It is hard to imagine putting Pope Francis and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the same race for the same honor. However, the two very different public figures are both finalists in TIME Magazine's 2013 "Person of the Year" award.
Begun in 1927 and originally labeled "Man of the Year," the annual honor goes to an individual – good or bad – whom TIME's editorial board believes most impacted the news for the previous year.
Pope Francis, consecrated the new head of the Roman Catholic Church back in March after his predecessor resigned, has garnered much attention for his approach to the position. Known for his humility and frequent shunning of high status before and during his reign as the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis has become the talk of many circles for his seemingly unorthodox rhetoric and style. His comments on atheism, gay priests, social issues, and other matters coupled with viral images of him washing the feet of female Muslim prisoners and embracing severely deformed individuals have led many to feel Francis is taking the Roman Catholic Church in a new direction. more >>
The United Methodist Church had its largest amount of funds donated online in a single-day during the #GivingTuesday observance, the denomination's leaders report.
About $6.5 million was donated to UMC missions on the Tuesday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to the UMC General Board of Global Ministries. The idea of putting a focus on "giving" rather than "shopping" on the day after Cyber Monday and three days after Black Friday appears to have gained momentum this year thanks to social media.
A Pennsylvania Episcopal church body will soon undergo a major two-pronged construction project with an estimated price tag of $110 million.
The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral plans to hold a ground-breaking ceremony for the project on Thursday afternoon, with a request on their website that guests RSVP for the occasion.
One part of the project will focus on the Cathedral Center and the other part will focus on an apartment tower financially connected to the Cathedral. The Very Rev. Judith A. Sullivan, dean of the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, told The Christian Post that the immense funding has been secured. more >>
A Florida-based animal rights organization that is suing New York state to give legal personhood for chimpanzees holds a neutral stance on abortion.
The Nonhuman Rights Project of Coral Springs has refused to take a position on the debate over whether en utero human life also deserves legal personhood recognition.
Michael Mountain, spokesman for the project, told The Christian Post that regarding the abortion debate "we don't have any position on that." more >>
As millions of Americans go to the stores for frenzied shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, a group of Texas churches have sought to provide an alternative.
"Bless Friday," a time away from the shopping centers and the seasonal sales, involves congregations organizing community service projects for Black Friday, with the hopes of someday making such volunteer work the norm.
A local atheist chapter in New Jersey is bashing the Pope and other religious leaders for suggesting Christians pray for victims of natural disasters. The group has launched a series of digital billboards that read "Disaster victims need prayer [...] real help."
New Jersey's American Atheists chapter will be posting digital billboards with that phrase and others throughout the center of the state, the organization announced this week. The six billboards will include the same phrase with the words "bible" and "religion" crossed out instead of "prayer," and they will be erected on three major highways with the help of the advertising company Clear Channel Outdoors.
In a press release by American Atheists, the organization argues that following the massive destruction of Typhoon Haiyan earlier this month in the Philippines, Catholic leaders, including the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines and Pope Francis, have responded to the disaster in "non-helpful ways" that include sending bibles and rosaries to disaster victims and tweeting for Christians to pray for those affected by the Typhoon. more >>