Meet The Christian Philosopher Who Created The First Syringe, The First Hydraulic Press And The First Digital Calculator

If you work on Capitol Hill, you likely heard of Blaise Pascal somewhere along the way, most likely in a college course where he was dismissed as one of those “old white guys” who created the oppressive monster better known as “Western Civilization.”

But, as philosopher Kenneth Samples explains on Reflections, Pascal was not only a philosopher and a passionate follower of Jesus Christ, he was also a technological genius and a “Renaissance Man” of the first order.

“His creative technological experimentation resulted in the invention of the syringe and the hydraulic press, and in the development of the first public transportation system in Europe,” Samples writes. Continue reading “Meet The Christian Philosopher Who Created The First Syringe, The First Hydraulic Press And The First Digital Calculator”

New Index Finds Huge Majorities Of Americans Back Religious Freedom In Public And Private Life

Massive majorities of Americans across the political spectrum support maximum toleration and accommodation of religious practices in the public and private realms, according to a newly launched annual survey.

The accompanying chart dramatically demonstrates that support for religious freedom is overwhelmingly bipartisan, cutting across the ideological and party spectrums. The yellow areas indicate opposition, while the blue areas represent support for religious freedom.

The 2019 Religious Freedom Index from the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty is a nationally representative survey of 1,000 individuals who were asked a battery of 21 questions designed to measure opinion on six major dimensions of religious freedom in America. Continue reading “New Index Finds Huge Majorities Of Americans Back Religious Freedom In Public And Private Life”

Task Force Says Congress Needs Bigger, Better-Paid Staff

Congress, as the First Branch, has the power of the purse, but not enough staff to carry it where it needs to go

A report by the American Political Science Association’s (APSA) Task Force Project on Congressional Reform finds that Congress desperately needs to enlarge its staff and improve pay and working conditions if it hopes to regain equal footing with the executive branch.

If you work here, you need to read this report. (Congress by Stephen Walker on Unsplash)

Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, liberal or conservative, the issue of restoring the ability of Congress to go toe-to-toe with the executive branch is a constitutional priority. And the task force makes clear that expanding congressional staff and paying staff better is a key first step in that effort.

“Congress today is overwhelmed. After decades of self-imposed disinvestment in expertise and staffing, Congress lacks the resources and knowledge to stand on an equal footing either with the executive branch, or with the tens of thousands of lobbyists employed in Washington (many of whom are former staffers now earning multiples of their Capitol Hill pay),” the task force wrote. Continue reading “Task Force Says Congress Needs Bigger, Better-Paid Staff”

Here’s The Truth About Why U.S. Evangelicals Back Separation Of Church And State

There is a myth being circulated in American politics these days that evangelical Christians want to do away with the separation of church and state so they can impose their “Christian Nationalist” version of a theocracy on the country.

Those who push the myth thereby betray a fundamental ignorance of what evangelical Christians actually believe about God, the Bible, government, American history, and the U.S. Constitution, but that doesn’t keep them from repeating the myth at every opportunity.

The reality, as explained by Capitol Ministries, is the basic notion of separation of church and state that began 2,000 years ago when Jesus said at Matthew 22:21 that we are to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” Continue reading “Here’s The Truth About Why U.S. Evangelicals Back Separation Of Church And State”

What About Editing The Human Genome? How Long Till Congress Must Act?

Gene-editing or altering DNA to achieve a desired change in the characteristics of a person yet to be born, is a technology that holds both great promise for bettering the human condition and of creating, unintentionally or otherwise, bio-monsters capable of unimaginable horror.

Gene-Editing – What Could Go Wrong? (Screen shot from RTB blog).

Molecular biologist Anjeanette Roberts points out on the Reasons to Believe blog that gene-editing has made big strides in the past six years, highlighted most notably in the recent case of a Chinese biologist who claimed to have altered successfully the genomes of three babies born of IVF processes to make them resistant to HIV. It appears his claims, however, were in error.

Even so, such developments pose huge ethical, political, technological and regulatory questions that sooner or later will have to be addressed by Congress, the courts and federal policymakers in the executive branch.

Roberts’ essential point is the crucial importance of caution. Here’s why: Continue reading “What About Editing The Human Genome? How Long Till Congress Must Act?”

EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Just One-Third Of Young Adults Feel ‘Deeply Cared-For By Those Around Me.’ Is Social Media The Culprit?

A major new survey of nearly 16,000 young adults aged 18 to 35 years old living in 25 countries around the world turned up numerous positive trends but it revealed some genuinely worrisome news as well.

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

The survey — entitled “The Connected Generation” — was conducted collaboratively by World Vision, the Washington-based “global Christian humanitarian organization” for sponsoring a child, and The Barna Group, the California-based demographic research firm, and was released last month.

The genuinely worrisome news coming out of the survey is the extraordinarily low number of respondents who “often feel deeply cared-for by those around me” (33 percent) and who “often feel someone believes in me” (32 percent). Continue reading “EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Just One-Third Of Young Adults Feel ‘Deeply Cared-For By Those Around Me.’ Is Social Media The Culprit?”

Why Are We Silent When Black Africans Are Sold Into Slavery Every Day?

America’s Civil War ended slavery in this country and the evil institution has been outlawed in much of the remainder of the world. But not a day goes by now that Black Africans aren’t sold into bondage.

Thousands of Black Africans are sold into slavery but Americans are all but silent. (Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash)

It’s happening in Northern Africa in Muslim nations like Libya, the Sudan and Mauritania. In Libya alone, CNN has reported slave auctions in nearly a dozen locations across that war-torn nation.

“Every day across the African continent, black men, women, and children are captured, bought, and sold into slavery with the Western world paying scant attention,” according to Charles Jacobs, writing today on The Federalist. Continue reading “Why Are We Silent When Black Africans Are Sold Into Slavery Every Day?”