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Religion & Liberty Article Listing

The Moral Crisis of Crony Capitalism

An Interview with Peter Schweizer

Peter Schweizer is the William J. Casey Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University and a best-selling author. He is a partner in the Washington firm Oval Office Writers which provides speechwriting and communications services for corporate executives and political figures.

His most recent book is Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011). It was the subject of a feature on CBS' 60 Minutes and in Newsweek...

Editor's Note

There is no evidence that Mark Felt, identified by the code name Deep Throat, ever whispered "follow the money" to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward during the Watergate investigation just over 40 years ago. It's a line that lives on in the film All the President's Men. It's assumed to be true because it accurately depicts the situation in our government where many corporations and politicians profit from state power and expansion.

Cronyism is a full frontal assault on the free society. Author and Hoover Institution fellow Peter Schweizer talks about the crony crisis that infects the culture of Washington and many corporate board rooms. "I would say some of the biggest enemies of the free market today in America are big corporations," adds Schweizer. He also delves into how big government wedded to corporations threatens...

The Role of Profits

Profits are central to capitalism, and I am often asked whether profit making is evidence of greed. Not in itself. The fact that a business is profitable tells us little that is morally relevant. Profit, after all, is simply the name that accounting attaches to the condition of income outpacing costs. In other words, a company that earns a profit brings in more money than it expends for all of its costs, including materials, real estate, labor, and taxes. The opposite of profits is financial loss. A firm that is losing rather than making money cannot long survive. So, under ordinary circumstances, profits are a necessary condition for the success and continuation of a business.

Of course, the government can bail out unprofitable businesses at taxpayers' expense. But that only shifts the need for profits to the other— profitable—enterprises that pay the taxes....

Metropolitan Philip II

Metropolitan Philip II

"He alone can in truth call himself sovereign who is master of himself, who is not subject to his passions and conquers by charity."

Born Theodore Kolychev, Metropolitan Phillip II of Moscow, a saint of the Orthodox Church, took the name Philip when he was tonsured a monk at the monastery of Solovki in northern Russia, on an island in the White Sea. Though his father had been a minister in the court of Basil III, he chose instead the life of a monk at one of Russia's most remote monasteries.

Having advanced to the point of living as a hermit in the nearby forest, Philip succeeded the abbot Alexis as head of the monastery at the latter's request. As abbot, Philip set about to improve the monastery by encouraging a...

What is the 'Our Great Exchange' curriculum and why is it an important stewardship resource?

Starting in 2010, the Acton Institute began developing a seven-part stewardship curriculum to strengthen the connection of faith, calling and economics in the daily life of the believer. The small group curriculum for Our Great Exchange is largely tailored for evangelical small group engagement and features over two hours of creative storytelling and practical insight. In a particularly moving scene, Chuck Colson, in his last-ever extensive interview, talks about his calling and its impact upon his life.

Acton is committed to continually reach new audiences. This resource further engages people in the church and discipleship communities. The curriculum is another great launching pad for us to continue to grow as we expand our reach and influence with additional stewardship resources for churches and small groups.

The curriculum ties directly into our mission to...

Rachel Carson's Environmental Religion

Silent Spring at 50

Review of Silent Spring at 50: The False Crises of Rachel Carson. Edited by Roger Meiners, Pierre Desrochers, and Andrew Morriss (Cato, September 2012) ISBN: 978- 1937184995. Hardcover, 344 pages; $25.95.

During the 50 years following the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, much has been written to discredit the science of her landmark book. Little, however, has been written on the environmentalist cult it helped spawn.

Until Silent Spring at 50, that is.

Subtitled "The False Crises of Rachel Carson," Silent Spring at 50 is a collection of essays specially commissioned by the Cato Institute and edited by Roger Meiners, Pierre Desrochers and Andrew Morriss. Much like Roger...

Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph

Dennis Prager's Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph

Review of Dennis Prager's Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph, (Broadside Books, April 2012) Hardcover, 448 pages; $26.99.

Dennis Prager argues for a rebirth of a particular American exceptionalism: the distinctive aspects of the American ethos rooted in the once considerable but now misunderstood Judeo-Christian moral union. Prager claims that traditional American conservatism is distinctive because of its ethical decency, high ideals, moral values, and intrinsic visionary worth. Rejecting the establishment's liberal vs. conservative rhetorical dichotomy, he depicts today's political liberalism as Leftism, while positioning traditional...

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word - Malachi 4:6

He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.

Sadly today, we live in a fatherless society. Currently, just over 40 percent of American children are born out of wedlock. In the United Kingdom, it is a majority. This is easily one of the biggest social disasters our country faces. It's hard to imagine a lot of spiritual and economic blessings for a society that continually treads down this path. It's hard to believe that many of the economic and cultural problems that plague this country will be transformed if statistics like that remain unchanged.

