The Christmas message
The president's Christmas message reads like a statement of faith. After speaking of "a greater good" in a time of "great evil," he lays the story on the line: "According to the Gospel of Luke, two thousand years ago, the savior of mankind came into the world. Christians believe that Jesus' birth was the incarnation of God on earth, opening the door to new hope and eternal life. At Christmastime, Christians celebrate God's love revealed to the world through Christ. And the message of Jesus is one that all Americans can embrace this holiday season—to love one another."

Someone ought to tell Andrew Furlong that this is at the core of what Christians believe. The Church of Ireland dean used his Christmas message to attack everything that Christmas is about. "I believe God is a God of infinite love and that human beings are of sacred and ultimate worth," he said. "But I don't believe Jesus is his son or that he is divine or savior." Speaking more specifically of the Christmas story, Furlong said, "I believe in a God of love who cradles the world in all its trouble but not in a God who came as the babe of Bethlehem to be cradled in a stall." In a shocking display of a European church actually taking action against such comments, the Church of Ireland withdrew his authority as a priest withdrawn for three months "to facilitate a period of quiet during which the Dean may reflect on his statements." If he still wants to preach that Jesus was just "a self-effacing man who pointed people to God," he may lose his authority altogether.

Salvation Army loses Moscow appeal, but refuses to give up The Salvation Army's legal battles for survival in Moscow—a story even odder than the church's recent battles ...

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