Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Pope’s Slam on Gays Ealier Superseded By Appeal for Children on Christmas

December 25, 2008

Commenting on gays earlier this week, the Pope seemed to get Christmas off on the wrong foot.   The man referred to as “a guy with a funny hat” by Bill (“No shot at heaven”) Maher said the world needs to act to save  “street children who do not have the blessing of a family home, of those children who are brutally exploited as soldiers and made instruments of violence, instead of messengers of reconciliation and peace.”

Pope Benedict XVI blesses children as he celebrates the Christmas ... 
Pope Benedict XVI blesses children as he celebrates the Christmas Midnight Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, early Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008.(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Beijing has millions of homeless street children, many the sons and daughters of some 150 million migrants, many now without jobs.

The Pope also urged action for minors who are “victims of the industry of pornography and every other appalling form of abuse, and thus are traumatized in the depths of their soul.”

Bill Maher, November 2007
Bill (“No shot at heaven”) Maher

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Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Christmas Midnight Mass early Thursday by sending out an appeal for children who are abused, forced to live on the street or serve as soldiers.

By ARIEL DAVID, Associated Press Writer

In the splendor of St. Peter’s Basilica, Benedict marked the birth of Jesus with a call to the faithful to help children who are denied the love of their parents and those who are exploited across the world.

“The Child of Bethlehem summons us once again to do everything in our power to put an end to the suffering of these children,” he said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081225/ap
_on_re_eu/eu_vatican_christmas

Merry Christmas!

Related:
Pope Down on Gays

 Pope’s Message of Peace, Stability: Warns of Ruin in Selfishness

CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe
/12/24/vatican.midnight.mass/index.html

http://news.aol.com/article/pope-issue
s-plea-for-end-to-child-abuse/286983

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Iran’s Charmer Ahmadinejad Offers Seasons Greatings to “Ill-Tempered” Scum in the West

December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas, “bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers.”

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will deliver a Christmas Day broadcast on Britain’s Channel 4 television, occupying a slot used to provide an often controversial counterpoint to Queen Elizabeth II’s traditional annual message, the station said Wednesday.

By David Stringer
Associated Press
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In his recorded message, Ahmadinejad offers seasonal greetings to Christians and says he believes that if Jesus were alive, he would “stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers,” an apparent reference to the United States and its allies.
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According to a transcript of the broadcast released in advance, Ahmadinejad says most of the world’s problems stem from leaders who have turned against religion. He doesn’t refer to rival nations or leaders by name or raise the issue of Israel, despite his previous calls for the removal of the Jewish state.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Atta Kenare, AFP/Getty Images
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“If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly He would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over,” Ahmadinejad said, according to the text.
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The U.S., Britain and others suspect Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons, while Tehran insists its uranium enrichment program is intended solely for a civilian energy program.

Read the rest:
http://news.aol.com/article/from-iran-mer
ry-xmas-bullying-powers/286882

Tis the Season for Porn?

December 21, 2008

I will be called names for writing this column. It always happens. Raise the issue of the pornification of the culture and its fanatical devotees will come gunning for you. If they hope to be intimidating, they’ve forgotten what delete keys are for.

It’s Christmastime and the Fox News Channel, the most conservative of the major media outlets, is running an ad for PajamaGrams, “the only gift guaranteed to get your wife or girlfriend to take her clothes off.” The ads feature soft porn images of women disrobing and tossing slips and bras to the floor. The ads run at all times of the day and night. Thus do we usher in the season supposedly devoted to the Prince of Peace and the Festival of Lights.

We all know how far the pornification has gotten. A mainstream movie apparently treats the subject as cute and fun (“Zack and Miri Make a Porno“) and it runs at the multiplex next to “Four Christmases” and “Madagascar.” Hotels offer pornographic movies and omit the titles from the final bill. Victoria’s Secret graces every mall — and its windows resemble the red light district of Amsterdam. Viagra and its imitators are hawked ceaselessly. Television, music videos, and supermarket checkout magazines contain the kinds of suggestive words and images that would once have been labeled soft porn.

Women work in the red light district, Amsterdam (file pic)
Amsterdam

We know this. But what is less well understood is the world of hard-core porn that was once the province of dingy “adults only” stores in the harsher parts of town but is now available to everyone at the click of a mouse.

