WEEK IN RELIGION
After working for more than 30 years to help children sexually abused by Catholic priests, longtime executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), David Clohessy announced he was resigning his post on Jan. 24, just days after a former SNAP employee filed a lawsuit alleging the group colluded with lawyers to refer clients and profit from settlements. Although Clohessy actually resigned his post in December, he said his departure had nothing to do with the lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by Gretchen Rachel Hammond on Jan. 17 in Illinois and names Clohessy and other SNAP leaders as defendants, alleging that the organization “routinely accepted financial kickbacks from attorneys in the form of ‘donations.’” Hammond said that SNAP referred abuse survivors as potential clients to attorneys, who specialized in clergy abuse cases, in exchange for the kickbacks. Although it’s been assumed SNAP received donations from attorneys, Hammond’s suit states that the organization received “direct payments from survivors’ settlements.” Both Clohessy and SNAP President Barbara Blaine said the allegations were untrue. Clohessy, who was himself a victim of sexual abuse by a priest when he was a teenager, said the announcement of his resignation coming after the filing of the lawsuit was an unfortunate coincidence.
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SURVEY SAYS
Americans less likely to claim membership in a church
According to a recent Gallup Poll, more than half of Americans do not claim membership in a church, synagogue or mosque. Compared to 73 percent of Americans who said they were a member of church in 1937 when Gallup first began asking about church membership, 56 percent of Americans now do not associate with a specific church.
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GOOD BOOK?
“The Genius of Judaism” by Bernard-Henri Levy
“The Genius of Judaism” is a breathtaking new vision and understanding of what it means to be a Jew, a vision quite different from the one we’re used to. It is rooted in the Talmudic traditions of argument and conflict, rather than biblical commandments, borne out in struggle and study, not in blind observance. At the very heart of the matter is an obligation to the other, to the dispossessed, and to the forgotten, an obligation that, as Bernard-Henri Levy vividly recounts, he has sought to embody over decades of championing “lost causes,” from Bosnia to Africa’s forgotten wars, from Libya to the Kurdish Peshmerga’s desperate fight against the Islamic State, a battle raging as we speak. Levy offers a fresh, surprising critique of a new and stealthy form of anti-Semitism on the rise as well as a provocative defense of Israel from the left. He reveals the overlooked Jewish roots of Western democratic ideals and confronts the current Islamist threat while intellectually dismantling it. Jews are not a “chosen people,” Levy explains, but a “treasure” whose spirit must continue to inform moral thinking and courage today.
— Random House

THE WORD
ablution: The practice of ritual washing in a religious rite to cleanse a person of sin or disease, to purify, or to signify humility or service to others.
— ReligionStylebook.com

RELIGION AROUND THE WORLD
According to the CIA World Factbook, the religious makeup of Belize is:
— Roman Catholic: 40.1 percent
— Protestant: 31.5 percent
— Jehovah’s Witness: 1.7 percent
— Other: 10.5 percent
— Unknown: 0.6 percent
— None: 15.5 percent
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