One of the most erroneous and harmful ideas of our time is the notion that free-enterprise capitalism and the society upon which it is based are incompatible with the moral standards of Christianity. Indeed, one of the main drivers of the Occupy Wall Street movement is its condemnation of “corporate greed.” And before the Occupy Wall Street crowd got going, Michael Moore was condemning free-enterprise capitalism in his spurious 2009 documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story. In one scene, Moore, one of those so-called limousine liberals who have profited very handsomely in our free-enterprise economy, asked a couple of religious leaders about capitalism. They both agreed that capitalism is “evil,” without explaining exactly why. Presumably, we are supposed to understand that Moore provides the explanation throughout the film. (One cannot help but wonder how many religious personages Moore had to interview, in order to get the responses he used.)
In fact, the very opposite of this popular belief is true: Free-enterprise capitalism and Christianity are not incompatible, because the strongest reasons to defend economic freedom and the market economy are related to Christian morality. It is economic freedom and the market economy that the moral standards of Christianity require, not the opposite economic system, commonly referred to as socialism, the welfare state, or some other name for collectivism. At the same time, economic freedom and the market economy require Christian moral standards in order to function properly.
An environmental group claiming to represent the stewardship concerns of evangelical Christians handed pro-abortion politicians and the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency a huge present just before Christmas. On December 21, as EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced the agency’s long-awaited stringent new regulations on mercury, the Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox, President and CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN), was standing alongside her to show his organization’s support.
National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman has called for states to mandate a total ban on cellphone usage while driving. She has also encouraged electronics manufacturers — via recommendations to the CTIA —The Wireless Association and the Consumer Electronics Association — to develop features that "disable the functions of portable electronic devices within reach of the driver when a vehicle is in motion." That means she wants to be able to turn off your cellphone while you're driving.
With very little evidence, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that there were some 3,092 roadway fatalities last year that involved distracted drivers. Americans ought to totally reject Hersman's agenda. It's the camel's nose into the tent. Down the road, we might expect mandates against talking to passengers or putting on lipstick while driving. They may even mandate the shutdown of drive-in restaurants as a contributory factor to driver distraction through eating while driving. You say, "Come on, Williams, you're paranoid. There are already laws against distracted driving, and it would never come to that!" Let's look at some other camels' noses into tents.
How did your U.S. Representative and Senators vote on last summer's debt deal that raised the national debt limit while promising to reduce future spending and deficit projections? How did your Representative vote on a measure that would have repealed the federal phaseout of the ubiquitous incandescent light bulb? And how did your Senators vote on an amendment to prohibit U.S. citizens from being held indefinitely in the ongoing war against terrorism without being given a trial?
The answers to all three questions above are in our latest "Freedom Index" in the January 9, 2012 issue of The New American and also available online as a downloadable PDF.
The New American's "Freedom Index" is a congressional scorecard that rates all members of the House and Senate based on their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, and a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements. The index is published four times each two-year congressional term; each index rates Congressmen based on 10 key votes.
A mother in North Carolina complained to her local school district after her son came home with a New Testament, telling her that he got it for free at his school. According to the Asheville, North Carolina, Citizen-Times newspaper, Ginger Strivelli, whom the paper identified as a “pagan,” was upset when she learned that her son’s school, North Windy Ridge in Weaverville, appeared to be distributing New Testaments. What made her even more upset was that school officials “were not apologetic” about the apparent New Testament handout, the paper reported. “It’s totally inappropriate they think they can get away with this,” Strivelli told the Citizen-Times. “It’s absolutely unbelievable and their attitude is ridiculous.”
The school’s principal, Jackie Byerly, insisted that there was nothing amiss in making copies of Scripture available to students, explaining that a local group from Gideons International — an organization that has been providing free Bibles to hospitals, hotels, and individuals for over 100 years — had dropped off a box of New Testaments at the main office, with a request that students be allowed to pick up copies if they wished. After getting a thumbs-up from the school district’s superintendent, Byerly left the box outside the school office for students to access during their break time.
