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Religion & Liberty: From Shark Tank to Redemption

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spring_cover_2015The Houston- based Prison Entrepreneurship Program looks at convicted criminals as if they were “raw metal in the hands of a blacksmith – crude, formless, and totally moldable.” PEP puts prisoners through a rigorous character training and business skills regimen to prepare them for a productive, even flourishing, re-entry to life after incarceration. Ray Nothstine took part in PEP’s “pitch day” presentations where prisoners test their start-up dreams before a panel of business people and investors. He describes his day at Cleveland Correctional Facility near Houston in the main feature in the Spring 2015 issue of Religion & Liberty and contributes an interview with Bert Smith, PEP chief executive.

Also in this issue, Rev. Gregory Jensen reviews Free Market Environmentalism for the Next Generation, a new book by Terry Anderson and Donald Leal. Rev. Jensen reminds us to pay attention to policy decisions that can help or hinder “our pursuit of the ethical goals that so many of our religious leaders recommend.”

“In the Liberal Tradition” profiles Isabel Paterson (1886-1961) a journalist, philosopher, and literary critic who is credited with being “one of the three women (along with Rose Wilder Lane and Ayn Rand) who launched the libertarian movement in America.” Not enough people remember her today even though her 1943 book, The God of the Machine, was highly influential on its publication. You’ll want to read this profile, and learn why Paterson had a major falling out with Rand.

In this issue, we excerpt Christ and Crisis, from the 1962 book by the Lebanese diplomat, philosopher, and theologian Charles Malik. Writing for Acton Commentary in March 2015, Dylan Pahman said that “despite its Cold War context, Christ and Crisis (in just 101 pages) offers a nuanced approach to Christian social thought and action, acknowledging the unique tasks of practitioners and theorists in their own competence in each realm of life, while never losing sight of the Cross of Jesus Christ.”

In the “Acton FAQ,” Acton Executive Director Kris Mauren offers some help on getting more deeply engaged with our work – even if you’re not able to attend our many events and lectures in Grand Rapids. For those who can travel to West Michigan, Acton President Rev. Robert A. Sirico offers some thoughts on what to expect from the Acton University experience in June.

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John Couretas John Couretas is Director of Communications, responsible for print and online communications at the Acton Institute. He has more than 20 years of experience in news and publishing fields. He has worked as a staff writer on newspapers and magazines, covering business and government. John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Humanities from Michigan State University and a Master of Science Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.

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