April 20, 2014

What is social justice?

Recalling the conversation a few weeks back, the term "social justice" is all too often a euphemism that hides statist intentions as the cure for the vexing cultural problems facing us. Rather than fostering self-reliance, self-respect, self-control, and the other virtues necessary for independence, the programs and prescriptions that ostensibly cure the ills in fact erode any possibility of independence and success. Poverty -- both material and and spiritual -- is not at its foundation an economic issue. It's a relational issue and the healing of poverty begins first by correcting one's relationship to God and secondly to the neighbor. View this video of Star Parker, a women who realized this and turned her life around: I didn't choose this video because Parker is black, or that poverty only affects the inner cities. I choose it because Parker strips away the veneer of false compassion and shows us how enslaving it really is. There is plenty of poverty elsewhere, call … [Read more...]

Robert P. George on the Manhattan Declaration

Robert P. George

Princeton professor Robert P. George, one of the drafters of the Manhattan Declaration, is interviewed by Kathryn Jean Lopez on National Review Online. LOPEZ: Why just Christians? GEORGE: For too long, the historic traditions of Catholicism, Evangelical Protestantism, and Eastern Orthodoxy have failed to speak formally with a united voice, despite their deep agreement on fundamental questions of morality, justice, and the common good. The Manhattan Declaration provided leaders of these traditions with an opportunity to rectify that. It is gratifying that they were willing — indeed eager — to seize that opportunity. Of course, as Cardinal Justin Rigali observed at the press conference at which the Declaration was released, the foundational principles it defends “are not the unique preserve of any particular Christian community or of the Christian tradition as a whole. . . . They are principles that can be known and honored by men and women of goodwill even apart from divine … [Read more...]

Ecumenicism in the trenches…

Two National Rabbinic Groups Issue Religious Ban on Voting for Pro-Homosexual Agenda Politicians; Call on Pope and other Denominations to Follow Suit BROOKLYN, NY, May 27 /Christian Newswire/ -- In light of recent developments in the ongoing push to legislate a Federal Hate Crimes Bill in Congress and same gender marriage legislation in New York and other states, Rabbi Yehuda Levin, spokesman for the 65 year old Orthodox Jewish national Rabbinic organization Rabbinical Alliance of America, surrounded by Rabbis, issued a religious ban on voting for any politician or office holder who supports any aspect of the homosexual political agenda. Go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8VkYFAGR9I to see the actual video of the statement. Rabbi Levin also called upon other Orthodox Jewish religious and civic organizations such as Agudath Israel of America, the OU, the Rabbinical Council of America, Chabad and the Chasidic groups to follow suit. … [Read more...]

Metropolitan Iakovos Speaks Out on Illinois ‘Reproductive Health and Access Act’

Greek Orthodox Metropoiltan Iakovos has issued a "call to action" on an Illinois bill that right-to-life advocates describe as a state level Freedom of Choice Act. The metropolitan has posted a clear and forceful letter on the Metropolis of Chicago Web site condemning the proposed HB 2354 as unjust and a violation of "the very principles of our faith in Jesus Christ, the Life of the world." The metropolitan said HB 2354 "would affect all health care workers by removing their right to conscientious objection to abortion and related procedures, forcing them to participate in or provide abortions or face legal punishments. This bill would basically make the right to an abortion a fundamental human right in the State of Illinois." More: The forces that oppose religious freedom and are actually seeking to increase the number of abortions in our society are well organized, well funded, and well connected to the political process. It is high time for Christians to raise their own … [Read more...]

Message of the Primates of the Orthodox Churches

Leaders of the world's Orthodox churches released a joint statement that touched on far ranging issues of interest to the Church, including the global economic crisis, the environment and the prospects for further pan-Orthodox consultations and a Holy and Great Council. The primates were gathered for the Oct. 10-12 Synaxis of the Heads of the Orthodox Churches and Pauline Symposium at the Patriarchal Cathedral of Saint George in Istanbul, Turkey. His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I addressed the gathering on Oct. 10, saying that "such a Synaxis is deemed necessary and beneficial, especially in times like ours, when the personal encounter and conversation among responsible leaders in all public domains of human life is rendered increasingly accessible and essential." The Message from the Primates, posted on the Europaica site, also pointedly affirmed the Church's role in the social sphere. "Efforts to distance religion from societal life constitute the common … [Read more...]

Solovyov on Economic Morality

Towards the end of his life, the 19th century Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov published his "On the Justification of the Good: An Essay on Moral Philosophy" (1897). In this book, wrote historian Paul Valliere, Solovyov abandonded his vision of a "worldwide theocratic order" in favor of the more concrete demands of building a just society. With "Justification of the Good," Solovyov (1853-1900) presented a general theory of economic and social welfare based on the idea that all human beings have "a right to a dignified existence." The following excerpt is from the chapter, "The Economic Question from the Moral Point of View" in Solovyov's … [Read more...]

Conflicted Hearts: Social Justice and Orthodoxy

Conflicted Hearts: Orthodox Christians and Social Justice in an Age of Globalization, my article on economics and social justice, has been posted on the AGAIN Magazine Web site. Read the full article here. Just as there is no real understanding of many bioethical issues without a general grasp of underlying medical technology, there is no real understanding of “social justice” without an understanding of basic economic principles. These principles explain how Orthodox Christians work, earn, invest, and give to philanthropic causes in a market-oriented economy. Economic questions are at the root of many of the problems that on their face seem to be more about something else—poverty, immigration, the environment, technology, politics, humanitarian assistance. In the environmental area, for example, the current debate on global warming is just as much focused on how to finance the means of slowing the rising temperatures of the earth as it is on root causes. And the question always … [Read more...]