Religion Today Daily Headlines - December 3, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - December 3, 2012

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Israel: U.N. Palestinian Statehood Vote Won't Help Peace
  • Vatican Hails U.N. Palestine Vote, Wants Guarantees for Jerusalem
  • 68 Percent Prefer 'Merry Christmas' Over 'Happy Holidays'
  • Pennsylvania Restaurant Forced to Open 'Church Bulletin Discount' to Atheists


Israel: U.N. Palestinian Statehood Vote Won't Help Peace

Palestinians in the West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza celebrated Thursday's historic vote by the United Nations General Assembly to recognize the Palestinian Authority as a non-member state, but Israel maintained that the vote would make peace talks and negotiations even tougher, CBN News reports. "The truth is, when the party is over and when people wake up tomorrow morning, they'll see that nothing is changed, that reality on the ground remains as is," Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said Thursday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the vote "meaningless," adding: "The way to peace between Jerusalem and Ramallah is in direct negotiations, without preconditions, and not in one-sided U.N. decisions. By going to the U.N., the Palestinians have violated the agreements with Israel, and Israel will act accordingly." Speaking earlier ahead of the vote, Netanyahu said the resolution actually pushed peace backwards, and said no U.N. decision could break the "4,000-year-old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel."

Vatican Hails U.N. Palestine Vote, Wants Guarantees for Jerusalem

The Vatican hailed the United Nations' implicit recognition of a Palestinian state on Thursday and called for an internationally guaranteed special status for Jerusalem, something bound to be received negatively by Israel, Reuters reports. The 193-nation U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's observer status at the U.N. from "entity" to "non-member state," the same status as the Vatican. A statement from the Vatican said, "The Holy See welcomes with favor the decision of the General Assembly," and also called for "an internationally guaranteed special statute" for Jerusalem, aimed at "safeguarding the freedom of religion and of conscience, the identity and sacred character of Jerusalem as a Holy City, [and] respect for, and freedom of, access to its holy places." It has been some time since the Vatican re-stated its position on Jerusalem so forcefully, and the statement was bound to irk Israel, said a diplomat with direct knowledge of their relations. Israel has always maintained that it already guarantees the city's special nature as sacred to Christianity, Judaism and Islam, and has always resisted the concept of any form of international mandate over Jerusalem. Israel declared Jerusalem its "united and eternal" capital in 1980 after annexing East Jerusalem in the Six Day War in 1967; however, world powers have not recognized the annexation. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of an eventual state.

68 Percent Prefer 'Merry Christmas' Over 'Happy Holidays'

Most Americans still prefer signs in stores that say "Merry Christmas" rather than ones with "Happy Holidays," according to a new Rasmussen Reports national survey. The poll found that 68 percent of American adults prefer "Merry Christmas," while just 23 percent like "Happy Holidays" instead. The survey of 1,000 adults nationwide was conducted November 11-12, 2012, with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Pennsylvania Restaurant Forced to Open 'Church Bulletin Discount' to Atheists

A settlement has been reached in an atheist's complaint against a Pennsylvania restaurant that offered a 10-percent discount to customers who provided a church bulletin while dining on Sundays, the Christian Post reports. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission said Nov. 28 that Prudhomme's Lost Cajun Kitchen in Columbia may continue providing the discount on Sundays as long as it omits the word "church" from its discount offer and accepts pamphlets pertaining to all faiths, even "publications from the Freedom From Religion Foundation." The discrimination complaint was filed on behalf of local atheist John Wolff in the summer of 2012, who argued the discount was discriminatory because he did not attend church. In response, restaurant co-owner Sharon Prudhomme argued it was merely a marketing attempt to increase business during slow Sunday afternoons.

Publication date: December 3, 2012