tubman-on-tenLast week the U.S. Treasury announced the $10 bill is next paper currency scheduled for a major redesign, a process that takes years because of the anti-counterfeiting technology involved, and will feature a “notable woman.”

The new ten will be unveiled in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the passage of the nineteenth amendment, which gave women the right to vote. As the Treasury explains, “The passage of the nineteenth amendment granted women their right to fully participate in the system our country was founded on—a government by the people, a democracy.”

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says his agency is seeking input on “how we can use the new $10 note to best represent the values of our inclusive democracy.” He encourages people to use the hashtag #TheNewTen on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

You needn’t bother tweeting your choice, though. I’m almost certain they already know who Treasury is going to choose: It’s going to be Harriet Tubman.

Here’s why, based on a presumed list of criteria for the female candidate:
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pope plantThe most common question surrounding the new encyclical from Pope Francis is some variation of: Why is a Church leader talking about politics, economics, and science? Many argue that this encyclical is merely trying to encourage conversation on how best to be stewards of creation. In the past, papal encyclicals have created controversy, but have helped to further debate and discussion and have informed consciences.

Kathryn Jean Lopez, of the National Review, argues that this encyclical on ecology, “presents a fuller vision of creation and our responsibilities toward it than we’re reliable to see on any given Vanity Fair Caitlyn Jenner cover-story reading day.”Lopez assures that the pope, in this encyclical, is “not concerned with settling some scientific dispute, not does he claim competence to do so.” She reiterates this point but actually quoting the encyclical: “The Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics.”

However, she does raise issues with some specifics of the encyclical, citing Acton’s Samuel Gregg:
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Blog author: bwalker
Monday, June 22, 2015
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The Pope’s Solution for Warming: Pray
Holman Jenkins, Jr., The Wall Street Journal

But changing lifestyles and the means of production and militating against inefficiency is what the global economy, about which he seems so ambivalent (at best), does every livelong day. Last year the 20 biggest economies produced 3.3% growth with zero increase in emissions over 2013. One reason was American fracking. Another reason was China’s nascent shift from an export-oriented, goods-producing economy to one more focused on services and domestic consumption.

The encyclical’s footnotes say a lot about this pope
John L. Allen Jr., Crux

With Laudato Si, Francis effectively has pioneered a new model for the development of official Catholic teaching, one in which the Church’s center takes its peripheries seriously indeed.

The first encyclical wholly from Francis overturns expectations
CNA/ETWN News

The first encyclical wholly from Francis overturns expectations’Laudato si’ is not only an example of the Magisterium’s social teaching: it also represents the birth of a new literary genre among papal documents. Normally in the modern epoch, Popes have included in encyclicals doctrinal themes. But ‘Laudato si’ is not a doctrinal text — it is rather a pastoral letter based on the classical Latin American method: see, judge, act.

The Vatican Takes on Climate Change: Making Sense of the Pope’s Encyclical
Stewart M. Patrick, Council on Foreign Relations

As the head of the Catholic Church and Christendom’s most prominent leader, the pope wields unrivaled spiritual and moral authority within conservative U.S. faith communities—including many that tend to vote Republican. Francis’s encyclical does what scientists cannot: offer a rationale for climate change action grounded in theology and morality.

Brother Glum, Mother Earth
Steven Malanga, City Journal

But the nearly 38,000-word document—most of which is not about climate change—actually reads like a giant step backward for the Church’s social teaching: a rejection of technological progress; a dark, narrow vision of human nature that ignores the enormous gains the world has made in alleviating human suffering; and an almost antihuman call, reminiscent of the most radical environmentalists, to reduce human activity drastically as the only way to save the planet.

But the nearly 38,000-word document—most of which is not about climate change—actually reads like a giant step backward for the Church’s social teaching: a rejection of technological progress; a dark, narrow vision of human nature that ignores the enormous gains the world has made in alleviating human suffering; and an almost antihuman call, reminiscent of the most radical environmentalists, to reduce human activity drastically as the only way to save the planet.

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preachDylan Pahman has a bit of an issue with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. It seems the two have written an op-ed for the New York Times in response to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’. The only problem is, according to Pahman, the two don’t sound like Christians.

The Patriarch and Archbishop’s op-ed could have been written by a deist like Thomas Jefferson, or a UN bureaucrat versed in God-talk. Sure, they vaguely mention God and creation. But the Gospel message of the Son of God become Son of Man, Jesus Christ, who suffered, died and rose again to save the world from corruption, sin, and death — a global cause and calling if there ever was one — is missing in action. (more…)

Peter Johnson, external relations officer for the Acton Institute, discusses the muddled economic message in the recent encyclical for The Federalist:

While I don’t doubt for a moment that Pope Francis sincerely wants to help the poor, I think it would be difficult for even the most erudite Catholic scholars to find a coherent message in a passage like this.

For example, he praises business as a “noble vocation” while summarily disparaging “economies of scale.” While he recognizes that poor people need to be connected to the larger economy to rise out of poverty, he also encourages “civil authorities” to constrain those in the larger economy who actually have the capital to invest in new enterprises.

This vacillation between upholding the merits of enterprise and disparaging profits runs throughout the encyclical. If I could sum up his view on commerce in one sentence it would be this: Business is okay, as long as you don’t make too much money.

