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President Obama supports the right of Muslim Americans to celebrate religious holidays, the White House said Dec. 11. He just can’t give them the day off.

Responding to a petition on the White House’s “We the People” site, the White House declined to declare federal holidays for the Muslim holy days of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.

That’s because Congress has only designated 10 federal holidays each year: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

“Proposals for new permanent federal holidays are typically the province of Congress,” the White House said.

Phillip Larsen 12-05-2013

Details of stained glass window depicting baby Jesus at Christmas. Nancy Bauer / Shutterstock

Brace yourselves. The calendar has turned over to December, which means that the inevitable discussion on the War on Christmas will soon see its opening salvo for 2013.   

It is inevitable. There will be an outrage by a prominent figure about how we have lost our moral fabric because as someone was buying gifts with money they dont have to impress people that they dont always like, the cashier will commit the unthinkable sin of wishing us a Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.

There will be gnashing of teeth as a town or city somewhere will have a Holiday Parade rather than a Christmas Parade, as Tulsa had done several years ago. (The parade was subsequently boycotted by one of its senators.)

The chorus of those who would profess to be Christians will shout that the Political Correctness Police have overstepped yet another boundary and that we should not take the Christ out of Christmas” as the batch of perceived slights against Christendom freshly reveal themselves for this holiday season. 

As a person who would say that Jesus is the most important thing in my life, who has devoted my life to the service of Gods Kingdom, and spends all of my waking moments trying be faithful to that devotion, I have to ask: What exactly do we mean by putting the Christ back in Christmas'?

Stephen Mattson 05-10-2013
Couple with negative pregnancy test, Monkey Business Images /

Couple with negative pregnancy test, Monkey Business Images /

Moms should be celebrated, and they deserve all the flowers, spa days, pampering, and gifts given to them. I love my mom and I can’t thank her enough for all she has done for me and my family — Mother’s Day doesn’t even begin to cover the gratitude I have for her.

But for many, Mother’s Day is the most painful day of the year. For women who have experienced miscarriages, have had children die, have had abortions, who want to have kids but are struggling or unable to, have had to give up their children or currently have broken relationships with their kids, the holiday serves as a stark reminder filled with personal sorrow.

Christian communities can be especially harsh because of their tendencies to show favoritism to the idea of motherhood — as if mothers are somehow more holy and righteous than non-mothers. In an effort to praise and empower marriage, healthy parenting, families, and the sanctity of life, Christian subculture often mistakenly and unintentionally alienates those around us — especially women.

Jack Palmer 12-13-2011

Occupy Movement : Winning?; House Votes On Payroll Tax Extension Plan Today; What Advent Has In Common With Occupy Wall Street; Gingrich Has It Wrong About The Poor (OPINION); Occupy The Left; Panetta Optimistic About Afghanistan.

Cathleen Falsani 12-01-2011

The German Baroque master composer George Frideric Handel wrote his most famous piece, the English oratorio Messiah, in 1741 and it was performed for the first time publicly on April 13, 1742 in Dublin, Ireland. In the intervening nearly 300 years since its composition, Handel's Messiah — and it's "Hallelujah Chorus" in particular — have become staples of Christmastide, with thousands of renditions recorded or performed by everyone from The Royal Philharmonic and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to Leonard Bernstein's unorthodox restructuring in the 1950s and R&B music producer Quincy Jones' modern "soulful celebration" gospel interpretation in more recent years.

Beginning today, each day until Christmas we will post a different video rendition of the "Hallelujah Chorus" for your holiday enjoyment and edification.

Inside, see the first installment from a silent order of monks (aka the Barton Boy Scout troop of Richfordshire, North Yorkshire, England) performing Handel's classic.


Joshua Witchger 10-31-2011

Is Halloween a prime time for evangelism?

Are religious tracks passed out along with (or in lieu of) "treats" really the best way to spread the gospel message?

Or do the roots and practices of Halloween run so deeply counter to Christian tradition that Halloween is best ignored by believers?

At times such as these, the church often finds itself wrestling with the big question H. Richard Niebuhr posed in his seminal 1951 work, Christ and Culture. That is, to what extent should Christians engage in and interact with the world around them?

Nancy Sleeth 04-22-2011
Here are 10 ways to make Earth Day a church day for your congregation, small group, or family.
Biblical wisdom teaches that there is a time for every purpose under heaven. The holiday season is a season of feasting and of celebration.
Andrea Pascual 12-23-2010

As the holidays draw near, bright lights decorate the streets of the District of Columbia, carols are sung, cookies are baked, and stores fill up with anxious shoppers hop

Burns Strider 12-16-2010
While American troops will be working through the Christmas holidays, putting their lives on the line for our safety, and while millions of Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of the Prince o
LaVonne Neff 12-02-2010
A lot of us don't have as much disposable income as we had two or three years ago. Some of us have a lot less. But Christmas is coming, and we still want to give.
It had been a busy semester and the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I arrived back home from an exhausting American Academy of Religion meeting.
Tracey Bianchi 07-28-2010
We joined the flood club this weekend. I've heard rumors about this group of people before.
Jimmy McCarty 05-12-2010
It wasn't that long ago that the state of Arizona did not recognize, in fact went out of its way to criticize, the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Jarrod McKenna 04-21-2010

This video clip by The Work of The People is going to upset a lot of people.


Roi Ben-Yehuda 03-29-2010
In preparing a Passover seder in which many of my guests are first-timers and non-Jews, I am challenged by a number of factors: There is the barrier of language -- some of the texts that we read ar
Julie Clawson 03-08-2010
Most countries around the world are celebrating a holiday today.