Category : Politics in General

(WSJ) Kenyan Supreme Court Nullifies Election, Calls for New Vote

Kenya’s supreme court on Friday annulled the country’s presidential election results and called for a new poll to be held within 60 days, a surprise ruling that plunged one of Africa’s top economies into a new period of uncertainty.

The bench ruled in favor of the petition filed by opposition candidate Raila Odinga, who claimed the electoral commission’s IT system had been hacked to manipulate the results. Kenya’s election commission had declared incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta the winner of the poll, which was held peacefully and lauded by international observers.

The court judgment, which said the Aug. 8 election contained irregularities and wasn’t conducted in accordance with the constitution, marks the first presidential election to be annulled in Kenya’s history.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Kenya, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

(Big Issue) Lord Nicholas Henry Bourne of Aberystwyth–Homelessness Happens too Often; Cathedrals Can Help

“People end up homeless for many reasons, but all too often it’s because a single problem has spiralled out of control…”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(ABC Aus.) Same-sex marriage: Why have Muslims been so quiet in the debate?

Last night on ABC’s The Drum, Ali Kadri, spokesman for the Islamic Council of Queensland and the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, said his community was stuck with the choice of offending allies or siding with critics, and the result had been silence.

“Unfortunately, in the current climate, the right and conservative side has attacked Muslims as terrorists and extremists, and naturally the left side has been allies in defending us for a long period of time,” he said.

“We are afraid if we come out with our opinion then the left may abandon us for going against their view and we can’t be friendly with the conservatives because they have been bashing us for 15, 20 years every chance they get … and that includes some Christian sects as well.”

Even though it was the Australian Christian Lobby that led the charge against the Safe Schools program, Mr Kadri said Muslims were also deeply concerned about the possible impact of any legislative changes on education.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality

Some Brave Scholars say the love of truth+the desire to attain it should motivate you to think for yourself

We are scholars and teachers at Princeton, Harvard, and Yale who have some thoughts to share and advice to offer students who are headed off to colleges around the country. Our advice can be distilled to three words:

Think for yourself.

Now, that might sound easy. But you will find—as you may have discovered already in high school—that thinking for yourself can be a challenge. It always demands self-discipline and these days can require courage.

In today’s climate, it’s all-too-easy to allow your views and outlook to be shaped by dominant opinion on your campus or in the broader academic culture. The danger any student—or faculty member—faces today is falling into the vice of conformism, yielding to groupthink.

At many colleges and universities what John Stuart Mill called “the tyranny of public opinion” does more than merely discourage students from dissenting from prevailing views on moral, political, and other types of questions. It leads them to suppose that dominant views are so obviously correct that only a bigot or a crank could question them….

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Multiculturalism, pluralism, Politics in General, Young Adults

(NYT) Do some Big Companies Have too Much Power in America? Google Critic Ousted From Think Tank which they help fund

In the hours after European antitrust regulators levied a record $2.7 billion fine against Google in late June, an influential Washington think tank learned what can happen when a tech giant that shapes public policy debates with its enormous wealth is criticized.

The New America Foundation has received more than $21 million from Google; its parent company’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt; and his family’s foundation since the think tank’s founding in 1999. That money helped to establish New America as an elite voice in policy debates on the American left.

But not long after one of New America’s scholars posted a statement on the think tank’s website praising the European Union’s penalty against Google, Mr. Schmidt, who had been chairman of New America until 2016, communicated his displeasure with the statement to the group’s president, Anne-Marie Slaughter, according to the scholar.

The statement disappeared from New America’s website, only to be reposted without explanation a few hours later. But word of Mr. Schmidt’s displeasure rippled through New America, which employs more than 200 people, including dozens of researchers, writers and scholars, most of whom work in sleek Washington offices where the main conference room is called the “Eric Schmidt Ideas Lab.” The episode left some people concerned that Google intended to discontinue funding, while others worried whether the think tank could truly be independent if it had to worry about offending its donors.

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Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Science & Technology

More on Michael Cromartie RIP

EPPC scholars and staff mourn the death on August 28 of our longtime friend and colleague Michael Cromartie. We pray for the repose of Mike’s soul and for the consolation of his wife Jenny and their children.

“Mike was at the heart and soul of the Ethics and Public Policy Center for more than three decades,” said EPPC President Ed Whelan. “The beautiful tributes that he has received are an eloquent testament to his special qualities. We will miss him dearly.”

