Church of England launches attack on "cult of Father Christmas"
After a study came out showing that only 8 percent of British children associate Christmas with religion or Jesus, Church of England leaders went into high gear. The result is the newly launched St. Nicholas Society. "We want St. Nicholas to replace Father Christmas as the face of Christmas," Jim Rosenthal, director of communication for the Worldwide Anglican Communion and founder of the society, told The Telegraph. "For centuries, St. Nicholas, who wore bishop's robes and carried a [crozier], was at the center of the celebration. He was the very reason why people gave gifts. We now feel it is time for Father Christmas to get out of his elf's costume and back into his religious robes." The society is emphasizing that it's not criticizing giftgiving and other commercial aspects of Christmasラit just wants people (especially kids) to know the Christian history of such traditions. George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, has sent his blessing: "I applaud the notion of restoring the historical identity of the great gift-giver who was the bishop St Nicholas. He and his legend epitomize Christian sacrifice, generosity and compassion." (See more coverage of the campaign in South Africa's Independent newspaper.)

"You go to church at the thrift store?" "Few people realize that the Salvation Army is an evangelical Protestant denomination of more than a million members in 107 countries, with its own creed, ordained clergy, seminaries and spiritual mission: 'To preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination,'" reports The Washington Post. An interesting statistic: of the 472,000 Americans who identify themselves as Salvationists, ...

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