Read the entire post “Pope Francis’ Incoherent Economics” here at The Federalist.

scientific_methodMy husband and I had a conversation about science on the way home from church yesterday. Since he is a scientist, it drives him a little buggy when people talk about “consensus” as a way to come to a scientific conclusion, or that scientific facts can be “bent” to uphold a particular opinion or viewpoint. As he said, science is about discovery and fact, not about agreement. One hundred people can agree that grass is, in fact, a mammal, but that is not science, nor is there scientific evidence to uphold that claim.

Jay Richards gives us a litmus test for scientific evidence. When should we be skeptical of science?

First, be skeptical when different claims get “bundled” together.

Usually, in scientific disputes, there is more than one claim at issue. With global warming, there’s the claim that our planet, on average, is getting warmer. There’s also the claim that human emissions are the main cause of it, that it’s going to be catastrophic, and that we have to transform civilization to deal with it. These are all different assertions with different bases of evidence. Evidence for warming, for instance, isn’t evidence for the cause of that warming. All the polar bears could drown, the glaciers melt, the sea levels rise 20 feet and Newfoundland become a popular place to tan, and that wouldn’t tell us a thing about what caused the warming. This is a matter of logic, not scientific evidence. The effect is not the same as the cause.

Don’t assume that “consensus” equals science. (more…)

Shareholders

All eyes seem to be directed toward Rome last week as the Pope weighed in on climate change. As anticipated, there has already been a lot of spinning by the whirling dervishes of the zealous variety– doubling down on their over-the-top, pre-release spin.

Yes, it’s a given both sides of the climate-change debate are spinning, but as your writer is on the skeptical end of the spectrum it seems the other end is receiving the majority of media coverage. Skeptics? We’re castigated as “deniers,” “Republicans,” and, of course, “anti-science.” Ouch! No worries, however, as we skeptics have grown accustomed to ad hominem attacks, not to mention pseudo-science, false claims of a scientific consensus agreeing on human-caused global warming, and accusations we’re performing the bidding of Faux News. Hoo boy, as Boris Badenov used to say.

Allow me a bit of schadenfreude when I report the consistent defeat of so-called religious-based shareholder activism deployed against oil and gas companies – on which more below. I take pleasure in these persistent defeats not because I dislike my loyal opposition as much as they dislike skeptics but because I’m convinced the best way to lift the poor from poverty and incumbent disease, hunger and illness is cheap and readily available fuels. It’s not about winning an argument from my point of view inasmuch it’s about enabling the world’s poorest to attain self-sufficiency, health, and comfort – mostly because I recognize the world’s poverty has been halved in the past 20 years, largely due to affordable fuels.

And yet… Elizabeth Douglass at InsideClimate News reports religious shareholders are persistent in their failed efforts to deep-six economically the companies in which they invest. Douglass trots out the usual suspects: Timothy Smith of Boston-based Walden Asset Management; Sister Patricia Daly of the Roman Catholic Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell, N.J.; and Rev. Michael Crosby from the Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order in Milwaukee. Daly and Crosby, notes Douglass, “have worked together for years as active participants in the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), a New York group whose members manage more than $100 billion in assets.” Douglass continues:

For the past few years, several climate resolutions at Exxon have won more than a quarter of the shareholder vote, and sometimes nearly a third. The vote count reached a remarkable level of backing for proposals opposed by management, according to Heidi Welsh, executive director at the Sustainable Investments Institute, a Maryland-based nonprofit that provides impartial analysis of social and environmental policy shareholder resolutions.

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Blog author: jcarter
Monday, June 22, 2015
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Few Echo Pope’s Environment Plea in Sunday Sermons
Laurie Goodstein, New York Times

[F]ew priests or bishops — other than in parts of Latin America — used their own pulpits on Sunday to pass on the pope’s message, according to parish visits, interviews with Catholic leaders and reports from Catholics after Mass.

When Mike Rowe says “Work Ethic,” do you hear “Lazy”?
Brian M. Carney, Acculturated

When Mike Rowe, creator of the show Dirty Jobs, issued his S.W.E.A.T. Pledge, it prompted an unusually fierce debate: Is a work ethic now a partisan issue? Writing in the Washington Post, Hunter Schwarz argues that it is, like it or not.

Water Market Best Hope to Ease California Drought
Steven Greenhut, Reason.com

As California’s drought enters its fourth year, policy makers here mostly argue over two alternatives – stepping up conservation and water-use enforcement or building new dams and other water-storage facilities. But the solution to the water crisis is more likely to be found on an application that can be downloaded onto our cellphones.

Supreme Court Says Texas Can Reject Confederate Flag License Plates
Adam Liptak, New York Times

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Texas did not violate the First Amendment when it refused to allow specialty license plates bearing the Confederate battle flag. Such plates, Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote for the majority, are the government’s speech and are thus immune from First Amendment attacks.

Acton Institute Co-Founder and President Rev. Robert A. Sirico made an appearance on America’s News Headquarters on Fox News Channel this afternoon to discuss the impact of Pope Francis’ new encyclical, and to share his thoughts as part of the discussion the Pope has called upon us all to participate in on the state of the environment. You can view his Father’s Day appearance using the video player below.

Jordan Ballor, editor of the Journal of Markets and Morality, joined host Austin Hill on Faith Radio’s Austin Hill in the Morning show on Friday morning to discuss Pope Francis’ new encyclical, Laudato Si’, and its impact in the broader Christian world beyond the Roman Catholic Church. You can listen to the interview via the audio player below.