By Arielle Hawkins, CNN
Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.
From the Blog:
CNN: Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion
The Christmas season is revealing a growing rift among American atheists when it comes to the question of how to deal with religion. Some atheist activists are trying to seize the holidays as a time to build bridges with faith groups, while other active unbelievers increasingly see Christmas as a central front in the war on religious faith. With the dramatic growth of the nonreligious in the last few decades, more atheist leaders are emerging as spokespeople for atheism, but the Christmas rift speaks to growing disagreement over how atheists should treat religion.
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Reuters: Canada’s Supreme Court rejects blanket rule on wearing niqabs in court
Canadian judges should decide on a case-by-case basis whether women can wear the niqab, a full-face veil, while testifying in court, but a blanket rule on the issue would be “untenable,” Canada’s top court said on Thursday. The decision, supported by four of the seven judges who heard the case at the Supreme Court of Canada, said lower courts must consider, among other things, the harm that could come if Muslim women who wear the niqab feel discouraged from reporting offenses.
The Guardian: Gujarat's divisive leader scores resounding victory at state elections
Narendra Modi of the Hindu nationalist BJP now eyes the national stage, but his role in 2001 sectarian violence against Muslims could count against him.
The Guardian: The Bible is surprise bestseller in Norway
The hottest read in Norway this year is packed with polygamy, prostitutes – even corporal punishment. But this isn't Fifty Shades of Grey; instead, Norwegians have been rushing to pick up copies of the Bible. Published last October, a new Norwegian translation of the Bible has been one of the top 15 bestsellers in the country for 54 out of the last 56 weeks, jostling for position with more populist titles from the likes of EL James, James Nesbø, Ken Follett and Per Petterson.
Huffington Post: End Of The World 2012: Live Updates On The Mayan Apocalypse
As Dec. 21, 2012 fast approaches, doomsday-believers around the globe are bracing for what they believe will be the end of the world. A Chinese inventor built "survival pods" to help him through the mayhem. A contractor developed underground bunkers to safeguard their Italian owners. And fare finder website Skyscanner reports its customers are showing an increasing interest in one-way tickets to "Apocalypse safe havens."
The Telegraph: Christian parents group to sue school over yoga classes
The Encinitas Union School District plans to offer yoga instruction at all of its nine schools from January, despite a protest by parents who say they believe it will indoctrinate their children in Eastern religion. The growing popularity of yoga is forcing U.S. public schools to address the question of whether it is a religious practice or simply exercise.
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Tourists are seen in front of the 'Gran Jaguar' Mayan temple at the Tikal archaeological site, 560 kms north of Guatemala City. Ceremonies will be held here to celebrate the end of the Mayan cycle known as Bak'tun 13 and the start of the new Maya Era on December 21, 2012.
CNN: Some believe Friday is doomsday on the Mayan calendar; the Mayans don't
There may be no one left on earth to say TGIF this week. Some believe the world is coming to an end Friday - on 12/21/12 - which is when an important phase on the ancient calendar of the Mayan people terminates. Mayans don't buy it. At least the ones living in the city of Merida, Mexico don't. Neither does the Mayan village of Yaxuna. They know the calendar their ancestors left them is about to absolve a key phase, which means the end of an era and the heralding of a new one, but they don't think we're all gonna die.