Friday, August 29, 2014

News from the Network, Vol. 7, No. 34


Next week marks the one-year anniversary of the publication of the Just Third Way Edition of Fulton J. Sheen’s Freedom Under God.  If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, be sure to do so.  Quantities are not limited — we encourage you to purchase as many as meet your needs — but Sheen’s message has an increasing importance and immediacy for today, and the sooner word gets out, the better.  In the meantime:

• The Board of Directors of the Central Bureau of the Catholic Central Union of America (CCVA) in St. Louis, Missouri, the oldest Catholic social justice organization in the United States, has given its approval for a project to test the feasibility of “crowdfunding” to raise money to complete, edit, publish, and market a book, What Happened to Distributive Justice?, an examination of key events in the U.S. from approximately 1850 to 1950 that had a significant impact on today’s understanding of principles of economic and social justice.  The book will be a joint project of the CCVA and CESJ, but published by the CCVA due to its predominantly “Catholic flavor,” which might tend to mislead people as to CESJ’s interfaith character if it were to be published by CESJ’s Economic Justice Media.

Fulton Sheen Mini-me.
CESJ friend Allan J. Smith up in Canada is planning on attending a conference on “The Future of Catholicism” in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Saturday, November 8, 2014, sponsored by Catholic Chapter House.  More details can be found on their website.  CESJ is not a Catholic or even religious organization, of course, nor do we take a stand on more important issues, such as Tim Horton’s or Burger King.  Our interest is in the fact that Allan expects to establish a “Sheen Presence” at the conference, and might be persuaded to “push” the Just Third Way Edition of Fulton J. Sheen’s Freedom Under God, along with some of the free materials available from CESJ, including CESJ co-founder Father William Ferree’s pamphlet, Introduction to Social Justice.

Urban Farming — An American Tradition
• The Michigan legislature recently “plugged a loophole” in their 1981 “Right to Farm Act.” As a result, most urban and suburban farmers on small plots are now prohibited from having livestock, including chickens and bees (the latter answers the question, “Where have all the flowers gone?” — they weren’t pollinated).  Many such farmers thereby stand to lose a substantial amount of income.  This raises an interesting question.  Private property includes the right to enjoyment of the fruits and control.  Does the new Michigan law violate the Takings clause of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution by depriving owners of certain uses of their land without compensation?  Since Chicago, B. & Q. Railroad Co. v. Chicago in 1897, the courts have held that the Fifth Amendment applies to the states as well as the federal government (see? we learned something in Business Law).  Even if the Fifth Amendment doesn’t apply, Wickard v. Filburn (1942) might — the federal government reserved the right to regulate economic activity, even in cases where food is produced for personal use.  The federal government might, therefore, have the power to tell Michigan that it must allow people to raise their own food as well as for the local market.  A bit intrusive, yes, and we don’t necessarily agree with it or the implications, but so is telling people they can’t raise chickens for Sunday dinner. . . .
Oops. You mean you wanted Chicken Farmers?


• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 42 different countries and 48 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and the Philippines. The most popular postings this past week were  “The State is God, God is the State, Part VI,” “Church, State, and Humanity, III: A Fundamental Change in the Idea of the State,” “A Legal Amateur’s Look at Roe v. Wade,” “Midsummer Tutorial on Social Justice, I: Introduction,” and “Church, State, and Humanity, IV: A Fundamental Change in the Idea of Religion.”

Those are the happenings for this week, at least those that we know about.  If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we’ll see that it gets into the next “issue.”  If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you.  All comments are moderated, so we’ll see it before it goes up.

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