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"It cannot be too often repeated that what destroyed the Family in the modern world was Capitalism." G.K. Chesterton in "Three Foes of the Family" found in the collection of his essays The Well and the Shallows.

Today's post: Chesterton's religion and his economics.

G. K. Chesterton converted to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism, and he took the doctrines and practices of his faith seriously, including their implications.

His explanation "Why I Am a Catholic" is reprinted here. Some excerpts:

The difficulty of explaining "why I am a Catholic" is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true. I could fill all my space with separate sentences each beginning with the words, "It is the only thing that . . ." As, for instance, (1) It is the only thing that really prevents a sin from being a secret. (2) It is the only thing in which the superior cannot be superior; in the sense of supercilious. (3) It is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age. (4) It is the only thing that talks as if it were the truth; as if it were a real messenger refusing to tamper with a real message. (5) It is the only type of Christianity that really contains every type of man; even the respectable man. (6) It is the only large attempt to change the world from the inside; working through wills and not laws; and so on.

Or I might treat the matter personally and describe my own conversion; but I happen to have a strong feeling that this method makes the business look much smaller than it really is. Numbers of much better men have been sincerely converted to much worse religions. I would much prefer to attempt to say here of the Catholic Church precisely the things that cannot be said even of its very respectable rivals. In short, I would say chiefly of the Catholic Church that it is catholic. I would rather try to suggest that it is not only larger than me, but larger than anything in the world; that it is indeed larger than the world. But since in this short space I can only take a section, I will consider it in its capacity of a guardian of the truth.

If you wish to pursue Chesterton's attraction to the Roman Catholic Church, see his work The Catholic Church and Conversion which can be found here.

One of the truths, or perhaps better, one aspect of the Truth, that Chesterton wrote he heard in the Roman Catholic teaching, was economic truth. To quote at length from The Catholic Church and Conversion:

We did not really like giving up our little private keys or local attachments or love of our own possessions; but we were quite convinced that social justice must be done somehow and could only be done socialistically. I therefore became a Socialist in the old days of the Fabian Society; and so I think did everybody else worth talking about except the Catholics. And the Catholics were an insignificant handful, the dregs of a dead religion, essentially a superstition. About this time appeared the Encyclical on Labour by Leo XIII; and nobody in our really well informed world took much notice of it. Certainly the Pope spoke as strongly as any Socialist could speak when he said that Capitalism "laid on the toiling millions a yoke little better than slavery." But as the Pope was not a Socialist it was obvious that he had not read the right Socialist books and pamphlets; and we could not expect the poor old gentleman to know what every young man knew by this time--that Socialism was inevitable. That was a long time ago, and by a gradual process, mostly practical and political, which I have no intention of describing here, most of us began to realise that Socialism was not inevitable; that it was not really popular; that it was not the only way, or even the right way, of restoring the rights of the poor. We have come to the conclusion that the obvious cure for private property being given to the few is to see that it is given to the many; not to see that it is taken away from everybody or given in trust to the dear good politicians. Then, having discovered that fact as a fact, we look back at Leo XIII and discover in his old and dated document, of which we took no notice at the time, that he was saying then exactly what we are saying now. "As many as possible of the
working classes should become owners."

Continued below.

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I eulogized the late Dr. Thomas Torrance in this earlier post. He was a brilliant theologian, a faithful churchman, family man, and folower of Christ. In constructive theology he wrote especially on the nature of God, and on religion and science.

He recently was honored by Presbyterians Pro-Life. This notice also links to Torrance's booklet The Being and Nature of the Unborn Child.

Here is a direct link to Torrance's address. Scroll down to view the unedited version.
This story, from ABC News, reports that one of the preachers under investigation by the Senate Finance Committee is refusing to cooperate. Creflo Dollar (yes, that is correct), has told Senator Grassley to either get a subpoena or refer the matter to the IRS. Other preachers/ministry groups are dragging their feet. At issue is whether these groups are meeting the Federal requirements to maintain their tax-exempt status. Previous post here.

Is this investigation a breach of the Separation of Church and State? Is it an abuse of Federal power? While I am uncomfortable with government investigating religious groups, and understand the possibility of a "chilling effect," it seems to me that the Senate Finance Committee is not overstepping its bounds by conducting this investigation. If a group wants tax-exempt status there are requirements to be met. And just as a non-religious non-profit must follow guidelines on accountability, salaries and perks, etc., so also a religious group.

So long as no Senator either explicitly or implicitly questions doctrines, or any other matter not related to non-profit regulation, I am comfortable with this inquiry.