Monday, March 15, 2004


It's not uncommon for religious and spiritual leaders to deride entrepreneurial capitalism. Robert Sirico reminds them of the parable of the talents: "As a group, entrepreneurs are frequently depicted as greedy, immoral, and cutthroat. This prejudice can be found equally among business and religious leaders, not to mention among cultural elites and individual people. But such criticisms, though justified far too often, fail to acknowledge the implicit spiritual dimension of enterprise..While it is true that entrepreneurs-like any other group of people-have been stained by sin, they must not be judged more severely for their moral failings merely because their profession involves the creation of wealth.......The Parable of the Talents implies a moral obligation to confront uncertainty in an enterprising way. There is no more apt example of such an individual than the entrepreneur"

The recent story about a Catholic charity being ordered by a Californian court to pay for contraception was so manifestly bizarre and unjust that it went all over the world, even popping up on Australian radio news bulletins. As a follow-up to the story, a reader has mentioned an employer he knows of who of his own accord added contraceptive coverage to the health plan for his employees. To fund the change, the firm had to put up the the co-payment premiums and deductibles -- so that the average woman now pays more for the insurance than the cost savings on contraception! So it would be poetic justice if the Catholic charity simply did as the court ordered and saddled the grasping employees behind the original complaint with the resultant costs.

Handicapping religion: "The State of Washington awards handsome college and graduate scholarships to gifted students of modest means through the Promise Scholarship Program. But reminiscent of discrimination against blacks, Jews, or the Irish, a disturbing exception is celebrated. Students pursuing devotional degrees need not apply. ... The purpose is to discourage faith-based professions or vocations, an illicit government objective under the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. Yet a decisive 7-2 majority in the U.S. Supreme Court constitutionally blessed the scholarship exclusion last week in Locke vs. Davey. Religious neutrality -- the customary commandment of the First Amendment -- was cast out of the constitutional heavens."


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