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Public Policy

  1. A Chance to Reaffirm the Law of Nations by Robert Jewett

    During the cold war, U.S. adherence to the law of nations and its institutions waned, but Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait afforded an opportunity for the U.S. to reassert that adherence.

  2. Against the Death Penalty: Christian Stance in a Secular World by Margaret M. Falls

    Holding an offender responsible necessarily includes demanding that she respond as only moral agents can: by re-evaluating her behavior. If the punishment meted out makes reflective response to it impossible, then it is not a demand for response as a moral agent.

  3. Birth Defects: Are We Doing Enough? by Clifford J. Sherry

    Birth defects do not respect ethnic, religious or socioeconomic backgrounds. The first and most basic step in research leading to their prevention is accurate knowledge of how often, when and where they occur. Since the existing system for collecting such data, even if it were working perfectly, would still miss two out of every three babies born with defects, it seems wise to modify it.

  4. Blinded by Metaphor: Churches and Welfare Reform by Robert Bachelder

    Conservatives argue that the real problem is not poverty but dependency while liberals respond that the problem underlying poverty is not dependency but a malfunctioning economic system. Both repeat their outworn positions instead of listening to each other.

  5. Bush’s God Talk by Bruce Lincoln

    President Bush believes God called him to the presidency. The author concludes that the president's theology and his actual deployment of it is less systematic than pragmatic..

  6. Cityscape by James W. Lewis

    The author reviews four books concerned with the suburbs and the city: While Christians may disagree over specific policy recommendations, they must not live as if physical location and faith have nothing to do with each other. For Christians, place matters.

  7. Designing the City by Norman B. Bendroth

    Deep in the Christian tradition is the understanding that human communities exist to promote the "good life" for all, not just a few, but the past planning of cities has has restricted the fulfillment of this ideal.

  8. Ending Hunger by Leon Howell

    The authors argue that if we pay sufficient attention to the politics of hunger, all the people of the world can be fed.

  9. Global Market or Community by John B. Cobb, Jr.

    While the Industrial Revolution brought about efficiency and inexpensive goods, it also caused work to lose its dignity and interest, forced workers into below subsistence wages, polluted the environment, and destroyed community. The new Global Economy increases both the benefits and the problems. The author suggests we must have global government to regulate global capital.

  10. Growth Without Progress? by John B. Cobb, Jr.

    Cobb examines the dynamics of growth and concludes that growth is quite different from sustaining the welfare of all citizens in a society. Instead of breaking down local communities in the interest of capital and labor mobility, the alternative would be to work for the economic health of local communities. The United States should recognize the importance of developing an economic policy designed to improve the economic well-being of its own people rather than to support its transnational corporations in their global competition with those of other great economic blocks.

  11. Historic Church Preservation: Clues from the Almost Incommunicable Past by Martin E. Marty

    Happy are the preservers who can keep a building in a neighborhood where it is integrated with the surrounding profane structures.

  12. Lonely Crusade: Fighting the Gambling Industry by Gerald Forshey

    Because churches have built-in constituencies and a moral stance, they can be effective in fighting gambling.  But when politicians raise the issue of funding for schools, someone in the legislature introduces a gambling bill.

  13. Lottery Losers by William Willimon

    Lotteries may undercut the ethic of work and achievement, replacing it with an ethic of luck. The government’s has abdicated its responsibility for the care and well-being of people; it is an assault upon the poor and the uninformed by governments that are being irresponsibly financed. It is, therefore, a movement that deserves to be opposed by churches and those who care about the future of our people.

  14. Medical Research: Establishing International Guidelines by Michael P. Hamilton

    Difficult ethical issues arise when research is funded by or conducted in a foreign country whose medical and moral standards are different from those of the country whence the money or personnel come. Is the research to the advantage of those being tested? Or are they simply guinea pigs for a "more advanced" culture?

  15. Morality and Foreign Policy by John C. Bennett

    The moral objectives of U.S. foreign policy have been too one-sided: the defect in our traditional scale of values is that we rank liberty much higher than distributive justice.

  16. Not in My Backyard! by Ted Peters

    We need waste dumps just as we need prisons and halfway houses. We need somebody’s backyard. We need to be confident that future generations will enjoy the same protections we wish for ourselves.

  17. Politics and the Elderly: Toward a Sharing of Resources by Harold E. Fey

    It is not right for the elderly to take resources for themselves in a way that discriminates against their grandchildren.

  18. Reasons and Arguments in the Constitution by Mark A. Noll

    Those who take the time to peruse The Founder’s Constitution will find two things far more significant than transitory euphoria: they will understand why the constitution period was the most compelling episode of political reasoning in our history; and they will realize how clearly a discussion of "first principles" is necessary for rescuing American politics from it’s parlous state today.

  19. Solving the Housing Crisis Pragmatically by Robert Bachelder

    Since 1981, the federal government has reduced its dollar commitment to housing by 75 per cent.

  20. The Bible and Public Policy by Jeffrey S. Siker

    In the realm of public-policy discussion, the Bible has no place. As American Christians, we are privileged to participate in a government of, by and for the people. We must not abuse this privilege by either ignoring our responsibility or by thinking we can and should use it as an opportunity to establish God’s kingdom here and now.

  21. The City and the Good Life by Philip Bess

    Good cities are an essential component of the good life for human beings, who are made in the image of God. Post-World War II suburban sprawl is the antithesis of good urbanism. To the extent that we Christians simply accept the premises of suburban culture, we compromise both the substance of our faith and the effectiveness of our evangelical effort.

  22. The Ethical Foundations of Health Care Reform by William F. May

    We can now deliver the good of health care to all our people, and this good will help secure and enhance the life, liberty and welfare that is our nation’s promise to its citizens. It is time to make that promise to each other.

  23. The Politics of Loss by Ira Nerken

    A review of Falling from Grace: The Experience of Downward Mobility in the American Middle Class, by Katherine Newman.

  24. The Politics of U.S. Refugee Policy by Nancy Myer Hopkins

    The nature of U.S. policy toward refugees is all too capricious.

  25. The Rise and Fall of Public Housing by Robert Westbrook

    A review of two books on public housing. At a time of huge government surpluses, universal shelter, like universal health care, is on the agenda of few politicians, who argue instead about how many billions of dollars to return to wealthy taxpayers..

  26. The Theological Stake in Globalization by John B. Cobb, Jr.

    Deliberate planning and massive human effort have created the present system of globalization. This system exploits the poor and enriches the wealthy. It destroys human communities and devastates the natural world. The author suggests other solutions.

  27. The Universal Declaration at 50: Changing the World? by Douglass Cassel

    December 1998 marked the 50th anniversary of the United Nation's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While abundant, dramatic violations of human rights still dominate the headlines, the last half-century has seen explosive growth in human rights consciousness and activism and in international humans rights laws and institutions. The United States is one of a dwindling number of nations unenthusiastic about the application of world law when applied to its own conduct,but for reasons supplied by the author, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is still a tool for people of conscience to use in the struggle for a world more respectful of human dignity.

  28. The World Trade Organization: A Theological Critique by John B. Cobb, Jr.

    The author makes the case for and against "free trade." Since World Trade places its faith not in God but in the market, Christians may suspect that idolatry is at work. This is a call for the world to serve Mammon or wealth rather than God.