Blog author: jcarter
Friday, November 7, 2014
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Pope sacked Church official for selling annulments
Angus Mackinnon, AFP

Pope Francis revealed Wednesday that he had sacked a church court official who had been caught offering to facilitate marriage annulments for cash.

How religion played in the midterm elections
Mark Silk, Religion News Service

According to yesterday’s exit polls, the religious layout of the electorate looks almost identical to the last midterm election in 2010, and not much different from the 2012 presidential election.

Why Evangelicals Are Wary of the Government
Alan Noble, The Atlantic

The subpoenas Houston Mayor Annise Parker issued to five of the city’s pastors highlight the larger tensions in state involvement with religion.

Contra Media Narrative, Voters of Faith Still Matter
Ralph Reed, The Corner

On Election Day, self-identified conservative Christians made up 32 percent of the electorate and voted 86 percent Republican and only 12 percent Democrat.

dr evil

Ooh, ooh dark money!

Now that the midterms and 2014 shareholder proxy resolution thankfully are in our rearview mirror, we can pick through the claims of the progressive religious groups such as those affiliated with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. Some of the charges hurled against donations by the libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch serve only to deflect similar charges that progressive political action committees, candidates and causes are receiving storage lockers full of mad stacks of beaucoup bucks (author’s redundancy intentional).

In short, ICCR and its posse’s protests against the brothers Koch amount to nothing more than hypocrisy. Progressive PACs receive remarkably more bank than their conservative counterparts. Yet, ICCR boasted like a cackling Dr. Evil complete with pinky pressed to mouth’s corner in early September it had amassed 1 million comments for submission to the Securities and Exchange Commission:

In a record-breaking demonstration of support, over one million commenters have submitted comments to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) calling on the agency to take immediate steps to require publicly traded corporations to disclose their use of corporate resources for political purposes to their shareholders….

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Blog author: sstanley
Thursday, November 6, 2014
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What is the purpose of a for-profit business? Just for revenue to exceed expenses or something more? The Acton Institute and Calvin College recently answered this question by co-sponsoring a Symposium on Common Grace and the role it plays in business. Chris Meehan of CRC (Christian Reformed Church) Communications attended the event held at Calvin’s Prince Conference Center and recently wrote about it. He quotes keynote speaker, Peter Heslam, director of Transforming Business. “Business can be a positive agent in society,” Heslam told the participants. “Christians ought to value the transformational qualities that business can have.”

Heslam works particularly closely with faculty at Cambridge’s divinity and business schools and with leaders in international business. He has also published widely, including a book on Kuyper.

In his talk, Heslam said that Kuyper’s ideas, especially that every “square inch” of the world is under the sovereignty of God, apply to economics in significant ways.

“Faith and business do mix,” he said. “We know that God calls people to specific roles, and they feel called to business.

“The church and business can have a mutual relationship,” he said. “There are business people who refuse to separate their business practices and their theology.”

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Blog author: jsunde
Thursday, November 6, 2014
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cutting-roomCan something as simple as a shoe build civilization?

I recently had the pleasure of touring the Red Wing Shoe Museum in Red Wing, Minnesota, home of the Red Wing Shoe Company, and the answer became quite clear.

Founded in 1905, Red Wing Shoes has from the very beginning focused on producing boots and shoes for those who “work on their feet.” At a time when blacksmiths, carpenters, lumberjacks, and farmers had few options for footwear, founder Charles Beckman grew frustrated with the status quo, and responded by building “purpose-built” footwear to meet the needs of manual laborers.

Their slogan: “Work is our work.”

The company quickly gained a reputation for high-quality shoes and boots, and still maintains its status as a premier shoemaker for specific trades, supplying footwear for everyone from snake handlers to skyscraper builders to oil rig workers to restaurant chefs. Although most of us wouldn’t think to look at the feet of those who provide such services, the company continues to quietly empower labor of all kinds across the world. (more…)

The BBC visited Baton Rouge, specifically the most violent part of Baton Rouge. The reporter asked people who live there what they would change about America. It’s an insightful little piece of journalism.

Several people mentioned the need for God and prayer. One young man who owns his own business credits his success with having a father who lived with him and raised him – something he says most of his peers didn’t have.

One man, showing off his scars from his violent tendencies, said he couldn’t worry about other people. He had to worry about himself and his family. “You have money and I don’t,” he bluntly stated as the problem.

Finally, one young entrepreneur says he thinks the main issue with people in his area is lack of exposure. Too many people, he says, don’t see anything else except that little zip code. “You live here, you go to school here…what else is there to aspire to?”

