GateHouse News Service's weekly Religion News with tips on Hanukkah at the White House, a neurosurgeon's near-death experience and the religious makeup of Malaysia.

Week in Religion


With the lighting of the National Menorah, the White House's celebration of Hanukkah was held Dec. 9.


The ceremony has been held since 1979, according to CNN.com. The menorah stands adjacent to the White House Christmas tree and is 30 feet tall.


Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of the American Friends of Lubavitch, has presided over the ceremony for more than 20 years. He says one of the main ideas of Hanukkah is visibility, and that the event broadcast is watched by thousands of people.


Survey Says


According to a November Gallup poll, 47 percent of Americans who oppose same-sex marriage cite religious beliefs or Biblical interpretation as their main reason for doing so.


Good Book?


"Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife" by Eben Alexander, 208 pages


“Proof of Heaven is more than just an awe-inspiring account of a profound encounter with spiritual reality. Dr. Alexander’s neuroscience career taught him that near-death experiences are brain-based illusions, and yet his personal experience left him dumbstruck. His honest struggle to make sense of this unforgettable journey is a gripping story, unique in the literature of spiritual experiences, that may well change how we understand our role in the universe.” — Bruce Greyson, MD, co-editor of "The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation" on Amazon.com


Quote of the Week


"I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit." - Khalil Gibran


The Word


Wudu: Prounounced "woo-DOO". A Muslim ritual in which the hands, face, mouth and feet are cleaned with water, symbolic of spiritual cleansing. It is usually performed before a Muslim goes to prayer five times each day. - http://religionstylebook.com


Religion Around the World


The religious makeup of Malaysia, according to the CIA World Factbook:


60.4 percent: Muslim


19.2 percent: Buddhist


9.1 percent: Christian


6.3 percent: Hindu


2.6 percent: Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions


1.5 percent: Other or unknown


0.8 percent: None


GateHouse News Service