(RNS) You can’t get through the last days of the year without lists, lists, lists everywhere you look. 

We’re still in holiday mode here.  President and Michelle Obama have issued their best wishes to all who are celebrating the seven days of Kwanzaa. The holiday began Thursday, a day devoted to unity. Today’s Kwanzaa theme is Kujichagulia, self-determination.  

Rev. James Martin is not surprised that Pope Francis went off script with his Christmas Day message, ad libbing an invite to unbelievers to join the prayerful in desiring peace.

But we’re home free from the War on Christmas – until Thanksgiving 2014.  If you’re tired of that, take comfort: Google statistics show the “war”  peaked in 2006, says Tobin Grant, blogging At the Corner of Church and State.

Some news and issues don’t wrap up when you flip a calendar page flip:

A Pennsylvania appeals court has overturned the conviction of Monsignor William J. Lynn, the first U.S. Catholic cleric convicted on charges of covering up the sexual abuse of children. What happens next for Lynn? That’s unclear in church or state. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said the state “most likely will be appealing.” His attorneys expect him to be released Friday.  Survivors are outraged. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s statement late Thursday cites their child protection efforts, and concludes: “We recognize that today’s news is especially difficult for survivors and their families. We profoundly regret their pain.”

A human rights expert tells Brian Pellot that Iran’s Charter of Citizens’ Rights could worsen religious freedom in the country.

The Israeli Knesset torpedoed a bill to separate of religion and state in the Jewish state. The proposed constitutional law that would have allowed civil marriage regardless of race, citizenship or religion, sank on preliminary reading, says The Times of Israel. 

Canada faces a different church-state test. Forty families from a reclusive Orthodox Jewish sect that has settled in 200 miles southwest of Toronto, Ontario face a court hearing on whether 14 of the group’s children are neglected and abused and should be placed in foster care. Their lawyer says the children are in good health and that group is under attack for its anti-Zionist views.

Lastly, the Duck Dynasty wrap-up:  

Facebook page is promoting Jan. 21 as a Phil Robertson support day, when folks should don their camo and eat at Chick-fil-A. The chicken chain, which is not connected to this effort, had its own headline flap in 2012 after its evangelical owner spoke out for “traditional marriage.”

Hollis Phelps, an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mount Olive College, has a provocative question at “Religion Dispatches.” He looks at Robertson and Frank Schaefer, the pastor stripped of his Methodist clergy credentials last week for officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding, and wonders, “are ‘liberal Christians’ and ‘conservative Christians’ worshipping the same God?”  He’s not so sure.

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Categories: Beliefs, Culture, Politics

Cathy Lynn Grossman

Cathy Lynn Grossman

Cathy Lynn Grossman is a senior national correspondent for Religion News Service, specializing in stories drawn from research and statistics on religion, spirituality and ethics, and manager for social media.

8 Comments

  1. “Are ‘liberal Christians’ and ‘conservative Christians’ worshipping the same God?”

    No, not if gay marriage is on the table. Perhaps on other topics like feeding the poor. But gay marriage is outright spitting in God’s face. Definitely not an act of worship towards Him.

    • There is the Jesus that is in the Bible and there is:

      Conservative Jesus
      http://imgur.com/SCa9CWI
      www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkKPtUywY-8‎

      The Jesus of the Leviticans
      http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/002675.html

      But luckily there is also the Jesus which would forgive the hateful bigoted petty one some want to follow
      http://scalzi.com/whatever/003530.html

  2. I have long considered Christian churches/sects and sects within sects (e.g., liberal and conservative Catholics) to be really just another flowering of the competing pagan sects of ancient Rome, all worshiping a different god or goddess. sincerely, of course. But unable to use the Bible, the Theory of Natural Law or other self-declared, non-empirical “authorities” as weapons against each other. And seculars.

  3. Here is a blog that Religion News might want to check out and follow in the new year. An abuse survivor is writing almost daily posts at:

    Commentary on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Australia)
    http://lewisblayse.net/2013/12/26/more-on-salvation-army-funding-sources-or-purifying-tainted-money/

    He is providing very useful insights into the workings of that Inquiry. He has been denied the right to tell his story to the Inquiry and has hinted that if the Commissioners continue to prevent his testimony that he will take some sort of public action or protest.

    His latest post today is about how the Salvation Army in Australia is now taking millions of dollars in donations from the alcohol and gambling industries, which the SA does not do in other countries since those ‘vices’ create many of the social problems that the SA tries to help alleviate. The Inquiry will continue in the new year examining some high profile Salvation Army child abuse cases, so that blogger is providing some background information. He was abused as a child in a Salvation Army childrens’ home.

    • Duane Lamers

      My, one victim of child abuse has been found in a SA home. We ought to have a fullscale investigation of the SA.

      There just may be another side to the blogger’s story that justifies it not getting any traction. However, “journalists” won’t investigate that at all lest they find themselves with a story that their own agenda won’t let them publicize. Worse yet, they might not have enough objectivity even to see that there could be more to the story.

      This happens every day. That’s a principle reason why the alternative media are so popular.

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