The Acton Institute’s 2008 lecture series provides a powerful contrast of faith and liberty against social engineering and state control.
The first lecture takes place on January 3 and will be delivered by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse. Roback Morse is a research fellow for the Acton Institute. Her lecture is titled, “Freedom, the Family and the Market, a Humane Response to the Socialist Attack on the Family.” Having previously taught at Yale and George Mason University, as well as being a wife and mother, she brings a powerful perspective to the discussion of faith and policies that affect the family. Roback Morse also served as a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. The Hoover Institution’s mission statement expresses the basic tenets it stands for: representative government, private enterprise, peace, personal freedom, and the safeguards of the American system.
In February, Dr. Glen Sunshine will deliver a lecture for the Acton Lecture Series titled, “Wealth, Work and the Church.” This lecture will explore the biblical foundations of work and wealth in creation in light of the history of the church to find the proper balance between the competing ideas of earthly riches in Christianity and the explosion of prosperity gospel, which incorrectly claims poverty is a curse. Dr. Sunshine is chair of the history department at Central Connecticut State University.
Rev. Robert Sirico will speak in March on “The Rise (and Eventual Downfall) of the New Religious Left.” A new coalition of the religious left is organizing with other anti-free-market foes to squelch any return to the principles of limited government, while continuing their support to further the cause of big government. Rev. Sirico asks, “Can anyone stop them?” Additional speakers for the 2008 Acton Lecture Series will include:
Acton’s president Rev. Robert Sirico and executive director Kris Mauren went to the Philippines in November to promote The Call of the Entrepreneur. They also promoted free-market policies while meeting with Asian business, policy, and church leaders. On November 9 they attended a speaking engagement on morality and economics for the Center for Research and Communication Foundation. The CRC Foundation is dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge in the service of man and society. The CRC focuses on questions that bear on the dignity of the person, the unity of the family, civic responsibility, human solidarity, with the purpose of making current issues understood by decision-makers in business, government, and civil society, thus translating progressive ideas into action.
Sirico and Mauren also met with the National Institute for Policy Study on November 9. The meeting also included Liberal Party officials in the Philippines. Other important meetings included a discussion with the Foundation for Economic Freedom and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. On November 10 Acton’s co-founders held a discussion with the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals. To date, the BCBP can be found in 113 strategic business centers in the Philippines, covering thirty seven provinces and thirty eight dioceses. There are fifty one full chapters and sixty two outreaches in the Philippines and two outreaches in California.
The BCBP and Frederich Nauman Foundation assisted with the premiere of The Call of the Entrepreneur on November 10 in Makati City. Rev. Sirico spoke about the film following the premiere. “It is important that people understand and value the role business people play in our economy,” said Rev. Sirico. “Without the coordinating institution of entrepreneurship, the poor will not have their needs met. People and societies will not have their hope for the future.” The two-day visit was a valuable educational and learning experience for the Acton Institute as well as its friends overseas, who are highly esteemed.
The Call of the Entrepreneur screening hosted by Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor, Michigan, was greeted with enthusiastic praise. The event was organized with the help of the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) organization at the university. SIFE is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise.
Acton’s development coordinator, Mandalyn Keeler, represented the Acton Institute at the campus screening. Keeler is an alumnus of the University. She had the opportunity to discuss the film with Dr. Caleb Chan, who is a business professor at the school, and Dr. James Coe, dean of the business school. “Both men were very pleased with the entire process and complimentary of the Acton Institute,” said Keeler.
There were more than a hundred people in attendance for the screening. Keeler noted that after viewing the film many students expressed a desire to attend Acton University and participate in an internship at Acton. In addition, many students returned a survey that provided Acton with valuable feedback. Ninety eight percent of respondents ranked the film as exceptional or good, while 2 percent rated the film as fair. The film did not receive a single negative ranking. The screening at Spring Arbor is just one example of the expected 500 screenings on college campuses in the coming months.
Dr. Samuel Gregg and Michael Miller discussed the first electoral defeat of Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez. The election was to be an endorsement of Chavez’s plan to overhaul the constitution and weaken Venezuelan democracy. Dr. Gregg, who is the director of research at Acton, was a guest on Thor Tolo’s radio program Live From Seattle on December 4. “People will remember, King Juan Carlos of Spain told Chavez, ‘Why don’t you just shut up,’ Chavez for the first time was seen as a buffoon among people in his own country,” Gregg said about a meeting among Latin American leaders. “The declining economic situation, the intervention of the Spanish king, and the opposition of the Catholic Church, really undid Chavez this time,” added Gregg. Gregg also discussed Chavez’s use of anti-American rhetoric to excite voters. “If you vote against me you are voting for the Bush administration and you’re a traitor. He was essentially trying to invoke a lot of anti-American sentiment, but it didn’t work. It wasn’t enough this time. People in Latin America are more worried about if they can buy food than what administration is in power in the United States,” said Gregg.
Acton’s director of programs Michael Miller appeared on several radio stations to discuss the election. Miller appeared on Kresta in the Afternoon and The Bill Meyer Show on December 4. Miller also discussed the role of the Roman Catholic Church, which played a pivotal role in blocking Chavez’s quest for even more power. “You had in the past liberation theology, which is a combination of Marxism with Christian language. Liberation theology was censored by the church and a lot of Catholic bishops are starting to recognize that in order for people to flourish you need private property and the rule of law,” said Miller. “Catholics are not putting forward a plan for economic growth. But what they are doing is saying there are certain things that are right and certain things that are wrong, and certain types of government don’t reflect the dignity of the person, and socialism is one of them,” Miller added. Miller also declared, “His socialist plans are ultimately failing.”