Meet the "God Squad" - the brains behind "Faith, Food, Friday." They're running with the contrarian notion that maybe we should be talking about the challenging issues that surround faith in America after all? With faith (or lack thereof) used too often as a political tool, the public square could probably stand a change of pace. Whoever you are, whatever your beliefs, bring an open mind, an open heart (and an appetite) for what we hope will be a continuing conversation that defies the biases we seem to have against each other. Every program will include a changing cast of characters to spark the discussion, from leaders in the faith community to scientists, to secularists, to - who knows - maybe you. We hope you'll join us as we explore what happens when we cross each others' thresholds and break a little bread together.
Trends in the "War on Christmas" according to MerryChristmas.com according to their annual survey (which includes things like trends in Christmas activities if you want to take a look):
"Once again, more than 84 percent of survey respondents do not feel there is a War on Christmas in America. A full 88 percent of more than 4578 surveyed [in seven major metropolitan areas across the country] feel that the annual headlines surrounding the debates over Christmas are overblown media events driven by political agendas.
On the topic of retailers who refuse to say or use the term "Merry Christmas" or to substitute the word "holiday" for "Christmas", 69 percent of respondents just don't care.
Of those who hear the term "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas", 98 percent are not offended or bothered.
99 percent of respondents prefer that a Christmas tree be called a Christmas instead of a "holiday tree", though only 5%.
On the issues of Christmas on public properties or in public institutions such as schools and court houses there is a clear divide. 56 percent of Americans polled do not think Christmas should be exclusively displayed during holiday periods like Christmas where other holidays, such as Ramadan and Channukah, are also celebrated. 67 percent feel Christmas should be allowed in schools inclusive of music of a religious nature such as Silent Night and O Little Town of Bethlehem. But 77 percent also feel that similarly religious music should be allowed of other faiths celebrating holidays as well.
Speaking of Christmas in the schools, a new question this year casts doubts on the ability of educators to accurately or adequately teach the history of Christmas. 62 percent of respondents say public schools are incapable of teaching the subject.
-- Trends in Christmas Religious Activity
America is going back to Church for Christmas 2011. 61 percent indicate that religion is a "very large part" of their Christmas celebration, up from 57 percent a year ago.
Attendance at a church service is expected for 74 percent of survey takers, up dramatically from just 52 percent last year. Christmas falling on a Sunday traditionally skews this result, as it does this year."