The Common Good

God's Politics Blog

Hit the Hallelujah Button: What Happens in Vegas...

Each day leading until Christmas we will post a different video rendition of the "Hallelujah Chorus" for your holiday enjoyment and edification.

Today we bring you season's greetings and aquatic Hallelujahs from the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

Sure they call it " Sin City," but at Christmastime, the famous fountains at the Bellagio Hotel wow tourists from around the world with their syncronized musical water shows, including sacred music. The fountain's Christmas show — seen multiple times each day — includes the Mormon Tablernacle Choir's rendition "Hallelujah Chorus"  along with Placido Domingo's "O Holy Night" and Johnny Mathis singing "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

Not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. See for yourself...on the blog.

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The war is over. Lowering the flag.

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usually end in one of two ways – victory or defeat.

World War II ended with a ceremony on the deck of the USS Missouri, with Japanese foreign minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signing a document of surrender, which U.S. General Douglas MacArthur accepted.

On the other hand, the war in Vietnam ended with a frantic two-day evacuation of U.S. diplomatic and military personnel from the Embassy in Saigon, culminating in the final helicopter leaving the roof with Vietnamese civilians hanging from the skids.

The “official end” of the war in Iraq was neither of these

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Lowes, Lowes, Lowes ...

Lowes pulled its ad dollars from a show that aims to tighten the tapestry we call America because of a faux controversy drummed up by a hate group that said, through its claims of “propaganda," that it's not possible for Muslims to be American.

But the fabric of our nation exists because of the genius of our nation’s founder, who, in the very first amendment to our Constitution, protected the integrity of religion by forbidding the establishment of any one religion as the religion of the state.

In every single society before the founding of our Union, religion and state were married. History has taught us that religion co-opted by the state loses its integrity and its prophetic power. 

Ours was a grand experiment that built America into a grand tapestry of ethnic and religious groups that thrive side by side in relative peace—more so than in any other nation in the world.

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Christmas Favorites from SoJo's Christmas Favorites: Sam Phillips

Sam Phillips is achingly honest.

Whether she's singing about relationships — with loved ones, the world or God — politics, art, the church, Aimee Semple McPherson or Christmastime, you can count on Sam to bring her singularly pure voice and the truth. She is true blue (and one of her favorite guitars is as red and shiny as RudolfOn her new album, Solid State: Songs from the Long Play, Sam has two songs that have quickly become new favorite Christmas tunes for me. One is explicitly about Christmas, and the other is not, but both speak eloquently (and truthfully) about the mystery and melancholy that the season brings to many of us.

In "It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas," Sam talks about missing someone special during the holidays. The lyrics are sad, her voice is sweet, and the juxtaposition of the two strikes a deep chord in my heart. True. Difficult. Beautiful.

 

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The Real War on Christmas ... by Fox News

The real Christmas announces the birth of Jesus to a world of poverty, pain, and sin, and offers the hope of salvation and justice.

The Fox News Christmas heralds the steady promotion of consumerism, the defense of wealth and power, the adulation of money and markets, and the regular belittling or attacking of efforts to overcome poverty.

The real Christmas offers the joyful promise of peace and the hope of reconciliation with God and between humankind.

The Fox News Christmas proffers the constant drumbeat of war, the reliance on military solutions to every conflict, the demonizing of our enemies, and the gospel of American dominance.

The real Christmas lifts up the Virgin Mary’s song of praise for her baby boy: “He has brought the mighty down from their thrones, and lifted the lowly, he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich empty away.”

The Fox News Christmas would label Mary’s Magnificat as “class warfare.”

So if there is a war on Christmas it ‘s the one being waged by Fox News.

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The war is over. Welcome home.

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Obama spoke Wednesday afternoon in Fort Bragg, N.C., to a crowd of returning veterans from Iraq.

To loud applause, the president declared: "We’re here to mark a historic moment in the life of our country and our military. For nearly nine years, our nation has been at war in Iraq. … So as your commander in chief, on behalf of a grateful nation, I'm proud to finally say these two words – and I know your families agree: Welcome home.”

It’s a sentiment we all can share.

Obama acknowledged the huge human cost of the war. “We know too well the heavy cost of this war. More than 1.5 million Americans have served in Iraq. Over 30,000 Americans have been wounded and those are only the wounds that show," the president said. "Nearly 4,500 Americans made the ultimate sacrifice … so today, we pause to say a prayer for all those families who have lost their loved ones, for they are part of our broader American family. We grieve with them.”

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The Morning News: Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011

Census Shows 1 In 2 People Are Poor Or Low-Income; Evangelical Group Links Climate Change And Poverty; Rick Perry Stresses Values On Iowa Bus Tour Kick-Off; Occupy 2.0? Church Leaders Join Movement; The Looming Death Of The Death Penalty; Christ and Consumerism: 'Priceless' At What Price? (OPINION)

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The Top 10 Stories of December 15, 2011

Quote of the day.
"This is the largest corporate step up to the challenge that is beginning to apply direct resources to the fight against slavery. … a game-changing investment." - Gary Haugen, president and CEO of International Justice Mission, which received one of a total $11.5 million in grants made by Google to organizations working to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking.
(CNN)

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Links of Awesomeness: Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011

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Toast! A vicar beatboxes the Nativity Story. Butter shortages wreak havoc on Norway. Ten out of Tenn gives away its new Christmas album. Knit some dim sum for your cat. Iconoclastic Hasidic-reggae master Matisyahu shaves his beard, and more!

 

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New Report: Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. Women Have Been Raped

The Washington Post reports:

Nearly one in five U.S. women has been raped at some time in her life, according to new federal data released Wednesday.

In addition, one in four women has been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, according the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, which was conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This landmark report paints a clear picture of the devastating impact that these violent acts have on the lives of millions of Americans,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement accompanying the release of the results.

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