EPPC Distinguished Senior Fellow George Weigel said of Mr. Cromartie:

Mike Cromartie was a pioneer of ecumenical evangelical dialogue and a wonderful colleague and friend. Among his many gifts, Mike had an extraordinary ability to engage all sorts of folks in serious conversation. He made an exceptional contribution to the work of EPPC, and to American public life, for over three decades. That he now lives with the Lord he loved and served is a consolation amidst a profound sense of loss.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(CT) Michael Cromartie,the Church’s Ambassador to Washington, RIP

Journalists and Christian leaders alike shared their tributes.

“Michael Cromartie was different from what most people think of when they think ‘evangelicals and politics.’ Thanks be to God,” said Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, who admired his humble character and effective engagement with journalists.

“After his cancer diagnosis, every time I saw Mike he would say, ‘Pray like a Pentecostal.’ We did,” Moore shared with CT. “Mike now is in the presence of the Lord of Pentecost. We will miss him here, and must pray for more like him.”

Michael Wear, a former White House faith adviser under Barack Obama, described Cromartie as “one of Christianity’s principal ambassadors in Washington, [representing] Jesus with joyful confidence.”

“I’ve seen the effects of his life and work up close, and both the church and the nation are better off because of him,” said Wear. “Michael was a friend whose encouragement I did not deserve, and whose insight has shaped my work, my life, and my faith. In the days ahead, we should look to Michael’s example to stoke our imagination for what a faithful public witness can look like in this moment.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(LARB) Monica Rico–How Fragile We Were: Why the United States Almost Failed Early

[Carol Berkin’s new book]…A Sovereign People prods us to remember that the early statesmen of this country sometimes were less like the formal tableau in John Trumbull’s famous painting of the signing of the Declaration (a painting produced many years after the event itself) and more like a quarrelsome neighborhood association, full of old grievances and new disagreements over any number of issues.

Some of the best passages in the book explore the weaknesses that beset these men: Adams’s injured vanity, Hamilton’s impatience with anyone not as smart as he, Jefferson’s tendency to overlook hard truths about his idealized French revolutionaries. We get less well-known figures as well, such as a young John Marshall, bright but with “lax, lounging manners,” according to his cousin Jefferson. Berkin’s description of the high-maintenance Elbridge Gerry, a man “whose mission in life often seemed to be alienating others,” will help readers understand why Adams’s appointment of Gerry to represent the United States in France in 1798 was one of the decisions that doomed that particular diplomatic errand to failure.

Perhaps the accidental hero of the story, if there is one, is John Adams, whose decision to seek yet another negotiation with France at the end of 1798 made a mockery of his administration’s drive toward war preparation. In stepping back from the brink, Adams opened the way for a new treaty with France that recognized American neutrality, but he also doomed his party and his own career. Berkin portrays a man who knew he lacked the glitter of Hamilton and the patrician dignity of Washington, but who knew, at the end, who he was: “a statesman rather than a politician. He would act in the best interests of the nation, not the narrow interests of the party.” We can only hope that we have such leaders in our own time. We do not know where the story ends.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Books, History, Politics in General

(The Australian) Paul Kelly: Rights clash looms in Australian same-sex debate

[Professor Patrick] Parkinson says: “While the case in international human rights law for saying that same-sex marriage is a human right is very weak, the case for protecting religious freedom, and in particular freedom of conscience, is quite overwhelming. There have been numerous bills introduced in parliament to enact same-sex marriage over the last few years and what has been common to most of them has been a minimalist protection for freedom of conscience.”

The plebiscite idea originated with Peter Dutton. Its implementation via the Bureau of Statistics came from Brandis. But it will occur only with the approval of the High Court and nobody can second-guess that outcome. Smith is right when he says his bill has more protections than anything likely to come from a Labor government. But this cannot gainsay the gaping hole left in this pivotal area of our national life and values.

For years the typical response from politicians to the religious freedom issue has been patronising and dismissive, buttressed by the claim that religious ministers would be protected. Any notion that will suffice is ludicrous.

