Religion & Liberty Article Listing

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.


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...

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word - Daniel 3:12

But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego— who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.

The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego provides a clear illustration against the overreach of the state in religious affairs. The three faithful Jews refused to bow down and worship King Nebuchadnezzar's image of gold. The King's religious test allowed for three Jews to step out in boldness and proclaim faith in the one true God. Acts 5:29 implores us to "obey God rather than men." The three were thrown into a fiery furnace but the Lord protected and saved them and they were uplifted and honored for their devotion and actions.

Religious liberty is commonly referred to as "our first freedom....

The Scandal of Just Politics

Review of Ronald J. Sider's Just Politics: A Guide to Christian Engagement (ISI 978- 1587433269). Paperback, 272 pages; $19.99.

In Just Politics: A Guide for Christian Engagement, Ronald J. Sider offers an updated edition of his 2008 book, The Scandal of Evangelical Politics. Ray Nothstine reviewed that book in Religion & Liberty (18.1) at the time, writing,

Ultimately, Sider's methodological construct is a valuable source material for evangelically minded Christians. The book's call for a "Biblically balanced political agenda" over and against narrow...

The Perfectibility Thesis – Still the Great Political Divide

Three hundred years after Plato and Aristotle wrestled with the idea and constitution of the just regime, God incarnate arrived on Earth and added very close to nothing. Christ did tell us to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's," and we can certainly glean principles from New Testament teaching. However, Christ made no attempts to establish a righteous political system, nor did he leave instructions to history on this seemingly important matter.

The God of the Old Testament appears no more enthusiastic about investing political lordship in human beings. Upon the Israelite's demand for a king "such as all the other nations have," the Lord instructed Samuel to "warn them solemnly, and let them know what...

Angola Prison: A Place of Encouragement

An Interview with Burl Cain

Burl Cain is the longest serving warden of Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola), a position he has held since 1995. He formerly worked as a warden at the Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson, Louisiana. He is well known for his work at transforming prison culture and promoting moral rehabilitation. Warden Cain serves on the board of Prison Fellowship. He recently spoke with managing editor Ray Nothstine.

R&L: What do people outside of Angola need to know about the prison?

Warden Burl Cain: I think Angola proved a lot of things that even Scripture says that does not need proving, like II Chronicles 7:14, "If my people who are...

Editor's Note

Angola Prison will probably always carry a mystique because it's wrapped around a violent and brutal history. For many outsiders, visiting Angola might seem like a step back to some distant past or time. It certainly evokes an imagery and language of the deepest South. But in touring Angola, one constantly becomes aware of all the newness and rebirth that surrounds what should seem hopeless. The front entrance to the massive prison grounds has a sign from Philippians 3:13, "Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead."

Burl Cain is the longest serving warden in the Louisiana prison's history. He's been an instrumental force in offering new ways to think about prison reform and moral rehabilitation. He cares about his inmates. That will be clear from this interview. Cain knows that the prison system in...