indeed, Christians have never been “at home” in America: (more…)

Radio Free ActonIn this edition of Radio Free Acton, we speak with John Horvat, author of Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society, about what’s gone wrong with our economy and culture and how to fix it. John’s book was featured this year at Acton University (you can pick up a copy for yourself at the link above), and he writes about his AU experience in this post on his blog:

…the students really cared. It was hard not to be impressed by the unified “diversity” that characterized those in the course. Dispelling the myth that diversity is only on the left, some eighty countries were represented, including sizable delegations from Africa and Latin America. At the same time, people from all ages were enrolled providing that delicate balance between wisdom and enthusiasm. Acton proves year after year that young people are attracted to free markets and moral values.

We also look into the latest on Greece’s financial problems and how Europe is trying to save its common currency, with analysis of the situation by Acton Institute Director of Research Samuel Gregg. As he notes, Europe’s economic troubles run much deeper than just the Greek debt crisis.

You can listen to this week’s podcast via the audio player below:

Blog author: bwalker
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
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In the weeks since the June 18 release of Laudato Si, the discussion has bifurcated into the realms of prosaic, progressive pantheistic pronouncements that Earth requires tender ministrations post haste on one hand. On the other hand, there are those who assert the encyclical gets it right on the value of protecting human life but miserably wrong when Pope Francis identifies free-market economics as greed’s handmaiden intent on destroying the planet for a quick buck. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
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The sale of fetal body parts: gruesome—and shockingly legal
Joe Carter, ERLC

The discussion in the video is graphic, gruesome, and disturbing. What’s even more shocking is that this practice may actually be legal under current federal law.

Taxing churches is a form of religious persecution — and liberals need to stand against it
Damon Linker, The Week

How long will it be until we begin to see a movement — egged on by activists, encouraged by receptive judges — to revoke the tax exemptions currently enjoyed by churches? A few months? A year? I

Greece Disaster Shows Unavoidable Consequences of Socialism
Stephen Moore, The Daily Signal

The Greek citizens have rolled the dice and voted overwhelmingly to reject the “austerity” referendum. This was a way for voters to stick a finger in the eye of their creditors. The left around the world has responded to the vote with thunderous applause—and is selling the results as a vote for “the little guy.”

Society Exists Prior to the State, Obergefell Notwithstanding
George Weigel, EPPC

Reactions by the Catholic bishops of the United States to the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges have been, in the main, robust and carefully thought through.

little-sistersEarlier today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled that the Little Sisters must comply with the government’s mandate to provide contraceptives for employees. The district court ruled the Little Sisters cannot receive a full exemption from the law’s contraception rules because they “do not substantially burden plaintiffs’ religious exercise or violate the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights.”

The nuns disagree. “As Little Sisters of the Poor, we simply cannot choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith,” says Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire, Mother Provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor. “And we should not have to make that choice, because it violates our nation’s commitment to ensuring that people from diverse faiths can freely follow God’s calling in their lives.”

“For over 175 years, we have served the neediest in society with love and dignity,” added Sr. Maguire. “All we ask is to be able to continue our religious vocation free from government intrusion.”
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