The resistance falls into three categories: those who care only about achieving same-sex marriage; those who think protection around the ceremony is the only issue that matters; and those, like the champions of progressive ideology, who see this social change as an integral step in driving religion from the public square.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sexuality, Theology

Food for Thought from CS Lewis–‘A sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about his digestion’

As long as we are thinking only of natural values we must say that the sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal, or two friends talking over a pint of beer, or a man alone reading a book that interests him; and that all economies, politics, laws, armies, and institutions, save insofar as they prolong and multiply such scenes, are a mere ploughing the sand and sowing the ocean, a meaningless vanity and vexation of spirit. Collective activities are, of course, necessary, but this is the end to which they are necessary. Great sacrifices of this private happiness by those who have it may be necessary in order that it may be more widely distributed. All may have have to be a little hungry in order that none may starve. But do not let us mistake necessary evils for good. The mistake is easily made. Fruit has to be tinned if it is to be transported and has to lose thereby some of its good qualities. But one meets people who have learned actually to prefer the tinned fruit to the fresh. A sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about his digestion; to ignore the subject may be fatal cowardice for the one as for the other. But if either comes to regard it as the natural food of the mind – if either forgets that we think of such things only in order to be able to think of something else – then what was undertaken for the sake of health has become itself a new and deadly disease. There is, in fact, a fatal tendency in all human activities for the means to encroach upon the very ends which they were intended to serve

–CS Lewis the Weight of Glory (New York: HarperOne, 1980 ed. of 1949 original), p. 163 (emphasis mine)

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General

(Christian Today) Terror experts, politicians and church leaders to debate religious unity in UK cities

Senior politicians, terror experts and Christian leaders will come together for a major two-day conference discussing religious unity in British cities.

The shock of Brexit and the horror of terrorist attacks on London and Manchester have highlighted the need for Christians to take a leading role in transforming UK towns, said event organiser Roger Sutton.

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Posted in Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

(PA) C of E Bishops call for new approach from Government over benefits freeze

Bishops have called on the Government to urgently review its benefits freeze after a “deeply disturbing” report found poor working parents did not have the cash needed to look after children.

Low paid families are taking a “double hit” because earnings are failing to keep up with inflation and many welfare payments have been frozen, the Bishop of Gloucester said.

The struggles faced by parents on the national living wage have been laid out in a report by Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

Families working full time are 13% or £59 a week short of the amount needed to provide their children with a minimum standard of living, according to the report.

The Cost Of A Child 2017 found the shortfall for lone and out-of-work of parents was even starker.

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General

(PewR) God or the divine is referenced in every state constitution

The U.S. Constitution never explicitly mentions God or the divine, but the same cannot be said of the nation’s state constitutions. In fact, God or the divine is mentioned at least once in each of the 50 state constitutions and nearly 200 times overall, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Religion & Culture, State Government

(Economist Erasmus Blog) A look at America’s latest report on religious persecution

Lobbying for human rights, in a universalist spirit that holds all countries to the same standards and avoids singling out any particular group or country for attention, is not something that comes naturally to the Trump administration. Civil-liberty advocates were disappointed back in March, when Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, failed to turn up in person to present his department’s annual survey of human rights all over the world. But they were pleased to observe that he did make a personal appearance this week to deliver another encyclopedic document: an annual survey of freedom of religion and belief, taking in more than 190 countries and territories.

Mr Tillerson’s strongest words were reserved not for any recognised government but for an ultra-militant movement, the so-called Islamic State (IS). Both in the report he unveiled and his own remarks, he stated that it was “clearly responsible for genocide against Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims in areas it controlled”. The terrorist faction was also deemed responsible for “crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing” (that is, misdeeds which do not fit the term “genocide”) against fellow Sunni Muslims, Kurds and other groups.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

Sen. Tim Scott: Fight hatred, fear and domestic terror with American ideals

There is nothing “right” about racism and hate. It’s a learned disease, and the best antidote is unity. This weekend’s events involving white supremacist groups are as disturbing and disgusting as they are heartbreaking. The attack was a stark reminder of the darkness of hate. We must come together, as we have before, to confront the issues that chip away at the very foundation of who we are and what we stand for as a country.

Unfortunately, the people of South Carolina know this type of domestic terrorism all too well. Our response to the events in Charlottesville, Va., should mirror our response to the murders at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston. Condemnation of racism. Swift justice for a terrorist. And unity for the community that grieves. It starts with calling the attack in Charlottesville by its name. This was an act of domestic terror, perpetrated by a hate-filled person attacking his fellow citizens….

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Race/Race Relations, Senate