Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Comes But Never A Year

Frowny-face in England, from the Telegraph: Christmas banned in Oxford

It's not quite so frowny, though. The glimmer of true holiday cheer is the commentary by Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders in the city. As Sabir Hussain Mirza says:
"I am really upset about this. Christians, Muslims and other religions all look forward to Christmas."
And this from Rabbi Eli Bracknell:
"It is important to maintain a traditional British Christmas."
The concern expressed by these various religious leaders is both a refreshing example of interfaith cooperation and an illustration of the transmutation of Christmas into a holiday of "civil religion." Here in America, of course, the holiday season means a return to the discussion about "keeping Christ in Christmas." I'd be interested to see what the reaction of American Christians would be to having the leaders of different faith traditions backing them up!

Perhaps I have a romantic vision of this season. But if you've ever gotten "Christmas" gifts from a Jewish or Hindu neighbor, you'll understand what I'm on about. Happy Holidays!

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Bloggers Unite - World AIDS Day

Today is the 20th Anniversary of World AIDS Day, and Bloggers Unite has put together another massive action to raise awareness. Hence this post.

I collaborate and consult with The 1010 Project, a humanitarian nonprofit in Denver, that works to eradicate poverty in Kenya. One of our focus areas is HIV/AIDS support groups - civil society and community-based organizations that are providing hope and care to those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. I've spoken before of the ways in which poverty holds back the developing world, but infectious diseases have their place, too.

It goes without saying that HIV/AIDS is retarding development. This happens on two levels:

1. When a head of a household is too sick to work, or worse, dies, that family becomes unable to support itself. It's like instant impoverishment.

2. When parents die, their children don't. This has led to what is essentially an "orphan epidemic," especially in sub-Saharan Africa. These orphans don't have options open to them, and they will likely end up in poverty.

Combating diseases like HIV/AIDS has become a global rallying point - something agreeable like climate change or nuclear disarmament. World AIDS Day will hopefully refresh the commitments of governments, organizations, and individuals to do whatever they can to stop the spread of AIDS, and to bring hope to those for whom hope is a dream.

Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.

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