Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly listings - December 6

Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET. Visit for additional information.   Show #1714 will be fed over PBS at 5:00 p.m. EST on December 6 (check local listings). Program Note: Due to pledge please check local listings.

  • Christmas Gift Giving - The tradition of giving Christmas presents is often tied to the magi, or wise men, who according to the Bible story, brought precious gifts to the baby Jesus.  But many Christians say things have gotten out of hand.  The average American family is projected to spend about $750 on Christmas this year.  Kim Lawton looks at the ways some churches are urging their members to avoid consumerism and practice more meaningful Christmas gift giving. (Previously aired December 14, 2012)
  • Whirling Dervishes - Like other major religions, Islam has a mystical branch, Sufism, which teaches many ways to experience spiritual union with the divine.  One of those paths - dating from the 13th century - is dance, specifically the dancing of whirling dervishes, who were followers of the poet Rumi.  Manjula Kumar, a program manager at the Smithsonian Institution, describes the origins and meaning of whirling dervish dancing. (Previously aired June 7, 2013)
  • Pundits and the Pope - Two prominent Washington columnists, E.J. Dionne and Michael Gerson, assess Pope Francis’s call for the Catholic Church not only to make caring for the poor a higher priority but to work for a more just economic system.