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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Religious freedom means economic growth, study says

By Mark A. Kellner




Nations that safeguard the religious liberty of its citizens can expect better economic growth than repressive societies


JewishWorldReview.com | WASHINGTON — Religious freedom, at first glance, may not seem a key predictor of economic growth. But a recent study argues that the more religious freedom a nation has, the better its financial system can perform.

"Religious hostilities and restrictions create climates that can drive away local and foreign investment, undermine sustainable development, and disrupt huge sectors of economies," the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation stated in announcing the findings.

Those conditions, in turn, stifle economic growth, the group says, noting "the ongoing cycle of religious regulation and hostilities" in Egypt following the 2011 overthrow of Hosni Mubarak that has "adversely effected (its) tourism industry and other sectors."

"Perhaps most significant for future economic growth, the study notes that young entrepreneurs are pushed to take their talents elsewhere due to the instability associated with high and rising religious restrictions and hostilities," the RFBF said.

GROWING GLOBAL CONCERNS
The new study, "Is Religious Freedom Good for Business?: A Conceptual and Empirical Analysis," is authored by three scholars in the field: Brian J. Grim, RBRF founder and president, who also is affiliated with Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs; and Greg Clark and Robert Edward Snyder, of Brigham Young University's International Center for Law and Religion Studies. Clark is vice president of the RFBF.

The study appears in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, and is available online.

One measure of economic progress was growth of a country's Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. According to the RFBF, the study looked at GDP growth for 173 countries in 2011 and found religious freedom correlated with lower corruption. Moreover, "when religious groups operate in a free and competitive environment, religion can play a measurable role in the human and social development of countries."

The authors analyzed 2011 GDP data and compared with data on religious restrictions, the level of economic and business freedom in a given country, and "measures of government regulation, taxes, labor issues, demographics and economic circumstances."

The result: "Religious freedom is one of only three variables that remains a significant predictor of GDP growth," the report indicated.

In concluding the study, the authors recommend businesses "take religious freedom considerations into account in their strategic planning, labor management, and community interactions."

The authors also advise business leaders: "In evaluating locations for future research and development operations, countries with good records on religious freedom may provide a favorable environment in which to practice innovation and experimentation."

Religious freedom has been a complicated issue in many societies ranging from death sentences imposed by draconian blasphemy laws in the Middle East and Africa to more subtle restrictions through local zoning regulations, marriage and health care laws in the United States. Most religious liberty supporters have advocated from a perspective of individual rights to religious exercise and expression. Now, Grim and other scholars are at the forefront of an emerging movement that is making a case for religious freedom through its financial benefits.

Katrina Lantos Swett, an advocate for religious liberty and current vice-chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, welcomed the RFBF study that highlights how religious hostility can drive away outside investment and undermine economic growth.

"This study also reinforces the growing recognition that religious freedom is not only a central factor in global economic growth but also contributes to peace and stability," she said. "As such, religious freedom merits a seat at the table of U.S. foreign policy."

'CLEAR' CORRELATION
Sociology professor Roger Finke of Penn State University, who had worked with Grim on previous examinations of the topic, said a link between data measuring religious freedom and economic growth "is very real" and quantifiable.

"The correlation — that's very clear. The association is definitely there," Finke said in a telephone interview. However, he added, "the part they're always struggling to figure out is to what extent the religious freedoms or culture has an impact on economics."

According to the RFBF, the new study "goes beyond simple correlations by empirically testing and finding the tandem effects of government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion (as measured by the Pew Research Center) to be detrimental to economic growth while controlling for 23 other theoretical, economic, political, social, and demographic factors."


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Other scholars have also pointed out similar connections, Finke noted. Duke University economics and political science professor Timur Kuran argued in his 2010 book, "The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East," that "starting around the tenth century, Islamic legal institutions, which had benefitted the Middle Eastern economy in the early centuries of Islam, began to act as a drag on development by slowing or blocking the emergence of central features of modern economic life."

Islamic restrictions on those "central features" — which Kuran listed as "private capital accumulation, corporations, large-scale production and impersonal exchange" of goods and services — began to be eased about 800 years later, as Islamic societies had more interaction with global trade, he noted, but the drag on economic development in many Muslim countries remains.

Apart from having more open societies, a lingering question is how else can nations improve their economies through protecting religious freedom? To sociologist Finke, one answer lies in an independent judiciary.

He said, "The majority of countries promise religious freedom. But they all have laws that counter that, or administrators that go against (it). There are sometimes even dueling clauses in constitutions concerning religious liberty. The importance of an independent judiciary is that it enforces the promised freedoms of a (country's) constitution."

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