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Religion & Liberty Article Listing

Antonin Scalia [1936 – 2016]

If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.

He was famous for his unyielding opinions, scathing dissents and witticisms, but Justice Antonin Scalia was much more than a brilliant lawyer and steadfast Supreme Court justice. He was a devout Roman Catholic, a family man and a great friend even to his ideological enemies. Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey, to Sicilian immigrant Salvatore Scalia and firstgeneration Italian-American Catherine Panaro. He graduated valedictorian three times: from St. Francis Xavier High School, Georgetown University and Harvard Law School.

After he received his law degree, Scalia married Maureen McCarthy and began working at the law offices of Jones, Day, Cockley &...

Getting justice right

The following essay is excerpted from Samuel Gregg’s new book For God and Profit: How Banking and Finance Can Serve the Common Good (Crossroad, 2016).

No one ideal financial system is immediately derived from either Christian faith or natural reason. That’s not just because of sin and its effects. It’s also a reflection of a truth that has already been stated but that cannot be repeated enough: while Christianity teaches that one can never choose evil, there are often many ways of doing good that, while differing from one another, don’t violate the principles revealed by natural law and divine revelation. There is no uniquely right way to provide, for instance, housing for the homeless. But fraud always constitutes injustice.

Like any sector of the economy, finance is subject to the requirements of justice. And the nature of...

Finance and the common good

A Review of For God and Profit: How Banking and Finance Can Serve the Common Good (Crossroad, 2016).

The Jesuits control the Federal Reserve. This conspiratorial New York subway graffito is perhaps a small sign that the church’s relationship to financial markets remains misunderstood. Financial judgment and moral judgment are different, but not unrelated, skills. Both must be learned and disciplined. Graham and Dodd managed 770 pages on security analysis, yet Aquinas left an unfinished summa with more than 3000 pages. A financial professional spends years learning markets, analyzing businesses and pricing risk. He learns to separate signals from noise, correlation from coincidence. He takes seriously St. Paul’s counsel to “test everything; hold on to what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). In a profession based in computer...

What is our Constitution?

For the seventh Acton Institute Annual Dinner on June 17, 1997, Justice Antonin Scalia gave the evening’s keynote lecture. Despite having spoken these words nearly two decades ago, the message is just as important today as it was that evening. The following essay has been transcribed and excerpted from that speech. The full audio is available online on Acton’s PowerBlog. In honor of the late justice’s significant promotion of freedom and virtue, he is also featured in this issue’s “In the Liberal Tradition.”

I want to talk about the Constitution of the United States, something to which I devote a fair amount of my time these days. There is really nothing like it in the world. It is not a great constitution simply because it...

Is there a cure for America’s discontent? A roundup on populism, trade and the market economy

For this Religion & Liberty interview, we’ve rounded up data about unemployment, the economy, free trade, talking points from the 2016 presidential election and more. We’re interested in getting different viewpoints from Acton writers and lecturers on what the data show.

In a March column titled “The view from the rustbelt,” the Economist writer Lexington began with these lines: “America feels sick at heart this year. Can conventional politics cure that malaise, or will voters turn to those peddling radical remedies, from trade wars to high border walls?” Indeed, after decades of bipartisan agreement on the benefits of free trade and the market economy, that consensus appears to be in tatters. Massive voter turnout in presidential primaries, spurred on by the populist appeal of socialist Democrat Bernie Sanders and anti-...

Editor’s Note

Sarah Stanley editor of R&L

The snow has finally melted in West Michigan, which means it’s time for the year’s second issue of Religion & Liberty. Recent news cycles have been plagued with images of angry Americans, students protesting and populist discontent. The 2016 presidential election has really brought to light that the American people are angry—specifically with American leadership. Here at the Acton Institute, we’re interested in looking more deeply at these issues, particularly if there is a cure for this great discontent. To understand the issues, we’ve rounded up experts on employment, trade, millennials and other issues surrounding the 2016 race to the White House. The roundup...

What can I expect at Acton University 2016?

The conference will be held at the DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, on June 14–17. The conference fees are $500 for students and $750 for regular attendees. This year includes 15 first-time faculty members, 42 new courses (for a total of 121) and online registration for all hotel reservations. There will be a special screening of the award-winning documentary Poverty, Inc.

Acton University offers another strong lineup of keynote speakers:

Magatte Wade: a passionate adventurer and idealistic entrepreneur. Born in Senegal and educated in Germany and France, she left for the United States to begin a career as soon as she could. She lived and worked in Silicon Valley at the height of the dot-com boom and started a beverage company that obtained national distribution at leading natural food retailers and distributors...

