1. The Acton Institute’s Moral Capital: Economic liberty may be unfashionable, but the think tank hasn’t given up on it.

By Mene Ukueberuwa, Robert L. Bartley Fellow at The Wall Street Journal, The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2017, Pg. A13

American Christians may have more in common with Bernie Sanders supporters than you think. A slim majority of self-identifying Christians hold an unfavorable view of capitalism, according to a 2013 Public Religion Research Institute survey. Pope Francis, the world’s most prominent Christian, consistently critiques free-market economics. Today millions of well-meaning Christians worry about capitalism’s compatibility with Christian values. What’s a committed Christian capitalist to do?

For a better sense of how the Christian social vision can work alongside capitalism, look to the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. The Grand Rapids, Mich., think tank remains confident in the American economic system, researching ways to restrain its worst qualities while promoting its best.

One year after the think tank opened, Pope John Paul II published his encyclical “Centesimus Annus.” The document rejected socialism and embraced private property. Father Sirico calls it a limited but explicit blessing of the union between faith and economic freedom.

This school of economic thought transformed politics in the coming years.

Two decades later, the capitalist consensus has begun to crumble. Pope Francis often urges audiences to consider the harm free markets can wreak upon the disadvantaged.

A generation ago more Christian commentators sought to redeem rather than renounce capitalism. They worked to turn their conclusions into policy. But even as this vision has lost favor in some Christian circles, the Acton Institute has kept up the mission, spreading the word about the uplifting potential of a free economy to believers and skeptics alike.


2. Why do Christians hesitate to rise up on anti-Christian persecution?

By John L. Allen Jr, Editor, Crux, August 18, 2017

On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department released the first International Religious Freedom Report in the era of President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. It highlighted persecution and hatred against scores of religious minorities around the world, including Christians.

The report prompted me to reflect anew on why Christians sometimes seem hesitant to raise their voices about such atrocities.

I’ve been writing and speaking about anti-Christian persecution for some time, including my 2013 book The Global War on Christians.

Globally speaking, Christians are the most oppressed religious community on the planet. Conventional estimates are that 200 million Christians live every day with the threat of physical harassment, arrest, torture, and even death, simply for their religious beliefs.

Are Christians the only ones at risk? Of course not. To be credible, does a Christian witness in defense of religious freedom have to apply across the board, without exception? Again, of course.

But should it be acceptable for Christians to feel a special, gut-level empathy for other Christians, because their faith says they’re fellow members of the Body of Christ? Once more, of course.

The bottom line is that perhaps it’s time for well-meaning Christians to get over the ambivalence they sometimes feel about highlighting anti-Christian persecution as a fact of life in today’s world, on a staggering scale.

It doesn’t have to come at anyone else’s expense – and, besides which, if comfortable and affluent Christians in the West don’t speak up, who in the world will?


3. Iceland finds a deadly ‘cure’: Pre-emptive abortion eliminates nearly all Down syndrome babies.

By The Washington Times, August 18, 2017, Pg. B2, Editorial

It’s not an exaggeration to think that Margaret Sanger, the 20th century eugenicist, or advocate of improving the human population by controlled breeding, would feel at home in Iceland.

CBS News reported this week that Iceland has all but eliminated Down syndrome from its population. Not through a miraculous, breakthrough “cure” for the genetic disorder, however, but by abortion after genetic-screening.

Of those who have taken the test over the last decade and a half, “100 percent of pregnant women whose prenatal tests have came back positive for Down syndrome have decided to end their pregnancies.” (In the United States, the rate is about 67 percent.) Only three children were born with Down syndrome last year in the Icelandic population of 350,000.

Many in Iceland regard this success of eugenics, though small, as a positive essentially freeing Iceland of “imperfect” specimens. This prevents “suffering for the child and also for the family,” as one abortion counselor puts it.

This echoes the sentiment of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, who advocated racial eugenics as nothing more than “defending the unborn against their own disabilities,” and in 1934 advocated an “American baby code” of “selective births” that would “protect society against the propagation and increase of the unfit.”

The French geneticist who discovered the chromosomal basis for Down syndrome, Jerome Lejeune, once offered what may be the last word. “It cannot be denied that the price of these diseases is high, in suffering for the individual and in burdens for society. Not to mention what parents suffer. But we can assign a value for that price. It is precisely what a society must pay to remain fully human.”


4. The Slippery Slopes of Iceland: A CBS News report triggers an inspiring response.

By James Freeman, The Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2017, 1:46 PM

In the annals of socialized medicine, Iceland has reached a milestone. According to a report this week from CBS News, the island nation’s government-run health system has managed to convince expectant mothers to have an abortion in nearly 100% of cases in which prenatal testing suggests a child will be born with Down syndrome.

Patricia Heaton, a television actress best known for her role on the program, “Everybody Loves Raymond,” tweeted a clarification in response: “Iceland isn’t actually eliminating Down Syndrome. They’re just killing everybody that has it. Big difference.”

Social media has become infamous for nasty and ill-considered commentary. But Ms. Heaton’s message inspired expressions of love. Her Twitter feed quickly became a bulletin board for parents to share photographs of their precious children who have the chromosomal condition.

A CBS summary of the video segment shows that Ms. Quijano’s report did raise questions about Iceland’s dubious achievement.

Even some pro-choicers who view abortion as necessary to address unplanned and unwanted pregnancies may not be comfortable with it as a tool to select particular traits in children.

Regardless of their view on the abortion issue, American viewers may be surprised to learn about the experience of an Icelandic hospital that performs the procedure. In the United States, the pro-choice position generally holds that a fetus is not a person. But CBS finds that in Iceland the procedure is often favored even by those who view a fetus as part of the family.

It seems straightforward that people who believe abortion is wrong would view a fetus as a child and are demographically likely to engage in prayer. The confusing part is that a prayerful person who views the fetus as a child would not only choose to have an abortion but mark the occasion with a religious ceremony to say goodbye, complete with a memento similar to those used to celebrate live births. This suggests that in Iceland at least, even religious members of society are just a very tiny leap of logic away from being comfortable with euthanasia for children with particular medical conditions.


5. Catholic School Teacher Convicted of Child Rape Freed Early.

By Associated Press, August 16, 2017, 8:12 PM

A former Catholic school teacher convicted of raping a child was released more than a decade early from prison on Wednesday after a judge threw out his conviction amid questions about his accuser’s truthfulness.

Retired detective Joseph Walsh, who had worked on the case for the district attorney’s office, told prosecutors several times that he could not corroborate the accuser’s story. But the detective said they dismissed him, with one assistant district attorney going so far as to tell him “you’re killing my case,” according to a court filing.

Prosecutors declined to comment on the ruling or the plea, citing ongoing litigation in related cases.

The accuser’s testimony also was linked to a child endangerment conviction of Monsignor William Lynn, the first church official charged over the mishandling of abuse records. Lynn’s conviction has since been overturned. Lynn’s lawyer declined to comment, citing ongoing court proceedings.