On Tuesday, Acton welcomed economist and author Robert P. Murphy to the Acton Building’s Mark Murray Auditorium as part of the 2014 Acton Lecture Series. He spoke on the topic of The Importance of Sound Money, providing a solid lesson in the history of currency in the United States and other major countries, and an overview of the problems that have resulted from our government’s abandonment of sound monetary policy.

Murphy’s presentation is available for viewing below.

no-shariaOn Tuesday, voters in Alabama passed a ballot measure that, among other things, forbids courts, arbitrators, and administrative agencies from applying or “enforcing a foreign law if doing so would violate any state law or a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States.” Such measures (other states have passed similar laws) are often dubbed “anti-Sharia” measures since preventing the encroachment of Sharia is usually their primary objective.

Sharia is the moral code and religious law of Islam that deals with topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual relations, hygiene, diet, and prayer. The two primary sources of Sharia law are the Quran and the example set by the founder of Islam, Muhammad. The introduction of Sharia across the globe is a longstanding goal for Islamist movements.

Opposing Sharia law may appear to be commonsensical measure. But such laws are unnecessary since state law and the Constitution already trump foreign law. They also can’t be written to oppose only Sharia (that would be religious discrimination) so they are written in a broad way that has unintended consequences.

Indeed, there is a compelling reason why Christians should be leery of joining in supporting anti-Sharia legislation: By helping to push the idea that religious beliefs should be kept private, anti-Sharia laws are a threat to all of our religious liberties. As the Catholic legal scholar Robert K. Vischer explained last year in First Things:
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Blog author: jcarter
Thursday, November 6, 2014
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A Catholic philosopher’s spellbinding fight against Hitler
Kate Veik, Catholic News Agency

“Very, very few people in Germany in 1920-1921 already realized that Nazism was a poison,” von Hildebrand’s wife, Alice, explained. “People closed their eyes and did not want to see. (Dietrich) saw the danger and he warned people. Many people would call him a pessimist, but unfortunately he was right.”

Income Inequality Is Good For The Poor
Scott Winship, The Federalist

A comparison of global data shows that developed countries with more income inequality have higher standards of living for the poor and middle class.

How Schools Can Help Disadvantaged Families
Mary C. Tillotson, Family Studies

There’s no substitute for a stable, happy family—but a good school can do a great deal to support kids without one.

Common Core Loses at the Ballot Box
Lindsey M. Burke, National Review Online

Sorry, Common Core. Last night just wasn’t your night. Voters resoundingly sided with candidates who rejected Common Core national standards and tests and promised to restore state and local control of education.

The Bible teaches wise welcome, not blanket amnesty. Biblical teaching would give first consideration to foreigners applying to come to America as blessing, and lawfully (there are four million who’ve applied and are waiting). I believe blanket amnesty of many millions more is unwise. Amnesty is unkind to nearly 20 million Americans who are currently looking but cannot find a job. Wisdom and kindness would bring millions of jobs to America before more competition for scarce jobs. Biblical wisdom would protect Americans from open borders and the risks associated with amnesty: illegal entry into the country by violent Islamists, narco gangs and those who knowingly enter with dangerous diseases like Ebola. Our goal is not hostility, but hospitality.

Economist Thomas Sowell puts it this way:

Not only the United States, but the Western world in general, has been discovering the hard way that admitting people with incompatible cultures is an irreversible decision with incalculable consequences. If we do not see that after recent terrorist attacks on the streets of Boston and London, when will we see it? ‘Comprehensive immigration reform’ means doing everything all together in a rush, without time to look before we leap, and basing ourselves on abstract notions about abstract people.

God loves us all and yet nowhere in Scripture do we find support in God’s teaching for blanket amnesty. Rather, we see the respect of boundaries, borders and admonitions to remember and to advance the teachings of Godly wisdom for human and cultural thriving. We see welcome of the lawful immigrant who comes as blessing, such as Ruth and the Good Samaritan. And we see Ezra and Nehemiah leading a nation in the rebuilding of walls for cultural healing and renewal. (more…)

minimum_wage_custom-8614e5bd8d516fbadd22d4a09fff441a70ba1596-s6-c30Last night the election results revealed wins for Republicans in almost every state. But in four states where the GOP gained ground — Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota — the poor and unskilled suffered a loss.

In each of those states, voters passed ballot measures that will increase the government-mandated minimum wage. Beginning in 2015, the wage in South Dakota will increase to $8.50 an hour. In 2016, Alaska’s wage will be $9.75 an hour and $9 an hour in Nebraska. Arkansas will also raise the wage-floor to $8.50 an hour by 2017.

While the measures appear compassionate — who doesn’t want hard-working people to receive more money? — the effect will be that each of those state will likely see unintended consequences of the action.

Here are four ways the increased minimum wages will hurt low-skilled workers:
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