If You Like Your God, You Can Keep Him

It's not a choice, it's a Childby Betsy McCaughey –
On Nov. 1, the Gilardi brothers, devout Roman Catholics who operate their own fresh produce business in Ohio, won round two in a battle against the White House. The Obama administration tried to claim that freedom of religion means freedom to pray, not necessarily to practice your beliefs. Once you leave church, you have to obey government regulations, even when they conflict with your faith.

Francis and Philip Gilardi insisted on living their beliefs as they run their business. For a decade, they’ve provided health insurance for their 400 employees but excluded abortion drugs, contraception and sterilization because they conflict with Catholic teachings.

However, the Obama administration requires all health plans to provide them. On Jan. 2, 2013, the Gilardi brothers sued in federal court, asking for temporary protection from the $14 million annual penalty they would face for not complying. [Read more...]

An Orthodox Christian Moral Case for Property Rights

Orthodox Christian Moral Case for Property Rightsby Fr. Gregory Jensen –
As a pastor, I’ve been struck by the hostility, or at least suspicion, that some Orthodox Christians reveal in their discussions of private property. While there are no doubt many reasons for this disconnect, I think a central factor is a lack of appreciation for the role that private property can, and does, play in fostering human flourishing.

It is through the wise and prudent use of our property that we are able to give ourselves over in love to the next generation and so give them the possibility of likewise transcending a purely material way of life through an act of self-donation. Economists Terry Anderson and Laura Huggins, in Property Rights: A Practical Guide to Freedom and Prosperity  (Hoover Institution, 2009), are right when they remind us that while not a panacea, “property rights to oneself (human capital), one’s investments (physical capital), or one’s ideas (intellectual capital), secure claims to assets” and so “give people the ability to make their own decisions, reaping the benefits of good choices and bearing the costs of bad ones.” [Read more...]

The Great Surrender

Nation of Sheep Begets a Government of Wolvesby Daren Jonescu –
Those who have been forcibly divested of their natural liberty by tyrants must be pitied. They have been coerced into accepting lies of security and state beneficence as paltry compensation for the loss of their birthright of a life worthy of human beings. And yet such wretchedness of external conditions, though destroying a man’s practical life, does not destroy the man. More wretched than this is the spiritual self-destruction of one who would freely sell himself into tyranny in exchange for that very same subhuman compensation.

Western politics has fallen under the domination of progressive authoritarianism. The press, once perceived as a safeguard against government corruption and overreach, has become an almost monolithic mouthpiece and apologist for oppression. Art, long modernity’s bastion of moral questioning and humane doubt in the face of materialist reductionism, has finally reduced itself to dogmatic nihilism, collectivist amorality, and court jesterism in the service of power. [Read more...]

When Free Speech Died in Canada

Free Speech Died in Canadaby Joe Carter –
When future historians attempt to narrow down the exact point at which the concept of free speech died in Canada, they’ll likely point to Saskatchewan (Human Rights Commission) v. Whatcott, specifically this sentence:

Truthful statements can be presented in a manner that would meet the definition of hate speech, and not all truthful statements must be free from restriction.

Jesus might have claimed that “the truth will set you free” but in Canada speaking the same truths proclaimed in God’s Word could potentially land you in jail.

“The ruling and the reasoning [behind it] is terrible,” defendant Bill Whatcott told LifeSiteNews.com. “They actually used the concept that truth is not a defense.” [Read more...]

Why do Civilians Need Assault Weapons?

Why do Civilians Need Assault Weaponsby Mark Almonte –
The two strongest reasons for civilians to own assault weapons are self-defense and defense against tyranny.

One self-defense situation that comes to mind is the L.A. riots. Who can forget the nightly news’s live footage of thugs hurling rocks at passing cars, buildings on fire, and looters smashing storefront windows? Then there was the savage beating of truck driver Reginald Denny.

What was stunningly absent from the video footage? There were no police or fire personnel.

According to the Los Angeles Times, police were ordered to stay out of the area for three hours.  Numerous 911 calls for assault, murder, and fire-bombings went unanswered.  But as the violence raged, one group of citizens refused to be victims — the Korean storeowners. [Read more...]

Christians Must Not Retreat from the Culture, We Must Work for its Conversion

Christians Must Convert the Cultureby Deacon Keith Fournier –
Two years before becoming Pope, Karol Cardinal Wotyla spoke to the U.S. Bishops. His observation was republished in the Wall Street Journal on November 9, 1978:

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church must take up.”

And take it up we have. However, there is much, much more to do. The ground has shifted and the struggle is intensifying. Our cultural mission lies at the heart of what it means for us as Christians to be leaven, light, salt and the soul of the world. This is no time to retreat from culture, we must work for its conversion. What is needed are men and women of Christian courage. [Read more...]

Sacrifice and Self-Interest

Sacrifice and Self-Interestby Jordan Ballor –
One of the complaints often rendered against the market economy is that it encourages selfish behavior. This picture of the marketplace is that of a kind of war of all against all, with each participant out only to maximize his or her own individual benefit. As American social gospel advocate Walter Rauschenbusch contended in his Christianizing the Social Order, “The trader has always been the outstanding case of the man who plays his own hand and sacrifices social solidarity for private gain.” This characteristic, claimed Rauschenbusch, has been exaggerated in the modern era, such that “the trading class has become the ruling class, and consequently the selfishness of trade has been exalted to the dignity of an ethical principle. Every man is taught to seek his own advantage, and then we wonder that there is so little public spirit.” [Read more...]

