Wisdom Wednesday | October 12th

AUSCP NewsOctober 12Roundup

Santa arrives on Labor Day or sooner. Easter eggs, before Christmas. Fireworks, before Easter. Welcome to a holiday version of Wisdom Wednesday. (And what about a new advertising image of Jesus, just in time for the Super Bowl?)

Happy (and Historic!) Holidays

Indigenous Peoples’ Day was observed on the Monday just passed. It is described by some as correcting our “white-washed” American history. Or as they said on National Public Radio: Goodbye, Columbus?

Thanksgiving seems to get short shrift. Maybe because it is hard to pronounce “Wampanoag” from the story about the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag who shared an autumn harvest feast. Or because “massacres, disease and American Indian tribal politics are what shaped the Pilgrim-Indian alliance at the root of the holiday.” Read more from History.com and the Smithsonian Magazine.

At The Place of the Big Trees, members of two Native American tribes are calling on the federal government to restore features of a sacred site that was bulldozed 14 years ago as part of a highway widening project near Mount Hood, Oregon.

Halloween candy sales amount one quarter of all the candy sold annually in the United States. And “bobbing for apples” likely originated with Pomona, goddess of fruit and trees. Here’s the History of Halloween.

Christmas celebrations in America evolved from raucous holiday to a family event. The Economist says it is a triumph of middle-class values, and a coup for shop-owners. “Christmas is the merchant’s harvest time,” one industry magazine enthused in 1908.

But why wait until Christmas? Wikipedia says “Christmas creep” is a phenomenon associated with a desire of merchants to take advantage of particularly heavy Christmas-related shopping

“[Christmas creep starts] well before Black Friday in the United States and before Remembrance Day in Canada. Previously, retailers referred to Christmas as the “golden quarter” – October through December. Now, Irish retailer Brown Thomas opens its Christmas store in mid-August, and “Holiday creep” can apply for Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day.”

Regarding Jewish Holidays, we are reaching the end of the fall Jewish holiday season, time to celebrate Shemini Atzeret, the “Eighth Day of Assembly,” and Simchat Torah, the “Rejoicing in Torah,” according to the American Jewish Committee. And, in his column, Martini Judaism, Jeffrey Salkin quoted an old joke.

The definition of a Jewish holiday: They hated us; they tried to kill us; we won; let’s eat.”

Fixing Jesus’ Image

A major ad campaign for Jesus will expand in the months leading up to the Super Bowl. The He Gets Us campaign hopes to rescue the message of Jesus from the misdeeds of Christians. The report from Religion News Service.

Current Events

Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to Bahrain blends three of his top priorities as pope: Ministering to a tiny Catholic community, promoting dialogue with the Muslim world and fostering relations with other Christian communities, according to details released October 5 by the Vatican.

The Dreamers. NCR reports: Catholic immigration advocates are emphasizing that the Oct. 5 ruling by a federal appeals court — finding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is unlawful — sends another signal that permanent legislation is needed to protect young immigrants from deportation and put them on a path to U.S. citizenship.

In-depth on the Church

Commonweal concludes: “One clear takeaway from the sexual-abuse crisis is that the Church could use more of what the philosopher Elizabeth Anderson calls ‘epistemic democracy.’ More people, especially laypeople, need to be heard. (Commonweal offers a study guide for parishes or small groups.)

Are the culture wars changing how Christian students choose colleges?

‘You see it’s a Christian college, and then immediately ask, what kind of Christian college is it?’ said one student.

Queer and Christian

‘The church is our rightful home.” At Catholic Mass for LGBTQ community, a message of inclusion in Milwaukee.

Activists at Seattle Pacific University want to “deconstruct harmful theologies on sexuality, gender and queerness.”

Some numbers and measurements

About 3 in 5 white evangelicals — twice the rate of other Christian groups — agree with the statement “God is more concerned about individual morality than social inequalities.”

Among Protestants and Catholics overall, views on marijuana are quite similar. Roughly half in each group say marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use, while slightly more than a third say it should be legal only for medical use.Of all the groups analyzed, atheists and agnostics are the most strongly in favor of broadly legal marijuana.

Church and State

The Colorado baker who won a partial Supreme Court victory after refusing on religious grounds to make a gay couple’s wedding cake a decade ago is challenging a separate ruling that he violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to make a cake celebrating a gender transition.

A federal judge has ruled that Biden administration guidelines requiring employers to provide protections for LGBTQ employees go too far, in a win for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who brought suit against the rules last fall.

In New Jersey, Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced October 5 that the Division on Civil Rights launched an enforcement initiative to ensure that municipal governments across New Jersey do not discriminate against or exclude LGBTQIA+ individuals seeking to obtain marriage licenses.

Three Jewish women filed suit against Kentucky abortion bans on religious grounds. It’s the third such suit brought by Jewish organizations or individuals since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, claiming the state is imposing a Christian understanding of when life begins.

Meanwhile, writers for USA Today conclude that the conservative supermajority is tearing down the wall between church and state. “As Baptists and constitutional law experts, we find this change in religious liberty law deeply troubling.”

Social Justice

Michael Sean Winters examines “what is missing.” The foundations of Catholic social teaching run deep in our Scriptures and tradition. Before Rerum Novarum, there was Genesis and Isaiah and Micah and the Gospels and Augustine and Aquinas and Bellarmine.

Your cheating heart

America provides a light-hearted (but significant) look at what the Catholic Church says about cheating. (I read it as the last of my free articles this month; you may have to subscribe (or cheat your way past the paywall!))

Smiles of the saints

Pope Francis: the saints are not ‘sourpusses,‘ but men and women with joyful hearts, open to hope.” NCR reported the story.

Support Wisdom Wednesday

We hope you have enjoyed this roundup of recent news about faith, politics, and culture. We will return next week with another edition of Wisdom Wednesday.

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