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We lead the Spring 2018 issue of Religion & Liberty with Rev. Ben Johnson’s eye-opening feature about the global scourge of child marriage. “Child marriage offends the Western moral tradition, which holds that minors lack the intellectual maturity and life experience to grant consent,” he writes. “But the harms it inflicts on girls, children and society are anything but abstract.” Aspects involved in reversing the perverse economic incentives behind child marriage include economic freedom, property rights and demolishing the cultural “norms” that undergird the practice.

Bruce Edward Walker contributes two pieces. One looks at GMOs and CRISPR, a gene-editing tool, and how these technologies are used in agriculture. In his other article, Walker examines the career of Arvo Pärt, the Estonian composer of sacred music. The musician, whose Eastern Orthodox faith informs his work, once said: “I am not taking the task in my music to discuss some religious or special Orthodox values. I am trying to reflect the values in my music that could touch every individual, every person.”

Acton president and co-founder Rev. Robert A. Sirico examines the tradition of Catholic social teaching on labor unions and offers a critique for the 21st century. “Despite its long history of supporting unions as a form of association, Catholic social teaching … has not been sufficiently appreciative of modern realities about trade unions, most of which are led by professionals who have never had a blue-collar job in their entire lives,” he writes.

In an excerpt from the Acton Institute’s reissue of Lester DeKoster’s Communism & Christian Faith, he observes it “is provocative how closely the Marxist position parallels Christian doctrine. It is Christian teaching that nothing of history shall enter unchanged into heaven. It is Marxist doctrine that nothing of history pertains to the classless society.” Order the book today from the Acton book shop and gift it to anyone who might be seduced by the arguments of Communist and socialist ideologues.

And there’s much more. Thank you for reading.

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John Couretas is Editor-at-Large for the Acton Institute. John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Humanities from Michigan State University and a Master of Science Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.