Weekly roundup: Nelson Mandela, presidential selfies, and Santa controversy

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It’s that time of year, when everyone’s looking for Christmas gifts for Aunt Sally and trying to remember who got what last year. So just in case you’ve been too busy shopping this week to keep up with your news, this is your weekly roundup.

A good deal of the news this week came from the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life, who died last week at the age of 95. His memorial service, held on Tuesday morning, was attended by many world leaders, including President Obama and former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter.

While attending the memorial service of the man who made reconciliation his life’s mission, President Obama got in some hot water for shaking hands with Raul Castro. Oh, and he and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt took a selfie.

A little more than a month ago, the Vatican asked for input from laypeople about marriage and family life for the upcoming extraordinary synod. Some bishops brushed it off as no big deal, but the Vatican has recently confirmed again that they want “grass-roots” level feedback.

In Philadelphia, a Catholic school fired teacher Michael Griffin when he went to New Jersey to get a marriage license with his partner. He had been teaching in the school for 12 years, about the same amount of time that he and his partner had been in a relationship. The Human Rights Campaign is taking up his cause.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Gracias, the archbishop of Mumbai said that “Gay people are not criminals,” after the Supreme Court of India made banned homosexual acts punishable by up to a 10-year prison term.

And then there’s the Santa news. Aisha Harris over at Slate wrote about her uneasiness the black Santa at home and the white Santa everywhere else. So she suggested Penguin Claus. That did not go over well with Fox News commentator Megyn Kelly who assured all of the kids at home that Santa is white. And so was Jesus. A number of people have taken Kelly up on her claim, assuring her that Santa is likely an American adaptation of Saint Nicholas of Myra from southeast Turkey who likely had an olive complexion. Jesus on the other hand was, like most first-century Jews, probably a dark-skinned man.

 

And now.

Papal rapid fire roundup:

Time magazine named Pope Francis Person of the Year.

He also won facebook!

And MTV?

He wants the hungry to be fed.

He might have something to learn from President Obama.

 

Image: By Angela Cox