Friday, January 4, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

First Celebrations of Christmas took Place on Feast of Epiphany/Winter Solstice
"There was no feast of Christmas during the first two centuries of the Christian era. Our festival followed the model of pagan festivals observing the sun’s birth on the winter solstice....The first celebrations of Christmas did not happen on December 25. They began on January 6, today the feast of Epiphany in the West. That used to be the winter solstice until a calendar adjustment moved it to December 25 and a later adjustment to December 21. This is the reason our Christmas comes a few days after the solstice. Eastern Orthodox believers still celebrate Christmas on January 6..."
(God is Not Three Guys in the Sky- Posted Jeanette)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Top Ten Religion Stories of 2012 Include Women's Roles/Ordination/Priests

Best of 2012: Contraception, women's roles among top religion stories

From Staff Reports

"Challenges to the role of women in the Catholic Church, a federal regulation regarding contraception and the non-issue of Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith all touched on the lives of Cowetans – and made it into the top 10 religion stories of the year.

Religion Newswriters Association members vote on stories each year to select the top 10. This year, a December event was too late for voting but had wide impact.

“The No. 1 U.S. religion story in December 2012 was, without a doubt, the school attack and the mournful search for meaning that follows,” said Debra Mason of RNA. “However, before the shooting, professional journalists who cover religion voted on the year’s other significant religious events.”

The U.S. Catholic bishops’ opposition to national health care legislation mandating contraception coverage was ranked the No. 1 Religion Story of 2012 by members of the Religion Newswriters Association.

Related to the top story, the top religion newsmaker was Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who became the point man for Catholic objections to required coverage of contraception, sterilization and morning after drugs in Obamacare.

The Top 10 Religion Stories of the Year are below:

— 1. U.S. Catholic bishops led opposition to Obamacare requirement that insurance coverage for contraception be provided for employees. The government backed down a bit, but not enough to satisfy the opposition.

Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory addressed the issue briefly during a meeting on immigration in College Park in early December. “Religious liberty is not threatened only by the actions of one government agency or one area of law,” he said.

— 2. A Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey showed that “nones” is the fastest-growing religious group in the United States, rising to 19.6 percent of the population.

— 3. The circulation of an anti-Islam film trailer, “Innocence of Muslims,” caused unrest in several countries, leading to claims that it inspired the fatal attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya. President Obama, at the U.N., called for toleration tolerance of blasphemy, and respect as a two-way street.

— 4. Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith turned out to be a virtual non-issue for white evangelical voters, who support him more strongly than they did John McCain, in the U.S. presidential race.

The Republican presidential contender’s religion certainly appeared to have little impact on election results in Coweta County, which has a high concentration of evangelicals. Romney received 39,633 votes on Nov. 6 – 71.4 percent of the votes cast in Coweta.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is growing in number and visibility in Coweta. Just a few days after the election, a short program, “The Mormons Next Door,” was presented at the local LDS building on Old Atlanta Highway.

— 5. Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia became the first senior Catholic official in the U.S. to be found guilty of covering up priestly child abuse. Later, Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, Mo., became the first bishop to be found guilty of covering up abuse.
— 6. The Vatican criticized the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella group of U.S. nuns, alleging they have not supported church teaching on abortion, sexuality or women’s ordination.

In Coweta County, the line was more sharply drawn as local resident Diane Dougherty took vows of ordination as a Roman Catholic woman priest on Oct. 20. Dougherty, a nun for 23 years, knew she was facing automatic excommunication.
She was ordained a priest in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.

— 7. Voters approved same-sex marriage in Maine, Maryland and Washington, bringing the total approving to nine states and the District of Columbia. Also, Minnesota defeated a ban on same-sex marriage after North Carolina approved one.

— 8. The Episcopal Church overwhelmingly adopted a trial ritual for blessing same-sex couples. Earlier, the United Methodists failed to vote on approving gay clergy, and the Presbyterians (USA) voted to study, rather than sanction same-sex marriage ceremonies.

— 9. Six people were killed and three wounded at worship in a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee. The shooter, an Army veteran killed by police, was described as a neo-Nazi.

— 10. Southern Baptist Convention elected without opposition its first black president, Fred Luter, a pastor from New Orleans. "