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…]

The End of America? The HHS Mandate’s Threat to Freedom

HHS Mandate’s Threat to Freedom The Obama’s Administration’s mandate requiring the Catholic Church to conform to government dictates on contraception and abortifacent drugs is more than a war on the Catholic Church argue Jennifer Roback Morse and Eric Metaxas. It’s a war on freedom.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has mandated that social service providers, including those run by Christian institutions and the Catholic Church, pay for abortion inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilizations through their health insurance plans, even if this violates their religious beliefs.

Eric Metaxas and Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse articulate the grave dangers of the Health & Human Services (HHS) Mandate with regard to religious freedom in America. [Read more…]

America: The Home of the…Compliant?

Socialism slavery tyranny communism by Daren Jonescu –
If you want a quick measure of the state of American society, you might consider the federal government’s use of unmanned aerial drones to monitor U.S. citizens, and in particular the EPA’s matter-of-fact defense of its use of drones over the Midwest as necessary to “verify compliance” with environmental laws. And as the EPA’s “environmental justice” agenda is quickly becoming the government’s official overarching priority (see here), we might describe the Obama era as the dawning of the Age of Compliance.

The priorities of civilizations can be gleaned from a consideration of the virtues they cherish most. For example, Homeric Greece valued honor, so their crowning virtue was courage. Later, the Classical philosophers attempted to change Greece, emphasizing the rational life over the warlike, and hence upholding wisdom as the definitive virtue. Achilles vs. Socrates became Greece’s great civilizational debate. [Read more…]

Progressing toward Moral Darkness

Communism and Progressivism Moral Darkness by Gary Horne –
A fashionable name for the left these days is “progressive.” The use of this word hints that the progressive has already passed the rest of us and is moving on to some place where the normal rules of reality don’t apply. Is it the Garden of Eden? Atlantis? Oz?

What will life be like in this destination? Will the moral standards be compatible with the society we want? How do progressive values compare with the traditional American ethical standards from the founding of the United States and from the major religions?

From the Founding:
The moral underpinnings of the United States of America were beautifully and concisely expressed in the Declaration of Independence:

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…]

Keynesianism and the Collectivist Dream

Democrat Communist Marxist no difference by William Sullivan –
It’s campaign season, and as usual, Democrats are employing their class struggle rhetoric to position a redistributive government agenda as the only way Americans can be saved from themselves and the greedy capitalists who prey upon them.

Accustomed though we may be, this might seem an odd campaign strategy in light of recent polls showing widespread distrust of, and even contempt for, the federal government.  But they have no choice but to keep their talking points emotional rather than substantive, you see.  The core economic model of the American left is Keynesianism, which is less a viable economic path than it is an unrealistic pipe dream that stirs the collectivist’s blood, much like the notions of world peace and Utopia.

Keynesianism is a model based upon how collectivists think the economy should operate, rather than how it actually operates.  As Ron Ross puts it, “Keynesianism is definitely not an evidence-based model of how the economy works. [Read more…]

What the Bible Teaches About Capitalism

Bible Capitalism America Freedom by Rabbi Aryeh Spero –
Who would have expected that in a Republican primary campaign the single biggest complaint among candidates would be that the front-runner has taken capitalism too far? As if his success and achievement were evidence of something unethical and immoral? President Obama and other redistributionists must be rejoicing that their assumptions about rugged capitalism and the 1% have been given such legitimacy.

More than any other nation, the United States was founded on broad themes of morality rooted in a specific religious perspective. We call this the Judeo-Christian ethos, and within it resides a ringing endorsement of capitalism as a moral endeavor. [Read more…]

The Economic Paradox No One Wants to Talk About

Patriot Post Economic Paradox by Arnold Ahlert –
There is an economic paradox that few people understand, much less wish to acknowledge, because to do so would reveal the level of societal deterioration that has caused it. In simple terms, there are two schools of economic thought: one posits that massive amounts of government spending, aka stimulus in all its odious forms, is the only way to save an economy.

The other posits that until massive over-spending by government is brought under control, aka austerity, economies over-burdened by debts and deficits will continue to founder. Who’s right? There is merit to both arguments — but only because we’ve reached the aforementioned level of societal deterioration. Let me explain.

For decades, the growth of government both here and in Europe, has been inexorable. [Read more…]

Catholic Bishops Take on Obama

US Catholic Bishops USCCB by Vincent Phillip Munoz –
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken a bold stand for religious freedom. In a recent statement, titled “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” the bishops call for repeal of contraception coverage mandated by the Department of Health and Human Services. The clarified position sets up a dramatic confrontation with the Obama administration—and would, if the bishops prevail, help preserve the religious liberty of all Americans.

The HHS mandate requires employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception and sterilization services. It is, according to the bishops, an “unjust law.” They write: “It cannot be obeyed and therefore one does not seek relief from it, but rather its repeal.” [Read more…]

Free Enterprise and Fiscal Sanity Aren’t Social Darwinism

Free Enterprise Economic Freedom by Jay W. Richards –
On Tuesday, President Obama denounced Representative Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, which would modestly reduce the rate of growth in the federal budget. Ryan’s plan is a “radical vision,” says the president, which amounts to “thinly veiled Social Darwinism.” Understandably, Ryan has called the comments “surreal,” since the Wisconsin Republican seeks to reform entitlements such as Medicare in order to save them. That doesn’t sound like Social Darwinism.

In fact, “Social Darwinism” is an old left-wing catch phrase used to disparage free enterprise. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes reportedly said that one good catch phrase can stop thinking for fifty years. This one certainly has. [Read more…]