Christmas is offensive, and always will be, says Jonathan Bartley. It legitimates the undermining of those in authority. But it is also about looking after not just those who are “deserving” of love, but those who appear disreputable and unworthy.
Pope Benedict XVI has declared in one of his key Christmas messages that believers facing persecution, torture and death in some parts of the world and those who die forgiving their killers are a sign of hope and faith for humanity.
Christian faith is about sustaining faith in face of the knowledge and reality of death, says Simon Barrow. The feasts of All Saints and All Souls put us in solidarity with a host of people who have struggled to see right prevail.
Despite India remaining the world's most populous and vibrant democracy, freedom of religion is in decline and plural secularism threatened, says a journalist-turned-Christian activist who is now secretary general of the All India Christian Council.
Vietnam's national Religious Affairs Committee has announced that it will present a 'Certificate for Religious Activities' to the Vietnam Mennonite Church in early October 2007, following concerted attempts by the church to gain recognition.