Thanksgiving with Winston Churchill

Thanksgiving Defend Liberty Oppose Tyrannyby Jeffrey Folks –
In an appearance at Royal Albert Hall on November 23, 1944, Winston Churchill spoke in honor of the American holiday of Thanksgiving. On that day, just as Hitler was about to unleash the desperate counterattack that became known as the Battle of the Bulge, Churchill declared that there had never before “been more justification, and more compulsive need” for a day of thanksgiving.

As the enormous global struggle approached its climax, clearly there was “need” for thanksgiving. With an estimated 100 million human beings already lost in the years between 1935 and 1945, there was need for resolve if the war was to be carried through to its conclusion. Offering thanks for the allied successes to date might aid in that resolve.

Certainly there was need, but precisely why was there “justification” for a day of thanksgiving? On this point Churchill was equally articulate. The free world had reason to be thankful that America, a nation of “peaceful, peace-loving people,” had at the critical juncture awakened from its slumber and transformed itself into the pre-eminent military power in the world. [Read more...]

Religious Freedom is Necessary for Other Freedoms to Flourish

Religious Freedom key to all other freedomsby Thomas Farr –
Is religious freedom necessary for other freedoms to flourish? This is indeed a big question. It implicates an array of philosophical issues and scholarly disciplines, but it also has distinctly practical, even strategic, dimensions. That is to say, it raises questions not only about human nature and human flourishing, but about the freedom and stability of whole societies, as well as international peace.

The “other freedoms” with which we are here concerned typically exist in a mature democratic system of civil society and ordered liberty. They include the freedoms of expression, association, assembly, economic activity, and equality under the law, and freedom from persecution or unjust violence. [Read more...]

Hope in God, Do Not Despair

St.  Cyprian of Carthageby Fr. Brian Mullady, OP –
There are those who despair and have no hope when things do not go their way in the political order. This cannot be a Christian attitude.

“The world itself now bears witness to its approaching end by its fading powers. […] The peasant is failing and disappearing from the fields, the sailor at sea, the soldier in the camp, uprightness in the forum, justice in the court, concord in friendships, skill in the arts, discipline in morals.”

Someone might think these words were written today in response to a decline in American society witnessed by the attempt to so centralize the government that the freedom of the Church is threatened. Yet these words were written by St. Cyprian, an early Church Father, around the year 250.

At the time, the Christians thought that the world was coming to an end as they knew it. Yet St. Cyprian, as all good Christians, was not moved to despair. [Read more...]

Hobby Lobby’s Christian Owners Fight $1.3 Million-Per-Day HHS Mandate Fine

Hobby Lobby CEO David Green and his wife Barbara

Hobby Lobby CEO David Green and his wife Barbara

by Kathleen Gilbert –
The Obama administration is set to levy as much as a $1.3 million per day fine against a Christian retail business based on their religious objection to abortifacient drugs, according to a lawsuit filed this week.

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., with more than 500 arts and crafts stores in 41 states and over 22,500 employees, is reportedly the largest for-profit business yet to file suit over the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate requiring businesses to provide free abortion-causing drugs, such as the “week-after” pill Ella, as non-negotiable “preventive services.”

Lawyers for the private retail chain filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, where the company is based. [Read more...]

Cardinal Dolan on Fighting the Good Fight for Religious Freedom

Cardinal Timothy Dolan by Cardinal Timothy Dolan –
Over the course of the coming year, the effort to protect religious liberty and the freedom of conscience will continue. In the end, this is not about bishops, it is not about Catholics, it is not about contraceptives. It is about the ideals our nation was founded upon: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. You can’t do much better than the First Amendment to the Constitution. The founding fathers got it right. The HHS mandate gets it wrong. We are fighting to correct that wrong, in order to make sure that religious freedom continues for the generations to come after us. …

One part of the HHS mandate sadly goes into effect today, August 1, 2012. You probably know all about the mandate by now. It’s the decree from the Secretary of Health and Human Services that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires employer health care plans to include contraceptive services for women, including drugs called abortifacients. [Read more...]

Archbishop Chaput: Christians Must Render Themselves Unto God

Archbishop Charles Chaput by Archbishop Charles Chaput –
Paul Claudel, the French poet and diplomat of the last century, once described the Christian as “a man who knows what he is doing and where he is going in a world [that] no longer [knows] the difference between good and evil, yes and no. He is like a god standing out in a crowd of invalids . . . He alone has liberty in a world of slaves.”

Like most of the great writers of his time, Claudel was a mix of gold and clay, flaws and genius. He had a deep and brilliant Catholic faith, and when he wrote that a man “who no longer believes in God, no longer believes in anything,” he was simply reporting what he saw all around him. He spoke from a lifetime that witnessed two world wars and the rise of atheist ideologies that murdered tens of millions of innocent people using the vocabulary of science. He knew exactly where forgetting God can lead. [Read more...]

Independence Day Reflection: Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness

Life Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness by F. K. Bartels –
Man’s natural desire for happiness is of “divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it” (CCC 1718). …

In June of 1776 Thomas Jefferson, seated in the second-floor parlor of a bricklayer’s house in Philadelphia, brilliantly composed the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence. After some revision, the bulk of the document was approved by Congress on 4 July, 1776. While the Declaration would soon become one of the world’s most significant documents, its second sentence is perhaps most famous:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” [Read more...]

Earning Happiness — The Moral Promise of Free Enterprise

Prager University The words “happiness” and “free enterprise” don’t usually appear in the same sentence. Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, explains that the two are intimately and profoundly connected. The free enterprise system not only creates real wealth, it also provides individuals with the best chance to achieve personal satisfaction.

Brooks’ lecture, titled “Earning Happiness: The Moral Promise of Free Enterprise,” makes a strong case that the free market economic system is most conducive to human welfare. Brooks explains

“Free enterprise matters not just because of its unparalleled material benefits but because of its unparalleled moral benefits.”

[Read more...]