Mere Links 03.07.14
Friday, March 7, 2014, 10:00 AM

What’s at Stake at the Bakery: How Property Rights Got Sexy
Adam J. MacLeod, Public Discourse

State lawmakers should make it clear that religious and moral reasons are rational and legitimate, and that property owners may act or refrain from action in obedience to conscience.

What Is Conscience?
Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition

Over the past few years, the term conscience has been increasingly referenced in debates occurring both in our churches (e.g., appeals to conscience on moral issues) and the public square (e.g., defending the right of conscience). We hear a lot about conscience, but what exactly does it mean?

Some Good News on Abortion Rates
Richard M. Doerflinger, Crisis Magazine

On an issue associated with tragedy and mourning, there was good news recently. A new study finds that in 2011, the US abortion rate—the number of abortions per 1000 women of reproductive age—reached its lowest point since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion in 1973. Abortions dropped to just over a million a year, from a high of 1.6 million in 1990.

Francis Has Changed American Catholics’ Attitudes, but Not Their Behavior, a Poll Finds
Laurie Goodstein, New York Times

Nearly six in 10 American Catholics in the poll said they expected the church would definitely or probably lift its prohibition on birth control by the year 2050, while half said the church would allow priests to marry.

Mere Links 03.06.14
Thursday, March 6, 2014, 10:00 AM

Gay Weddings & Conscientious Objection
Keith Pavlischek, Juicy Ecumenism

Sadly, American evangelicals seem to have a new cohort of thought-leaders who believe that art doesn’t matter, or at least lacks a moral dimension.

Media Mendacity Over Proposed Arizona Bill
Rachel Lu, Crisis Magazine

We’ve been hearing a lot about Jim Crow lately, so perhaps it would be worthwhile to recall the history behind the Jim Crow legislation. This will enable us to more accurately decide whether Arizona’s recently proposed SB 1062 (which was vetoed last week by Republican governor Jan Brewer) is relevantly similar to the Jim Crow laws.

The Rich Get Married, the Poor Get Poorer
Peter Jon Mitchell and Andrea Mrozek, Public Discourse

The Canadian dialogue on marriage and economic prosperity lags behind the American conversation, but a new report aims to change that.

Syrian Jihadists Are Forcing Christians to Become Dhimmis Under Seventh-Century Rules
Nina Shea, National Review Online

The religious persecution in Syria deepened this week, as evidenced by a written ultimatum purportedly distributed by the rebel jihadist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) to Christians in the northern provincial capital of Raqqa.

Mere Links 03.05.14
Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 10:00 AM

Gender, Discrimination, and Marriage
Kelly Bartlett, Public Discourse

In the name of equality, same-sex marriage seeks to codify gender discrimination. But marriage welcomes everyone: husband and wife, father and mother, grandfather and grandmother.

The Airport Chaplain, Now Offering Earthly Aid
Mike Tierney, New York Times

“We are kind of an extreme customer service,” said the Rev. Chester R. Cook, senior chaplain at Hartsfield-Jackson, whose three full-time pastors are augmented by some 50 volunteers representing 10 faiths. The airport, the world’s busiest, serves over 225,000 passengers a day.

The forgotten Arab Christians
New York Post

If it weren’t for Israel, we often hear, the Middle East’s lions would all lie down with the lambs. The terrible fate of a Christian community in Syria is a fresh reminder of just how ­untrue this is.

What Is the Right to Religious Freedom?
Fr. Dylan Schrader, Homiletic & Pastoral Review

The most fundamental right in the area of religion is that which should be attributed to God, what we owe to God. God is absolutely sovereign.

Mere Links 03.04.14
Tuesday, March 4, 2014, 10:00 AM

Quality Education is Not Rocket Science
Anthony Esolen, Crisis Magazine

Every week it seems I receive three or four letters from people who are establishing new schools or reforming old ones. These letters are most encouraging, and all of the writers, without exception, are dedicated to restoring what is called a “classical” education.

The Terms of Our Surrender
Ross Douthat, New York Times

What makes this response particularly instructive is that such bills have been seen, in the past, as a way for religious conservatives to negotiate surrender — to accept same-sex marriage’s inevitability while carving out protections for dissent. But now, apparently, the official line is that you bigots don’t get to negotiate anymore.

Planned Parenthood President: When Life Begins Not ‘Really Relevant’ in Abortion Debate
Andrew Johnson, National Review Online

The president of the country’s largest abortion provider said she didn’t think the matter of when life begins is pertinent to the issue.

An Argument to Turn to Jesus Before the Bar
Mark Oppenheimer, New York Times

Americans like to sue. But many evangelicals believe that they should turn first to Jesus, not the bar. “If another member of the church sins against you,” Jesus says, according to the Gospel of Matthew, “go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.”

Mere Links 03.03.14
Monday, March 3, 2014, 10:00 AM

Christianity: Foundation of Western Success
Samuel Gregg, Crisis Magazine

Beginning with the blunt warning, “This is a remarkably unfashionable book” (p. 1), Stark sets out to critique, and, in some instances, demolish several widespread mythologies about the West’s development.

Religious Liberty After Arizona
Ben Domenech, The Federalist

On the importance of trusting markets and people over government.