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word

Psalm 139:1-3

You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

One of the great characteristics of the Lord is that he cares and delights in us personally. Nothing about his character is impersonal or distant. God is always relational. His Trinitarian nature speaks to the very fact that God reveals himself in and through relationships.

For many people, the thought of God knowing everything about them is terrifying. For others, it is unfathomable to ponder the history of creation and realize that there never was a time that they were unknown to the Lord. God knows our thoughts every day, even long after we have completely forgotten them. This is good news, because the deepest desire of the Lord is to be...

Religious liberty is never a given

The past century has been witness to many villainous acts committed against the Christian faith in the name of hostile, and often secular, ideologies. Many of these horrors are portrayed in literature and film and with varying degrees of success. However, each in its own way presents a snapshot of the dystopias created when religious freedoms are abrogated. These books and films provide instructive reminders today as organized spiritual faith is attacked in our country by government sanction and abroad by antagonist militias for whom religious pluralism is an abomination.

There are a great number of stories dealing with the Holocaust— perhaps the greatest inhumanity perpetrated against any religious group in history. There are...

Editor’s Note

Sarah Stanley editor of R&L

The first issue of Religion & Liberty in 2016 will explore several topics from a variety of faith traditions: entrepreneurship, the International Criminal Court, business philosophy, common grace and the 18thcentury British abolition movement.

Late last year I had the privilege of interviewing Rev. Bruce Baker, a Silicon Valley veteran, entrepreneur, pastor and college professor. For this issue’s interview, he discusses the history of Silicon Valley, technocracy, how Christians can be “winsome” witnesses and more.

Charles Koch, while widely admired in many spheres, is completely disparaged in others. In a new review, Stephen Schmalhofer tackles Koch...

Charles Koch’s metaphysics of business

Review of Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World’s Most Successful Companies by Charles Koch (Crown Business, 2015)

Adam Smith, a venerable supporter of free enterprise, held businessmen in low regard, alleging that their every meeting “ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” While deference is due to his lasting insights into the sources of the values of men in The Theory of Moral Sentiments and their success in The Wealth of Nations, I observe that many executives tout their “core values,” but not all of these companies are successful. Businessman and philanthropist Charles Koch is successful by any...

The EU: global judicial despotism and the international criminal court

This essay has been excerpted from Todd Huizinga’s new book, The New Totalitarian Temptation: Global Governance and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe (Encounter Books, 2016).

The European Union’s goal of creating a post-nation-state, supranationally governed world—in which nations give up key aspects of their national sovereignty to a web of international institutions that administer and enforce a body of international law—is diametrically opposed to U.S. identity and ideals. Americans instinctively refuse to recognize as legitimate any international organization, law or treaty that claims any authority over Americans above the U.S. Constitution, particularly if that...

Common grace in ivory towers and tractor companies

Excerpted from “Getting the trophies ready: serving God in the business world,” an essay which first appeared in the Journal of Markets and Morality Spring 2015 issue. In this essay, Mouw discusses three “Kuyperian spheres” of service: academia, business and the church.

Most of the time, most of us make the linguistic transitions in our daily lives quite smoothly. We work alongside our colleagues, stop at the grocery store to make a purchase, go home to a family meal and then relax in front of our TV sets as spectators in the world of athletics. In all of that, we encounter different languages. How we talk at the workplace differs from our meal table conversations, and the...

Land of milk and honey: Innovation, entrepreneurship and Silicon Valley | An interview with Rev. Bruce Baker

What is it about Silicon Valley? Why did this agriculturally gifted valley give birth to so many of the world’s leading technology firms while simultaneously becoming the cultural landmark of the entrepreneurial spirit? Someone who not only has studied the Valley extensively but also was part of several Silicon Valley giants shares some insights with Religion & Liberty’s associate editor, Sarah Stanley.

Rev. Bruce Baker began his career interested in entrepreneurship and technology but was called to the ministry two decades in. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in applied science from the California Institute of Technology in 1978 and a Master of Business Administration from...

Hannah More [1745 – 1833]

Genius without religion is only a lamp on the outer gate of a palace; it may serve to cast a gleam of light on those that are without, while the inhabitant sits in darkness.

Talented poet, playwright, convicted moral writer and philanthropist Hannah More was arguably the most influential woman of her time. Witty and quick, she is best known for her writings on abolition and for encouraging women to get involved with the antislavery movement. She was born on February 2, 1745, near Bristol in southwest England and was the fourth of five daughters of Jacob and Mary Grace More. Jacob was a schoolmaster, and eventually his eldest daughter, Mary, followed in his footsteps, opening a school for girls in 1758. Hannah became a pupil at twelve and eventually taught there as well.

More mastered writing at a young age. When she was 17 she wrote her first play, The Search...