Twenty-one-year-old Sam Schmid had an extra-special gift for his family, presented to them just in time for the Christmas holiday. Days after an October 19th car accident that left him in an apparently irreversible coma, and just as medical professionals were set to suggest that it might be time for his family to think about end-of-life options for him, the University of Arizona student amazed the medical staff and everyone else by responding to a simple command from his doctor. Two months later on Christmas Eve, instead of grieving for her son, Schmid’s mother was watching him take short steps with a walker, and even speak in brief, broken sentences.
Advocates for those with severe brain injuries and other life-threatening disabilities point to Schmid’s story as just the latest proof against making hasty end-of-life decisions on the suggestion of doctors and medical experts.
“Right now, I’m feeling all right,” Schmid was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. “except for the rehabilitation, I’m feeling pretty good.”
A New Jersey hospital that performs abortions has promised a dozen of its pro-life nurses that they will not be required to assist in the murderous procedure. With the assistance of the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal advocacy group, the 12 nurses had earlier filed suit against the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) after its hospital had tried to force the nurses to help with abortion cases, a violation of both state and federal laws.
As reported earlier by The New American, in September the hospital had initiated a policy requiring that nurses assigned to its Same Day Surgery Unit assist with abortion procedures or face being fired. But ADF noted that UMDNJ was receiving approximately $60 million annually in federal dollars, and so was prohibited by federal law from forcing employees to participate in abortions. In addition, New Jersey law states that no person “shall be required to perform or assist in the performance of an abortion or sterilization.”
The Pew Forum’s just released study Global Christianity: 2011 Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population, shows that at 2.18 billion adherents, or around a third of the world’s 2010 population of 6.9 billion, Christianity is still, by far, the predominant faith across the globe.
But while a century ago the demographic center of the Christian faith was Europe, today “no single continent or region can indisputably claim to be the center of global Christianity,” note the Pew researchers.
In fact, while over 66 percent of the world’s Christian population lived in Europe in 1910, by 2010 that number had dwindled to just 26 percent, while the numbers of the world’s Christians in North and South America had risen from 27 percent in 1910 to nearly 37 percent in 2010. Moreover, with the massive global missions emphasis among many Christian groups, along with dramatic population growth and demographic shifts over the past 100 years, today nearly “one in every four Christians lives in sub-Saharan Africa (24%), and about one-in-eight is found in Asia and the Pacific (13%),” noted the Pew study.
Scientists in Italy studying the famed Shroud of Turin, which many Christians believe is the burial cloth of a resurrected Jesus Christ, have determined that the relic could not be a medieval fake, as has been argued by some experts who have studied the shroud in the past.
As reported by the Vatican Insider, a website following Catholic Church news, the report by scientists from Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development says that the “double image (front and back) of a scourged and crucified man, barely visible on the linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin, has many physical and chemical characteristics that are so particular that the staining which is identical in all its facets, would be impossible to obtain today in a laboratory.” The researchers determined that the “inability to repeat (and therefore falsify) the image on the Shroud makes it impossible to formulate a reliable hypothesis on how the impression was made.”
According to ABC News, the researchers “conducted dozens of hours of tests with X-rays and ultraviolet lights,” concluding that “no laser existed to date that could replicate the singular nature of markings on the shroud. They also said that the kind of markings on the cloth could not have come from direct contact of the body with the linen.”
Great Britain’s Prime Minister has declared of his country what President Obama has notably denied of his own. Speaking to an audience of Church of England clergy at Christ Church, Oxford during one of the many official events celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of Scripture, Prime Minister David Cameron unashamedly declared of Britain: “ … we are a Christian country,” adding that “we should not be afraid to say so.”
While he quickly emphasized that he was “not in any way saying that to have another faith — or no faith — is somehow wrong,” Cameron nonetheless acknowledged that “the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today.”
He challenged his audience that biblical morals and values were something “we should actively stand up and defend,” warning that the “alternative of moral neutrality should not be an option. You can’t fight something with nothing — because if we don’t stand for something, we can’t stand against anything.”