The book of Malachi has a recurrent theme of unfaithfulness to God and the family. God takes seriously the commitment to the family and promises judgment against those that fail to keep his...

First Citizen and Antilon: The Carroll-Dulany Debates and Their Impact on American Religious Freedom

In the current settings of the HHS mandate, some Catholics in America have come to feel as if there is no hope left; Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria said, "I am honestly horrified that the nation I have always loved has come to this hateful and radical step in religious intolerance." Intolerance or religious persecution is of course not new and the issue today brings to mind an important and underappreciated chapter in American history.

In 1774 Maryland remained undecided on the issue of American independence sweeping across mainly Calvinist New England. While the Stamp Act was unpopular overall, the issue of separation had far less of a following than in New England. A debate between a man calling himself "First Citizen...

Christianity under Siege: Building a Common Front in Defense of the Faith

Metropolitan Hilarion

Metropolitan Hilarion

An Interview with Metropolitan Hilarion

In early January 2013, a United Nations special envoy reported that the civil war in Syria had reached "unprecedented levels of horror" with an estimated death toll of more than 60,000 people. In the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings, the situation for Christians in Syria, and in many parts of the Middle East and North Africa, continues to deteriorate.

The Russian Orthodox Church has been among the most active witnesses against Christian persecution in Syria and other countries around the world. In a statement about the Middle East, the Russian Bishops' Council warned of "the...

Editor's Note

Christianity is the world's most persecuted faith today. Around 200 million Christians are denied fundamental human rights solely because of their faith in Christ. Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who is chairman of the Russian Church's Department of External Church Relations, is especially vocal against the crisis of slaughter and persecution that has persisted after the "Arab Spring." Sadly, this issue has far too few voices sounding the alarm, but the Russian Metropolitan is an important defender of religious freedom and the rights of Christians around the world.

Metropolitan Hilarion is also involved in ecumenical relations with Roman Catholics and conservative Protestants. He touches on the topic in this interview and how the surge of liberal Protestantism is damaging Christian unity and cooperation with the Western world. This too, is a topic that...

How has the Acton Institute broadened its outreach on social media websites?

One of the main keys for a successful social media strategy is having timely, professional, and relevant content to share. Almost everyone today is bombarded by content from virtually everywhere. At Acton, we face fierce competition from a wide variety of news and opinion sites vying for the attention of the busy. We want readers of Acton's print and digital content, and video productions, to know that investing their time in our resources is valuable for them and it's beneficial for their intellectual and moral growth.

Acton has a unique and rich message to share with the world and we are working hard at broadening our social media reach every day. We know that our content can help shape and influence a free and virtuous society. We reach popular opinion makers but also the faithful individuals active in their businesses, and in their churches and synagogues.

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Freedom and Chaos

Freedom is a word that can mean dramatically different things to different people in different settings. The kind of freedom that leads to human flourishing—and that is sustainable over time—is freedom in a much richer sense than what many people mean by freedom today.

Let me take the point even further. True freedom is actually the opposite of what has been called "freedom" at some times and some places. One example from the previous century illustrates what I mean.

The Constitution guaranteed freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. I'm not talking about the U.S. Constitution, although the same could be said of it. I'm talking about the Soviet Constitution of 1924. And after that constitution took effect, political dissidents were brutally suppressed; priests, ministers, and rabbis were deported to the Gulag;...

Calvin Coolidge

"It is only when men begin to worship that they begin to grow."

Calvin Coolidge was deeply committed to limiting the power of the state. But his desire to check the expansion of the federal government was always rooted in America's founding principles. He declared of the founders, "They were a people who came under the influence of a great spiritual development and acquired a great moral power." Coolidge has often been referred to as "the last Jeffersonian president."

Coolidge was sandwiched in between the rise of Wilsonian and New Deal progressivism. He was deeply critical of those that wanted to harness the state as an overseer of the community and individual man, a project that had...

The Last Victory of General Grant

Review of Charles Bracelin Flood's Grant's Final Victory: Ulysses S. Grant's Heroic Last Year (Da Capo Press, October 2012) ISBN: 978- 0306821516. Hardcover, 320 pages; $27.50.

This country suffers no shortage of heroic tales. For the Union soldier who served under Ulysses S. Grant, there certainly was no greater leader. Often referred to by detractors as "a butcher" for the wake of Union dead left after his victories, he took the fight to the Confederacy. After the Wilderness campaign in 1864, where 17,000 Union soldiers died in just a few days, Grant, unlike all the Union generals before him, refused to lick the Federal wounds and retreat...