Weekly Wrap 12.20.13: The 10 Best Stories You Missed This Week

By the Web Editors 12-20-2013

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1. The United States of Religion
Maps highlight such things as which religions are predominant by county and state, which states have the most religious adherents and the biggest non-Christian religion in each state.

2. And, Speaking of Maps
Kansas State University geographers have created a map of the spatial distribution of the seven deadly sins across the United States. Considering high rate of obesity in this country, we’re surprisingly not very gluttonous.

3. Christmas Light Show Like You’ve Never Seen
A Japanese resorts displays 7 million sparkling, colorful and changing LEDs, revolving around Mount Fuji.

4. Airline Pulls Off a Christmas Stunt
Westjet Airline passengers get more than their luggage when the airline plays Santa.

5. When It Comes to Sermons, Live Beats Video
So much for online church services. A new survey by LifeWay Research finds that most people would rather hear real-life preacher than view a video sermon. 

6. Christmas in America: Belief in the Virgin birth and visits from Santa
Nearly one in three Americans, including many with no little children at home and those with no religious identity, pretends Santa will visit on Christmas Eve, while 73 percent of adults in the Pew survey believe Jesus was born of a virgin. Meanwhile a survey released by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Services finds a plurality of Americans agree stores and businesses should greet their customers with “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings” instead of “merry Christmas,” and 26 percent see Dec. 25 as a cultural holiday, not a holy day.

7. Is Evangelical Christianity in America Losing Its Power?
Writer Jim Hinch looks at Rev. Robert Schuller’s Chrystal Cathedral in California’s Orange County and sees trouble.

8. The 60 Best Immigration Reform Pictures of the Year
Activists for immigration reform have held rallies, gone on hunger strikes, conducted acts of civil disobedience and tweeted/emailed/called/faxed/petitioned members of Congress, fighting for a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented Americans.

9. 13 for 13 — Intriguing Religion and Faith Findings for the Year
The Public Religion Research Institute’s top 13 findings from 2013 provide such tidbits as how many American believe God plays a role in determining the outcome of sporting events and what percentage of Americans favor a path allowing undocumented Americans to become citizens.

10. Flying Spaghetti Monster Joins Christmas Trees in Public Holiday Displays
A university group sets up satirical display at a Wisconsin state capitol holiday display whiles other get into the act.

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