Religion & Liberty Article Listing

Why is Acton Participating in ArtPrize?

Philanthropist Rick DeVos has described ArtPrize, a public art competition within the city of Grand Rapids, as a "celebration of creativity." DeVos developed ArtPrize five years ago and it's been instrumental in the continued economic and cultural development of downtown Grand Rapids. The ArtPrize competition and exhibits epitomizes the characteristics of human flourishing. That is one of the reasons it makes sense for the Acton Institute to lend its support and get involved as one of the display venues.

ArtPrize, which takes place from September 18 – October 6, is an instrumental event for education and cultivating entrepreneurial skills. The 19 days of public exhibits and art competition is completely free to the public. A total of $560,000 is available to winners at ArtPrize. The public participation and interaction with the art pieces has proven to be...

A Catholic Revolutionary

This article is excerpted from Tea Party Catholic by Samuel Gregg. The new book draws upon Catholic teaching, natural law theory, and the thought of the only Catholic Signer of America's Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll of Carrollton—the first "Tea Party Catholic"—to develop a Catholic case for the values and institutions associated with the free economy, limited government, and America's experiment in ordered liberty.

On October 15, 1774, the ship Peggy Stewart owned by the Annapolis mercantile company of Dick and Stewart sailed into the harbor of Annapolis in the colony of...

Sentimental Hearts and Invisible Hands

Review of James R. Otteson's, Adam Smith (Bloomsbury Press, August 2013) 200 pages; $29.95

In our day, Adam Smith has generally been represented as if he were simply the Wall Street movie character Gordon Gekko dressed up in an 18th-century wig and breeches. This has not been simply a leftwing view. In his 2006 book Crunchy Cons, the journalist Rod Dreher claimed to be arguing in the name of Russell Kirk that "Adam Smith and Karl Marx are two sides of the same coin"-- gross...

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word - Philippians 3:7-11

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ— the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Outside of Christ himself, nobody influenced Christianity more than the Apostle Paul. He wrote almost half of the books in the New Testament. Before his conversion, he was named after King Saul, a notoriously...

But What if They're All Republicans?

"But what if they're all Republicans?" my Catholic friend exclaimed at the conclusion of a brief exchange over the American Bishops' recent initiatives in defense of religious freedom. The Bishops' campaign was provoked by recent HHS regulations which force Catholic institutions to violate Catholic moral teaching by offering contraceptive and abortifacient coverage in employee health plans. My friend was not denying the importance of the issue, but was instead questioning the (perhaps unconscious) political motivations of the Bishops. Perhaps the Bishops were more interested in torpedoing Obamacare than in standing up for rights of religious conscience and practice.

My friend's response to the Bishops...

A Prisoner of Tehran Looks Forward

An Interview with Marina Nemat

Marina Nemat was born in 1965 in Tehran, Iran. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, she was arrested at the age of 16 and spent more than two years in Evin, a political prison in Tehran, where she was tortured and came very close to execution. She came to Canada in 1991 and has called it home ever since. Prisoner of Tehran is a memoir of her imprisonment and life in Iran and is an international bestseller.

In 2007, Nemat received the inaugural Human Dignity Award from the European Parliament, and in 2008, she received the prestigious Grinzane Prize in Italy. In 2008/2009, she was an Aurea Fellow at University of...

Editor's Note

For many Americans, the iconic images of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 are forever etched in the mind. The hostage crisis where 52 Americans were held in captivity for 444 days in Iran dominated American media and politics. Less known is the imprisonment and suffering of thousands of Iranians. Marina Nemat was arrested at age 16 and spent two years as a political prisoner in Tehran. Nemat was tortured and came very close to being executed by the regime. Her memoir of her life in Iran, Prisoner of Tehran, was published in 2007 and is an international bestseller. She was a keynote speaker at Acton University in 2013. In her interview, she provides insight and clarity regarding the turmoil and change we are seeing in the Middle East.

Andrew Yuengert offers the feature piece "But What if They're All Republicans?" He argues that a politicized...