Last week the Witherspoon Institute (http://www.winst.org) convened a conference on pornography at Princeton University and invited scholars from a variety of fields to contribute. The statistics are mind-numbing. Pamela Paul, author of “Pornified,” reported that “Americans rent upwards of 800 million pornographic videos and DVDs per year. About one in five rented videos is porn. … Men look at pornography online more than they look at any other subject. And 66 percent of 18-34 year old men visit a pornographic site every month.”
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By Mona Charin

Related:
 Holiday sex: Christmas season is peak for mating

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/uc/20081219/cm_uc_crmchx/
op_58435;_ylt=AldW4LSOvbKioIPfUtB0E1b9wxIF

Holiday sex: Christmas season is peak for mating

December 20, 2008

‘Tis the season for making whoopee.

The Christmas-New Year’s period produces a year-high spike in sexual activity and conceptions in the United States, according to biorhythm researchers and makers of sex-related products.

They attribute the increase to holiday leisure and New Year’s resolutions to have children. New Year’s irresolution fueled by alcohol and partying is another contributing factor.

“Right before New Year’s Eve is our highest sales peak,” said David Johnson, group product manager for Trojan brand condoms, the leading U.S. seller.

By Frank Greve | McClatchy Newspapers

As expected, the holiday urge surge also expresses itself as a peak in U.S. births in September, according to David Lam of the University of Michigan’s Population Studies Center in Ann Arbor.

Holiday intimacies aren’t just an American rite, according to Gabriele Doblhammer of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany. Heavy Christmas-New Year’s sex “is characteristic of all Christian cultures in which it has been evaluated,” she and co-researcher Joseph Lee Rogers found.

A quartet of British public health researchers….

Read the rest:
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/226/story/58209.html

Vietnam Officials Extend Christmas Greetings

December 20, 2008

VietNamNet Bridge – The Vietnam Committee for Solidarity of Catholics hosted a function in Hanoi on Dec. 19 to celebrate the upcoming Christmas and New Year festivals.

The committee’s president, Priest Nguyen Cong Danh stated that, together with billions of Christians worldwide, Vietnamese Catholics and Protestants are cheerfully anticipating this year’s Christmas and New Year celebrations.

The priest extended Christmas greetings to those present, as well as Catholic and Protestant dignitaries and followers across the country.


Above: Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City (former Saigon)

The Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee’s President, Huynh Dam took this occasion to send his best regards to Christian priests, dignitaries and followers across Vietnam and wished a merry Christmas to all of the nation’s families.

Dam noted that this year’s Christmas celebrations promise to be a joy, not just for the nation’s six million-plus Catholics, but also the entire population of Vietnam . He spoke highly of the contributions made by Catholic followers to the country’s socio-economic development.

The VFF president urged the committee to continue its 50-year role as a bridge to encourage all Catholic followers to contribute further to their country and strengthen national unity.

Representatives from the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Mass Mobilisation, the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs, the Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha and the Hanoi-based Caodai Church were also present at the event.

(Source: VNA)

Muslim Lawyer Brands Christmas ‘Evil’ (Is Santa A Terrorist?)

December 10, 2008

Muslim preacher Anjem Choudary has branded Christmas “evil” in a sermon posted on the internet.

The lawyer, who recently praised the Mumbai terror attacks, urged all Muslims to reject traditional Christmas celebrations, claiming that they are forbidden by Allah.

The 41-year-old shocked Christians and even those of his own faith by branding yuletide festivities as “the pathway to hellfire”.

Choudary, who is chairman of the Society of Muslim Lawyers, ruled out all celebrations, including having a Christmas tree, decorating the house or eating turkey.

In the sermon posted on an Islamic website, he said: “In the world today many Muslims, especially those residing in western countries, are exposed to the evil celebration Christmas.

“Many take part in the festival celebrations by having Christmas turkey dinners.

“Decorating the house, purchasing Christmas trees or having Christmas turkey meals are completely prohibited by Allah.

“Many still practise this corrupt celebration as a remembrance of the birth of Jesus.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3699565/Muslim-law
yer-Anjem-Choudary-brands-Christmas-evil.html


Could be a Christian terrorist….

Rick Warren: There’s a purpose behind our problems

December 5, 2008

Rick Warren, founder and pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, is one of America’s most influential authors and religious leaders. In August, he moderated a discussion on key issues between presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.

CNN

Rick Warren says no matter what problem you have, there's a purpose behind it.

