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Father Robert Sirico and Rev.Jerry Zandstra made critical contributions to a conference in the Netherlands last week,lecturing on the problems of and possible solutions to welfare state dependency. The conference, titled "Compassionate Conservatism," was hosted by Amsterdam's Edmund Burke Foundation

"We want to explain to the fiscal conservatives that they need to be mindful of morality as well, while also explaining to our Christian supporters that the free market is not incompatible with morality and Christian values," said conference organizer and Edmund Burke Foundation vice president for international affairs, Michiel Visser.

The conference addressed many issues associated with overreaching government, including an introduction to the problems associated with various forms of the welfare state, concepts essential to changing the system, and practical ways to effect change.

Founded in 2000, the Edmund Burke Foundation is a non-partisan public policy group devoted to the promotion of conservatism in the

Netherlands, a countryknown for its progressive politics. The Burke Foundation focuses on public policy, education, and the organization of like-minded groups in the Netherlands.

"It is essential to recognize the deep damage that a welfare state does to communities in its fundamental disrespect for the dignity of the individual," said Rev. Zandstra. "The Netherlands has taken the progressive experiment to brutal lengths and disastrous ends, illustrating a dire need to return to public policies that respect the imago dei, God's image etched in humanity."

About the Acton Institute

With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles."

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at