Friday News Roundup: And if you’re on the right side of the plane, you can see the Grand Canyon

istock_000003001750xsmallSometimes, the weeks’ news organizes itself neatly around a particular theme or current event.  It not only makes it easier to put these roundups together, it also provides some space for analysis and commentary.

This week?  Not so much.  There’s some interesting stuff out there but it’s all over the map, so prepare for the tour.

  • Sometimes religious discrimination at work is subtle, and sometimes it’s so painfully apparent that it’s difficult to fathom what the discriminator was thinking.  Like New York Palace Hotel boss Niklaus Leuenberger, who told a Catholic employee who came in to work on Ash Wednesday with ashes on his forehead (gasp!) to “wipe that f*****g s**t off your face.”   The Daily News reports:

The incident was deemed so severe [that] Christopher Cowdray, head of the London-based Dorchester Collection, which owns the Palace, flew here to hand Leuenberger the pink slip.

I say that’s taking religious diversity and accommodation seriously.

  • Gallup came out with a report earlier this week that challenged a lot of our preconceived notions about the effects of economic recession on religion – namely, that people would turn to religion in greater numbers as tough times descended.  Apparently, we’re not (at least those of us in the U.S.):  According to Gallup, “there has been no evident change over the past 15 months in either Americans’ self-reported church attendance or the importance of religion in their daily lives.”  (Although they also conceded that this study had no way of showing whether self-reported religious people had become any more committed.)
  • Finally, lest one think that the constant conflict over using traditions songs with religious language or implications in public school pageants and plays (think “Silent Night” your 1st grader’s Winter Carnival) is a December-only phenomenon, think again. “The lawsuit, filed in federal court last week — a month after students at the Webster School in St. Augustine started practicing “In God We Still Trust” — says the song interferes with the parents’ right to raise children according to their own beliefs,” reports FOX News and the Florida Times-Union.

Check out tanenbaum.org/news for more headlines, and I’ll be here next Friday as always!

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3 Responses to “Friday News Roundup: And if you’re on the right side of the plane, you can see the Grand Canyon”

  1. Alex Says:

    What about the alternative? In the recession, would people have less time to participate in their religion because they are focused on their jobs, finances, families, etc.? I suppose when you’re quantifying it with church/temple attendence rates, the recession could ultimately cause a dip in the numbers. Thoughts?

  2. michelle, communications Says:

    It’s a good point – when you’ve been thrown into a job hunt, you may have less time to attend worship services. It may be that the steady numbers mean that things are coming out in the wash – some people are focused on jobs/finances/families and are attending worship services less, while some are turning to their faiths for support and are attending more. If people continue to track this, it’ll be interesting to see what the trending is as the recession goes on.

  3. Michele Says:

    As for the Gallup poll, I find it surprising and uplifting that 65% of folks are religious–that’s a pretty big number already! And the study doesn’t analyze the quality of worship which would be the true gauge of the relationship between religion and hard times.

    As for church/temple traffic not increasing, one cynical guess is that when you go, you have to pay and maybe people don’t have the bucks. Like restaurants and hotels, trips are down.

    And like everything else, we are looking for cheaper options. After all, “The Shack” has been on the NYT best seller list for 45 weeks and in the #1 spot for many weeks now!


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