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Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

Episode #217

News: With the President's Impeachment and the bombing of Iraq behind us, the world turns to spiritually minded celebrations. Christmas will be celebrated in Cuba for the second time in recent history. For the first time in decades, Cubans were allowed to celebrate Christmas last year for the Pope's visit. Fidel Castro declared Christmas an official national holiday this year; however, many religious leaders in Cuba now fear the commercialization of the holiday. In the Middle East, Ramadan celebrations continue in peace. And in Spain, Jews celebrated Hanukkah for the first time in more than five centuries. The celebration was the latest example of recently established religious tolerance in Spain. Perspectives: RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY hosts a panel of distinguished journalists to discuss the major news events of 1998. Lynn Neary of National Public Radio, Jeff Sheler of US News and World Report, and David Anderson of Religion News Service take a look back at the events and people that defined the year gone by. Cover: We take a look at what the RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY staff considers to be the top ten news events of the past year. We will revisit our discussions of the fallout of the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, the historic strides made during Pope John Paul II's 20th anniversary year, the debate over assisted suicide, and many other landmark events from 1998. Feature: A discussion with Stanley Hauerwas-a radical, controversial professor of theological ethics at the Duke University Divinity School. According to Hauerwas, Christian ethics is not so much a collection of principles and rules but is the result of being radically faithful to the teachings of Jesus. The disciples accept as absolute truth the New Testament view of reality and history, with an apocalyptic end to come. Hauerwas is best known for his emphasis on non-violence. We will also talk with him about the irony that at no time of year is the contrast between the dedicated Christian remnant and the world more apparent than during the hectic shopping days just before Christmas. Calendar: NO SEGMENT, JUST INFO. Christmas Eve-celebrated by Christians, a special feast on the night before Christmas in which the major Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament are read. It celebrates in a particular way Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Christmas-The Christian feast of Jesus' birth, celebrated on December 25th. Its observance is first attested in Rome in 336. Probably the date was chosen to oppose the feast of the "birthday of the unconquered sun" on the winter solstice. The date of January 6 for the nativity generally gave way to December 25th by the 5th century, although at Jerusalem the older custom was kept until 549 and the Armenian Church still observes it. Christmas absorbed the festive atmosphere of the Roman Saturnalia and the other pagan festivals it replaced, and has continued to accumulate " traditions," particularly in the 19th century. Kwanzaa-Kwanzaa is an African American & Pan African Holiday that celebrates family, community and culture and that is based on seven fundamental values. Those seven principles are Umojo-Unity, Kugichagalia-Self Determination, Ujima-Collective work and responsibility, Unjama-Cooperative Economics, Nia-Purpose, Kuumba-Creativity and Imani-Faith. Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday. [26 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

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Series Description: This series provides in-depth coverage of the top religion and ethics stories of the week as well as religious and ethical perspectives on domestic and foreign events and the arts. Hosted by veteran journalist Bob Abernethy, the series brings viewers breaking news through live and taped reports filed by a team of correspondents in the field and interviews with prominent newsmakers.

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