"Do-It-Yourself Chanukah House"

“Do-It-Yourself Chanukah House” Courtesy of Your Friendly Neighborhood Roundup Writer, David Gibson

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:

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:

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:

Yeah, I found the same thing, pretty much. Peace out.

David Gibson


Categories: Culture

David Gibson

David Gibson

David Gibson is an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He is a national reporter for RNS and has written two books on Catholic topics, the latest a biography of Pope Benedict XVI.


  1. Steven Hunter

    There is no reason at all to suppose that the newly unveiled frescoes depict woman priests. It is known that in the early church there were deaconesses, which perhaps is depicted in this fresco, but what is even more likely is that it is simply a woman in prayer — in what is commonly called the “orans” posture for prayer.

  2. Ralph Hythloday

    “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”

    Again, the people who disrupted the Kristallnacht service were NOT Catholics, they were members of the Society of Pope Pius X, a heretical group, that has no canonical status (i.e. is not in communion) with the Catholic Church.

    • What a dodge! “No canonical status”, is not nearly a clear disassociation as excommunication of the group would be. Even the excommunication of some of their bishops was overturned. They are Catholics, but an embarrassment.

  3. Ralph Hythloday

    “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.”

    Lincoln did use “God” in his speech. Check out the Associated Press reporter’s transcription of the speech.

    • let me understand. You choose to except what a journalist with limited time to do scholarly historical research instead of an historian who has spent years studying this particular subject?
      You seem so “sure” of your “truth” based on a single report. Hmmm. Maybe you should examine your preconceived assumptions about what is “fact.”

      • Ralph Hythloday

        I’m sorry, I should have been clearer. I meant the transcription of the AP reporter WHO WAS ACTUALLY AT THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. And yes, I will *accept* a primary source, absent any evidence that it was somehow a fraud.

  4. Earold D Gunter

    My favorite part. “Preaching intolerance is a form of militancy that must be overcome,” Francis told a delegation on Tuesday.
    Anxious to see if the catholic conservatives will heed his admonition. I don’t have faith though….get it?

  5. Concerning the deaths of Pres. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis, and A. Huxley being on the same day, you might be interested in reading my blog posting about that at http://theviewfromthisseat.blogspot.com/2013/11/between-heaven-and-hell.html.

  6. Someone try to explain to me what the hell is wrong with helping people to sign up for health care is? Christianity has left me, I didn’t leave it! I’ll take my chances with the brown skinned man from Nazereth instead of this bunch of hypocrites !

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