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8-year-old student not feminine enough, school says

Eds: A version of this story originally appeared in USA Today. It is available for use by RNS subscribers. Please use the USA Today byline. (RNS) The family of a little girl in western Virginia has removed her from her school after administrators said she did not appear feminine enough.     Sunnie Kahle, 8, likes autographed baseballs and hunting knives alon...
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Franklin Graham’s Facebook prayers target Supreme Court justices on gay marriage

(RNS) Evangelist Franklin Graham has taken to Facebook to plead for prayers on behalf of each U.S. Supreme Court justices as they prepare to rule on gay marriage. Recognizing same-sex marriage as a constitutional right “would be a wicked, wicked thing,” said Graham, son of the ico...
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Q&A with Charles Manson’s prison chaplain

(RNS) After a judge sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for his role in the Boston Marathon bombings, religious leaders in that city found themselves on both sides of the issue. Lawmakers in Nebraska are considering a bill to ban the death penalty there, which would make it the fir...
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Ireland’s gay marriage referendum a sign of Roman Catholic decline

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) “In Ireland,” says a character in a 1904 George Bernard Shaw play, “the people is the Church, and the Church is the people.” But not so much anymore. On Friday (May 22), voters in this once deeply Roman Catholic country will decide whether the country’s...
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One year after Meriam Ibrahim’s release, two Christians face possible death penalty in Sudan

(RNS) Last year, a death penalty sentence slapped on a Sudanese doctor for refusing to renounce her Christian faith stirred international outrage and heightened calls on the government to increase religious liberty. Meriam Yahya Ibrahim was released a month later, but now two Chri...
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John M. Templeton Jr., philanthropist devoted to science and religion, dies at 75

WASHINGTON (RNS) John M. Templeton Jr., a pediatric surgeon who left medicine behind to carry on his father’s passion for pursuing “new spiritual information” through the sciences as president and chairman of the Templeton Foundation, has died. He was 75. Known as “Jack,” the youn...
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5 ways churches inflicted pain on themselves (COMMENTARY)

(RNS) Let’s be clear: The much-heralded “decline of Christianity in America” isn’t about God losing faith in humankind. It isn’t about losing our moral compass thanks to whatever you happen to loathe. It isn’t about fickle millennials. It isn’t about zigging trendy or zagging trad...
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In Thomas Merton, conference panelists see a model for racial justice and healing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (RNS) If the influential Catholic writer Thomas Merton were alive today, he would likely have strong words about police brutality and racial profiling. Back in 1963, Merton called the civil rights movement “the most providential hour, the kairos not merely of the N...
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The new normal: Lessons from Massachusetts on gay marriage — and divorce

BOSTON — Same-­sex marriage is so last decade in Massachusetts. These days, the earliest pioneers in gay and lesbian matrimony are demonstrating how to raise kids, retire — even divorce. As the Supreme Court wrestles with what Chief Justice John Roberts last month labeled a redefi...
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The ‘Splainer: Who are the Rohingyas and why are they fleeing Myanmar?

The ‘Splainer (as in, “You’ve got some ‘splaining to do”) is an occasional feature in which RNS gives you everything you need to know about current events to help you hold your own at a cocktail party. (RNS) Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims live in squalor in Myanmar’s we...
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Mormon vice: Utah buys more candy than any other state

SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) While many Utahns have the willpower to avoid alcohol, coffee and tobacco, they just can’t stay away from the candy. The state buys confections — candy, mints, gum — at the highest rate in the nation, according to sales data from The Hershey Co. Residents of...
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