The Human Desire for Peace and Liberty

Recent events have made us aware – once again - of the fragility of peace and liberty in our world. When faced with occurrences like the bombing at the Boston Marathon, our lives seem to make a little less sense, to be a little less free, a little less calm. The problems seem magnified by the 24/7 barrage of media coverage. Many of us use our faith to help soothe frayed and jangled nerves, but we must also be aware that our religious liberty is a precious freedom that we must protect in order to keep.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, recently spoke at a TED Conference held at the Vatican. (For those unfamiliar with the TED Conferences, these are one-day events held throughout the world and throughout the year under the...

Clare Boothe Luce

I refuse the compliment that I think like a man. Thought has no sex; one either thinks or one does not.

Clare Boothe Luce was truly a 20th century woman: a suffragette, well-educated, a career woman, intensely loyal to her country, known as much for her gritty dedication to hard work as for her brilliance. Influential in literary and social circles as a successful playwright and journalist, she became intensely interested in politics prior to World War II.

In 1940, she wrote Europe in the Spring, a work of non-fiction that entailed her life in Europe as the continent was building towards war; the book focused on what Luce perceived as America's errors in its estimation of Hitler's aggressions on that...

Why does Acton publish "In the Liberal Tradition" and why is it important to our mission?

Our institute is named after Lord Acton, a person that stands as a constant reminder that our ideas spring from deep roots. The writer and Nobel Prize laureate William Faulkner once said, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Every day at Acton, we find the truth in those words. We work at cultivating a rich tradition rooted in economic liberty, moral reflection, and the dignity of the person. We are passionate about bringing this tradition forward to new audiences.

The principles we teach are timeless and there are some fantastic stories and people behind those ideas. We want to promote those ideas by putting a name and face behind them. We hope that "In the Liberal Tradition" will inspire people to read more about the figures featured in the pages of R&L and help the reader expand their knowledge of the liberty movement and its...

Work & Play

Faithful in All God's House

This is an excerpt from Faithful In All God's House by Gerard Berghoef and Lester Dekoster. The book was originally released as God's Yardstick in 1982. It has been rereleased under a new title by Christian's Library Press and is edited by Brett Elder. The book examines a holistic approach to stewardship, which DeKoster and Berghoef defined as "willed acts of service that not only make and sustain the fabric of civilization and culture, but also develop the soul."


The basic form of stewardship is daily work. No matter...

America's European Past and Future

Review of Samuel Gregg's Becoming Europe: Economic Decline, Culture, and How America Can Avoid a European Future. (Encounter Books, January 2013) Hardcover, 384 pages; $25.99.

Thomas Carlyle called it "the dismal science," but for many Christians, economics is more delusional than dreary. The Catholic Monarchist is convinced that the restoration of the Hapsburgs or Bourbons will bring back the wealth and prestige of another era. You're too polite to mention his lack of blue blood, and the likely serfdom of his forefathers. The Distributist straightens his framed portrait of G.K. Chesterton before detailing his plan to give every banker, lawyer, and engineer three acres and a cow. His friend, equally...

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word - Isaiah 6:3

And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."

The passage relays the vision Isaiah had of God on His throne and the coming of the atoning work of Christ at Calvary. It's a splendid and bold declaration of God's power over creation and His saving power over humanity. The creatures in heaven are singing praise about the perfect holiness of God. Holiness might not be a word we hear in many churches today. We are told by culture, the media, and even some Christian churches that "tolerance" is a far better attribute than holiness.

The Reformed theologian R.C. Sproul declared that the entire focus of his ministry was to awaken people to the holiness of God. If we don't see the majestic holiness of God we have a harder time being aware of our own sin and our need for...

Principle and Prudence: Two Shrines, Two Revolutions, and Two Traditions of Religious Liberty

One of the charges often leveled against the Protestant Reformation is that it essentially continued, and in some accounts exacerbated, fundamental problems with the received medieval models of the relationship between church and state. As Lord Acton put it memorably, "From the death of St. Bernard until the appearance of Sir Thomas More's Utopia, there was hardly a writer who did not make his politics subservient to the interest of either Pope or King." There was nothing approaching a modern doctrine of religious liberty in the views of the major Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions of the 16th century.

The reformer Wolfgang Musculus (1497- 1563), himself a source for what would come to be known as an...

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. He was recently interviewed by managing editor Ray Nothstine.

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