So earlier this week the Roundup brought you news of the “Mensch on a Bench” doll who was designed to provide a Hanukkah-based, Jewish-friendly alternative to the “Elf on the Shelf” child behavior modification tool.
Now look what we found at our local wholesaler! Yes, a “Chanukah House,” an alternative to the classic gingerbread house. Really, did we need one? Miraculously, you can eat it for eight days and never feel empty.
Apropos, our own Mark Silk recounts the little-known “Miracle of the Turkey.”
And in news from the Courts:
- A white supremacist who targeted blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980 was put to death early today in Missouri after the Supreme Court declined to stay the state’s first execution in three years.
- Next Tuesday, the Supremes will decide whether, and more likely which, challenges to the Obama administration’s contraception mandate they will hear. The indispensible SCOTUS Blog has the roundup.
- And in church court news … Late last night the Methodist church jury that found the Rev. Frank Schaefer guilty of violating church law by officiating at his son’s 2007 wedding to another man delivered the sentence: 30 days to agree not to break church law by presiding at future same-sex weddings or give up his clergy credentials.
As Renee Gadoua writes for RNS, Schaefer doesn’t seem ready to back down and that raises the specter of a schism. Michelle Boorstein also has this insta-analysis for the WaPo:
Some experts here at pastor trial interpret jury's ruling as giving him room to make a case that he is following church rules
— Michelle Boorstein (@mboorstein) November 20, 2013
Moving beyond schisms to real controversy, Katherine Burgess reports that same-sex couples who are increasingly taking advantage of the right to marry are also creating their own rules in planning their weddings.
Well, whatever they do, I bet they’ll get charged a lot of money.
Gay marriage is to Protestants what women priests are to Catholics, and the Vatican may have reignited that debate when it unveiled newly-restored frescoes from the catacombs in Rome that appear to show women with hands raised wearing liturgical robes and acting as priests. Article and photos here – you be the judge. The Vatican says of course it’s nonsense; the nice women are just waving at passers-by.
The Catholic bishop in Phoenix says Catholics cannot help anyone sign up for health care policies through the Affordable Care Act because that is tantamount to “cooperation with evil.” Michael Sean Winters squints.
Moving on, the latest from the Bishop of Rome:
#PopeFrancis tells crowd that he goes to confession every 2 wks, "because even the pope is a sinner, needing forgiveness."
— Catholic News Svc (@CatholicNewsSvc) November 20, 2013
Il papa also let it be known that he did not like rightwing traditionalist Catholics disrupting an interfaith Kristallnacht service at the Buenos Aires cathedral.
“Preaching intolerance is a form of militancy that must be overcome,” Francis told a delegation on Tuesday.
Conservatives are criticizing Obama for leaving “God” out when he read the Gettysburg Address on the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s landmark speech this week. The reason? Because Ibrahim Lincoln, who was also born in Kenya, apparently didn’t use it. And it’s the version Ken Burns gave him to read.
Burns, the renowned documentarian, is including a number of religious leaders as he rounds up celebs and hoi polloi to recite one of our most sacred national texts. Among them, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, himself a historian.
This Friday also marks the 50th anniversary of another president who was assassinated, John F. Kennedy. And many now know that C.S. Lewis died that same day, Nov. 22, 1963. But did you know that the author of “Brave New World,” also died that day? Don Lattin writes:
Aldous Huxley, the great English writer and visionary, was on his deathbed in his home in Los Angeles when the news of the JFK assassination rocked the nation. As per his instructions, Aldous’ wife, Laura, injected him with a 100-microgram dose of LSD just before his death, then lovingly encouraged him to follow the light into the great beyond.
Don goes on to trace Huxley’s fascinating impact on our national spiritual culture.
Shaun Casey of Wesley Theological Seminary talks to Paul Raushenbush about his new role at Secretary of State John Kerry’s liason on all things faith-based.
Jews in Israel are challenging the rules at Judaism’s holiest sites, and Neri Zilber has the latest on the conflicts that is provoking.
Meanwhile in Europe, Muslims are joining Jews in calling on the Council of Europe to rescind its resolution supporting a ban on circumcision.
Mark your calendars: Dec. 15 is the Second Annual Wear Pants to Church Day for Mormon women who are pushing for greater inclusion in the LDS Church under the slogan, “Pants and Priesthood.” Peggy Fletcher Stack reports. (NB: Male supporters wear purple, not skirts.)
Intriguing, from Duck Dynasty via the Queen of Tweets:
Duck Dynasty does "I am second." http://t.co/gzlfEMx7WK "You can only run the old sex, drugs rock and roll so far."
— Elizabeth Tenety (@ETenety) November 19, 2013
Yeah, I found the same thing, pretty much. Peace out.