This is the last roundup before Thanksgiving and tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. After proofreading the roundup, I will make cranberry latkes and wrap my kids’ presents, cleverly hidden at my neighbor’s house. I really hope my neighbor is home today.
And speaking of presents . . .
1. The Very First Religion News Service Holiday Gift Guide It’s here, with suggestions for everyone on your list, from evangelical Aunt Evelyn to atheist Cousin Arnie. Our 30 gift ideas include serious, silly and kid presents. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but I really love the Seven Deadly Sins Shot Glasses suggested by our own Sarah Pulliam Bailey.
2. Psalm Book Sale Sets U.S. Record It would have been almost too overwhelming a day yesterday for Hobby Lobby CEO David Green had he acquired the most expensive American book ever to sell at public auction: a copy of the Bay Psalm Book. It went for $14.2 million to private equity fund founder and philanthropist David Rubenstein just hours after Green — who had bid $12 million — found out that his suit against Obamacare on religious grounds will be heard by the Supreme Court.
3. Supreme Court to Hobby Lobby: We’ll Hear Your Case Does evangelical-owned Hobby Lobby have to pay for health insurance that includes coverage for contraception, as the president’s health care plan requires? The Supreme Court Tuesday said they’ll take the case, and a similar suit brought by a Mennonite-owned cabinet maker. Our own David Gibson explains the arguments on each side.
4. Can You Scalp Washington National Cathedral Tix? The famed cathedral is going to start charging admission to tourists, $10 a head — but not to worshippers, of course. You can hardly blame them — they have a $26 million repair bill from that freaky earthquake that hit Washington two years ago. Then a giant crane fell on the property. Then someone threw green paint all over the chapel. Someone give this cathedral a break.
5. No, Angola Has Not Banned Islam . . . However. Reports over the weekend, more recently debunked, asserted that the government was outlawing the religion, and closing all mosques in the Southern African nation. Here’s how some people reacted when they thought it was true, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
American conservative blog The Blaze cited the report from India Today, much to the glee of some of their commenters.
But purported ban aside, a Voice of America piece published Tuesday quotes Muslim leaders in the country who report the government has closed dozens of mosques and is otherwise persecuting Muslims.
6. Players of the Knock-Out ‘Game’ Targeting Jews? A horrific new pastime for unhinged American youth is to challenge each other to knock out a stranger on the street with a single punch and then to post a video of the crime on the Internet, to see who can get the most hits — in the online sense of the word. There are victims all over the country, of all different backgrounds. But in New York City, all the victims seem to be Jewish.
7. Episcopal Priest Dead in Church Fire David Dingwall was the beloved rector of St. Paul’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Ocean City, Md. Church authorities report that a person on fire ran into the church, starting the blaze. But police have not confirmed this.
8. Controversial New Home for the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See It’s moving into the U.S. Embassy to Italy, nearby, which bothers several former U.S. ambassadors to the Vatican, who say the two American embassies should not share the same building. The State Department says the move will save money. The Holy See wants every country to put its embassies to Italy and the Vatican in separate places, but so far hasn’t made a stink about the American real estate consolidation.
9. Pope Francis Makes Captains of Industry Nervous This was breaking news in yesterday’s roundup, but since than, Vatican correspondent Eric Lyman has had a chance to digest Evangelii Gadium. And former RNS staffer Dan Burke has found a lovely graphic to illustrate it.
— Daniel Burke (@BurkeCNN) November 27, 2013
10. Headscarf Wearer Loses in French Court An appeals court in Paris upheld a nursery school’s right to fire a Muslim teacher who came back from a five-year maternity leave and told management that she wanted to wear a headscarf. “Any overt religious symbols — headscarves, Jewish skullcaps or Sikh turbans for example — are banned from French state schools, which operate on strictly secular lines,” according to Agence France Press. But this case is about a private school.
Happy Hanukkah y’all, and a very Happy Thanksgiving. We at RNS are very grateful for the readers and donors who keep this non-profit source for religion news alive. If you haven’t already, please sign up for the Religion News Roundup, delivered to your inbox free each weekday. We hate spam too. So none of that.
– Lauren Markoe