The Homeless Modern
Mark Mitchell, Intercollegiate Review

Modern Westerners—despite incredible affluence, comfort, entertainment, and security— all too often seem to suffer from a condition that the Desert Fathers called acedia: they are both bored and uneasy.

Why Dads Matter
Lois M. Collins and Marjorie Cortez, The Atlantic

A third of American children are growing up in homes without their biological fathers.

Mere Links 02.28.14
Friday, February 28, 2014, 10:00 AM

Love for Latin Liturgy More than a Fashion
Rachel Lu, Crisis Magazine

According to a recent second-hand report, Pope Francis thinks that liturgical traditionalism is now fashionable among the young.

What price a religious calling?
David Briggs, Association of Religion Data Archives

Record seminary debt shows need for financial as well as divine guidance.

The Limits of Life: Biology and the Philosophy of Nature
William Carroll, Public Discourse

Biology continues to offer us new and exciting insights into the world. These insights need to be integrated into a philosophical perspective that is richer than the reductive materialism that is often linked with the empirical sciences. In this endeavor, biology needs the philosophy of nature.

When Tolerance Turns to Coerced Celebration
Jennifer A. Marshall, The Gospel Coalition

The legal freedom to live and love according to one’s preferences does not imply that government should compel others to celebrate all relationships.

Mere Links 02.27.14
Thursday, February 27, 2014, 10:00 AM

Subsidiarity Calls Us to Live Like Catholics
James Kalb, Crisis Magazine

Subsidiarity is integral to a social doctrine based on natural law rather than technology. That ought to be a feature rather than a bug, but in today’s world it means no one can make sense of it or apply it coherently.

The Enduring Appeal of Marriage
R.R. Reno, First Things

The mystery of marriage conducts a powerful electrical current. It not only legitimates same-sex relationships; it also answers a basic human need for permanence, for union with another, for family, for a place to stand in the terrible flux of human life.

Opponents of Same-Sex Marriage Take Bad-for-Children Argument to Court
Erick Eckholm, New York Times

In the first trial of its kind in years, the social science research on family structure and child progress will be openly debated.

The Protection of the Church
William Saletan, Slate

Even in the midst of religious war, religious institutions provide the moral strength to contain the violence. Faith in transcendent values counters sectarian hatred.

Mere Links 02.26.14
Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 10:00 AM

Ukraine Names Baptist Pastor as Acting President
Timothy C. Morgan, Christianity Today

After 88 die in protests, Ukrainian evangelicals call nation “to learn to love yesterday’s enemies.”

The Strange Saga of ‘Jesus Calling,’ The Evangelical Bestseller You’ve Never Heard Of
Ruth Graham, The Daily Beast

A ten-year-old devotional written in the voice of God suddenly became a commercial juggernaut. Now, its publisher is trying to reconcile its New Age origins with evangelical orthodoxy.

The Pope’s radical call
to the new evangelization

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, L’Osservatore Romano

American Cardinal on the message of this Pontificate

Winning the Abortion Olympics
Chuck Donovan, First Things

Nearly sixty countries permit elective abortions but with some baby-protective limits.

Mere Links 02.25.14
Tuesday, February 25, 2014, 10:00 AM

Jonathan Merritt, Christian Artistic Expression and the Preferential Option for Caesar
Keith Pavlischek, Juicy Ecumenism

I’m entirely perplexed at Mr. Merritt’s “preferential option for Caesar.” Not to put too fine a point on it, Mr. Merritt would prefer to see his brothers and sisters in Christ be fined, have their business and livelihood destroyed, and even serve prison time, than having the law recognize a broad right of freedom of speech, expression and religious liberty.

UN Commission Finds Severe Human Rights Abuses, Including Religious Persecution, In North Korea
Howard Friedman , Religion Clause

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights announced yesterday the release of the report of a commission of inquiry on human rights abuses in North Korea

Western Liberalism: The Water in Which We Swim
Dylan Pahman, Red River Orthodox

A brief introduction to the liberal tradition for Orthodox Christians living in the West.

Is Sexual Orientation Analogous to Race?
Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition

Such claims are often repeated but rarely examined. So let’s consider whether race and sexual orientation are similar and equally deserving of legal protections.

Mere Links 02.24.14
Monday, February 24, 2014, 10:00 AM

The War on Humans
Wesley Smith, First Things

[B]eginning in the late 1960s, a subversive misanthropy began to gestate within environmentalism. This view does not see the earth and the fullness thereof—in the Biblical turn of phrase—as ours to develop responsibly for human benefit, but instead castigates humans as a “disease” (or “parasites,” “maggots,” “cancer,” take your pick) afflicting the planet, best treated with the antibiotic of radical human depopulation and implacable opposition to economic growth.

Religious Freedom Bill Riles Gay Rights Supporters
Bob Christie, Associated Press

The Arizona Legislature gave final approval Thursday evening to legislation that allows business owners asserting their religious beliefs to refuse service to gays.

Reasonable Hope for Our Secular Age
An interview with Greg Forster, The Gospel Coalition

For Christians in the secularizing West, the days of privilege have ended. And that’s not entirely a bad thing.

Ukraine president exits Kiev; protesters take over
Maria Danilova and Yuras Karmanau, Associated Press

Protesters took control of Ukraine’s capital on Saturday, seizing the president’s office as parliament sought to oust him and form a new government.

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