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Acton Notes - September/October 2010

Acton Dinner Pays Tribute to Richard M. DeVos

Mr. Richard M. DeVos will receive Acton Institute's Faith and Freedom Award on October 21 for his remarkable accomplishments in business, American cultural life and philanthropy. The award will be presented to Mr. DeVos at the Acton 20th Anniversary dinner in Grand Rapids.

Rev. Robert A. Sirico, president and co-founder of the Acton Institute, cited DeVos for his "decades-long exemplary leadership in business, his dedication to the promotion of liberty, his courage in maintaining and defending the free and virtuous society, and his conviction that the roots of liberty and the morallycharged life are to be found in the eternal truths of the Judeo-Christian tradition."

DeVos and his wife, Helen, generously support hospitals, colleges and universities, arts organizations and Christian causes in their hometown of Grand Rapids, and they support numerous organizations in Central Florida. Among the many institutions they have helped create are DeVos Children's Hospital, the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences, the DeVos Communications Center at Calvin College, the DeVos Campus of Grand Valley State University, and the DeVos Place convention center. Florida contributions include the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida, and the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation. DeVos owns the Orlando Magic NBA franchise.

The Faith and Freedom Award was established as part of the Acton Institute's tenth anniversary celebration in 2000. The award recognizes an individual who exemplifies commitment to faith and freedom through outstanding leadership in civic, business, or religious life.

Past recipients include, with date of award: John Marks Templeton (2000); Cardinal Van Thuan (2002); Rocco Buttiglione (2004); Charles W. Colson (2006); Mart Laar (2007); and William F. Buckley (2008).

2010 Summer Interns Shine

Among the benefits of interning at Acton is the unique experience that comes from serving at events like Acton University, and also actively participating in the educational sessions. Some interns also used their skills to contribute to the PowerBlog and publish opinion editorials. The summer interns for 2010 represented many diverse individuals and schools from across the world. Summer interns not only hailed from the United States, but included international students from China, Hungary, and Italy.

Acton entered the world of digital book publishing and interns were instrumental in helping to launch ebooks to expand our reach. The work they did to improve Acton's visibility on social networking sites and high quality translation work was also invaluable to the mission of the Acton Institute. Christopher Oppermann, an undergraduate student at Harvard offered some thoughts on his summer internship:

I can easily say, without hesitation, that my relationship with Acton has, in a very literal and concrete way, changed my life. Without the contact I have had with Acton and its work, I certainly know that I would be in a different position in my life today.

Kelly Miller, also a summer intern with Acton declared:

I worked with several Acton staff to strategize marketing for the Birth of Freedom curriculum in the homeschooling community. Acton produces high-quality educational materials with a broad appeal, and the market for those materials is so large and receptive that it's challenging to get the word out to everyone who may be interested. I was encouraged to see how much opportunity there is to reach people with information about connecting good intentions with sound economics.

Kelly Miller wrote a commentary for Acton titled "In the 'Green' Economy, the Poor Pay More."

While cap-and-trade legislation has little chance of passage at the moment, Ms. Miller examined how federal bureaucracies can accomplish much of what elected representatives so far haven't been able to put in place because of a lack of popular appeal.

The Acton Institute would like to thank all the summer interns. They were: Stuart Beaman, Mate Csak, Francesco Dibosio, Lucy Feil, Michelle Hornak, Martha Johnson, Kyle Lockhart, Kelly Miller, Tony Oleck, Chris Oppermann, Ed Smilde, Elizabeth Sunshine, Laura Trevisan, and Liping Xu.

Upcoming: Chicago Open Mic

Acton's "Chicago Open Mic" event is set to take place November 4 at the University Club of Chicago. Issues that will be addressed are the state of financial markets, the prospect for economic growth, the impact of government debt, and the future of free and open discussion of faith in the public square. Please come ready with questions to ask the panelists. Panelists include Acton president Rev. Robert Sirico, Mr. Joseph A. Morris, who is a partner in the law firm of Morris & De La Rosa. Mr. Morris served in President Ronald Reagan's administration. Also joining the panel is Mr. Brian S. Wesbury, who is the Chief Economist at First Trust Advisors L.P., a financial services firm based in Wheaton, Illinois. For more about this event, please email Kimberly Brink at kbrink@acton.org.

Acton Lecture Series Closes Strong for 2010

Dr. Samuel Gregg and Mr. Jordan Ballor delivered the last two lectures in the 2010 Acton Lecture Series. Dr. Gregg's lecture titled "Europe's Economic Crisis: What Went Wrong, What Will Happen, and What it Means for America" took place on September 2 in Grand Rapids and draw 85 attendees. Dr. Gregg said that even in the midst of crisis, "there are several things some European governments are doing much better than America right now when it comes to dealing with their economic problems." He also noted that Europe "provides us with a living, breathing case-study of how interventionist policies with expansive welfare programs can, especially when mixed with a certain culture of democracy, drive entire countries to the brink of economic collapse."

He concluded his remarks by stressing the critical need for Europeans and Americans to develop a moral, political and economic culture which understands the deep deficiency of politicians and citizens using the state to live at the expense of others.

Mr. Jordan Ballor lectured on "Ecumenical Ethics & Economics: A Critical Appraisal" on July 15. Ballor has published a new book on the subject named "Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness." Ballor concluded the book with an appeal to a more faithful calling for the ecumenical movement:

It is the fervent hope expressed in this critique that the divisive and ideological language of economistic faith all too often expressed in the social witness of the ecumenical movement might be renewed and reformed. Let our [Christian] confession be not "I follow Marx," or, "I follow Hayek," "I follow Rand," or, "I follow Keynes," but rather, together, "We follow Christ" (see 1 Co. 1:12).

The World Council of Churches, the godmother organization of the ecumenical movement, whose institutional origins go far back into the last century, is made up of 349 member churches in more than 110 countries worldwide, representing over 560 million Christians.