Rick Warren says no matter what problem you have, there’s a purpose behind it.

His latest book is “The Purpose of Christmas.” He was interviewed by Kiran Chetry on “American Morning” on Friday. Here is an edited version of the exchange:

Chetry: We always say we don’t want Christmas to be commercialized. It seems that at the end of the year, we end up in the same position, worried about buying presents, worried about spending money, worried about holiday cards, and how do you get back to the real meaning?

Rick Warren: A lot of people are really hurting because of the economy and because of the fears about what’s going to happen, and really those same problems are the problems that Mary and Joseph went through. Housing, no room at the inn, travel, economic unrest, things like that.

So I wrote this book really to focus us on what is the true meaning of Christmas. It’s a book of hope, and the big idea behind it is that no matter what problem you’re going through, there’s a purpose behind it. God has a purpose, and that purpose can help you make it through even the stressful times when we decide to write a note to everybody, buy a gift for everybody, redecorate our house, have five or six meals and go to eight or nine parties.

Chetry: Exactly, because that’s usually what ends up happening, and sometimes  the spirit….

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/12/05/warren.chris
tmas/index.html

Lofty Hopes, Dreams Shattered By Politics, Terrorism, Economy, Other Realities

December 5, 2008

The news today is pretty grim on many fronts.  As I made my coffee I wondered if we might have to cut back on sugar and milk.

My Vietnamese family commented at dinner last night that after the Communists took over in Saigon in 1975, food became scarce.

“This amount of pork we have here for four people would have fed 24 in 1976 in Saigon,” my 90 year old “Ba” or grandmother said.

My wife said, “We cooked for the smell, mostly.”

Well, America is a long way from that.  But as Ronald Reagan once said, “If your neighbor lost his job it’s a recession.  When you lose your job its a depression.”

So, as we round second base between Thanksgiving and Cristmas, many Americans, on a very personal level, feel the bad news turning into a sometimes miserable (or at least a less wealthy) reality.

Globally, I am reminded of  “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

In a nation of  “control freaks,” we are having a stark reminder of how little we really do control….

George W. Bush certainly never dreamed that his life and his place in history would take a terrible turn on September 11, 2001, as he sat with children in a school.


Bush, while in a school, learns of the September 11 attacks from chief of staff Andy Card…

Dick Cheney probably never dreamed he’d shoot a lawer in the face — and wake up knowing many and perhaps most Americans would do that to him if he came within range.

So we all must martial on.  We must face reality and overcome — using whatever tools we have.  This might involve the strength of prayer and certainly the sustanence of hope.

And we see great examples of  hope every day.

Barack Obama is the poster child of hope in America.  And with each decision and appointment we are reminded of renewal, hope and the dreams of the future.

President-elect Barack Obama speaks as he presents his choices ...

Cetainly, just about a week ago, many in India and Pakistan had more hope than they have today.  But mismanagement and terrorists took some away at Mumbai.

But not all.

Hope sustains us.  Hope fortifies and nourishes.  Without hope, sometimes, we gravitate toward despair.

But tomorrow is often better and Christmas is nearing.  Even though we have few (or fewer)  material gifts to give this year, perhaps we will give each other more real love and hope.

And our gift can be based in reality and eternity at the same time.

Job fair 
Americans look for jobs.  But, for the most part, all are well fed and well clothed.  Photo by the Associated Press

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A FRIEND sent us this by email:

Underlying all of this, at bottom, is a structrual realignment–what King called the “arc of the moral universe” –in America–jobs, education, heathcare, and a less than prosperous future–that is consisent with the cycical rise and fall of nations. The signs are there to read.
 
The liars and soothsayers–indeed, the people responsble for what Caesar called “bread and circus”–are obfuscating realities about what we call an American econony within the larger context of nations that are rising and, in fact, challenging America’s hegemony in the world.

I read an article yesterday that indicated that this nation is moving back to a time where most Americans will not be able to afford a college education.

This is striking and, therefore, suggests that a violent socio-economic mitosis is now underway. Simply stated, that means we are moving towards a society of folks who abolsutely have and those who don’t and may not be able to charge a loaf of bread on their Visa cards.

President-Elect Obama is, in fact, a poster child for change; however, change will have to take on tangible meaning or he will soon become the focal point of rage and blame by rank and file Americans who still do not see the handwriting on the wall.