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Religious Tolerance

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Pope Francis’ Guide to Lent: What You Should Give Up This Year | TIME. Christopher Hale is executive director at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and the co-founder of Millennial. Christians around the world mark the beginning of Lent with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. This ancient day and season has a surprising modern appeal.

Priests and pastors often tell you that outside of Christmas, more people show up to church on Ash Wednesday than any other day of the year—including Easter. But this mystique isn’t reserved for Christians alone. The customs that surround the season have a quality to them that transcend religion. Perhaps most notable is the act of fasting. MORE Here’s What People On Twitter Say They’re Giving Up For Lent But Pope Francis has asked us to reconsider the heart of this activity this Lenten season. But this isn’t to downplay the role of sacrifice during the Lenten season. So, if we’re going to fast from anything this Lent, Francis suggests that even more than candy or alcohol, we fast from indifference towards others.

Je Suis Charlie et Ahmed: Teaching and Learning About the Charlie Hebdo Attacks. Video Overview | Three days of bloodshed last week shook France, a nation struggling with Islamic extremists, and sent shock waves through Europe and beyond. On Jan. 7, a terrorist attack by masked gunmen on the newspaper Charlie Hebdo left 12 people dead. On Jan. 9, the French police killed three terrorists in raids at a printing plant and a kosher supermarket that left the gunmen and four Jewish hostages dead. In all, at least 17 French citizens were killed by terrorists in the chaos. Two days later, on Jan. 11, more than a million people joined over 40 world leaders in the streets of Paris in the most striking show of solidarity in the West against the threat of Islamic extremism since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. These attacks raise difficult questions about free speech, diversity and extremism in a civil society.

Our friends at Facing History and Ourselves have helped to frame what ideas might be included in such a classroom conversation: Introductory Background Activity Photo Reading.