Friday News Roundup: And if you’re on the right side of the plane, you can see the Grand Canyon

istock_000003001750xsmallSometimes, the weeks’ news organizes itself neatly around a particular theme or current event.  It not only makes it easier to put these roundups together, it also provides some space for analysis and commentary.

This week?  Not so much.  There’s some interesting stuff out there but it’s all over the map, so prepare for the tour.

  • Sometimes religious discrimination at work is subtle, and sometimes it’s so painfully apparent that it’s difficult to fathom what the discriminator was thinking.  Like New York Palace Hotel boss Niklaus Leuenberger, who told a Catholic employee who came in to work on Ash Wednesday with ashes on his forehead (gasp!) to “wipe that f*****g s**t off your face.”   The Daily News reports:

The incident was deemed so severe [that] Christopher Cowdray, head of the London-based Dorchester Collection, which owns the Palace, flew here to hand Leuenberger the pink slip.

I say that’s taking religious diversity and accommodation seriously.

  • Gallup came out with a report earlier this week that challenged a lot of our preconceived notions about the effects of economic recession on religion – namely, that people would turn to religion in greater numbers as tough times descended.  Apparently, we’re not (at least those of us in the U.S.):  According to Gallup, “there has been no evident change over the past 15 months in either Americans’ self-reported church attendance or the importance of religion in their daily lives.”  (Although they also conceded that this study had no way of showing whether self-reported religious people had become any more committed.)
  • Finally, lest one think that the constant conflict over using traditions songs with religious language or implications in public school pageants and plays (think “Silent Night” your 1st grader’s Winter Carnival) is a December-only phenomenon, think again. “The lawsuit, filed in federal court last week — a month after students at the Webster School in St. Augustine started practicing “In God We Still Trust” — says the song interferes with the parents’ right to raise children according to their own beliefs,” reports FOX News and the Florida Times-Union.

Check out for more headlines, and I’ll be here next Friday as always!