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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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5 ways churches can help stop the Ebola hysteria (COMMENTARY)

(RNS) Once the first person in America died from Ebola, the usual bigots and ideologues blamed it on President Obama, whom they loathe. Some suggested Obama deliberately allowed the virus into the U.S. for nefarious purposes. “He wants us to be just like everybody else, and if Afr...
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7 lessons from the Vatican’s wild and crazy Synod on the Family

(RNS) Pope Francis and senior Catholic leaders wrapped up their two-week Vatican summit on the challenges of modern family life on Sunday (Oct. 19) without reaching a consensus on a number of hot-button topics. So where does that leave Francis’ papacy? And the church? Here are sev...
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Mikvahs seek security after hidden camera scandal

WASHINGTON (RNS) In the days since a prominent Orthodox rabbi was charged with spying on naked women in his synagogue’s mikvah, Jews who oversee the ritual baths across the country are rushing to reassure that the same scandal could not happen under their watch. Sharon Weiss-Green...
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Idaho ministers sue to prevent gay weddings at for-profit wedding chapel

(RNS) The owners of an Idaho wedding chapel have filed suit against officials in Coeur d’Alene, claiming that the city is unconstitutionally forcing them to violate their religious beliefs by performing same-sex marriages or face possible fines and jail time. The state’s 2004 ban...
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Hillsong’s Brian Houston defends handling of abuse case, sidesteps questions on gay marriage

NEW YORK (RNS) The founder of Hillsong, one of the most influential religious brands across the globe, on Thursday (Oct. 16) denied allegations that he had tried to cover up his father’s sexual abuse, saying the victim asked him not to go to the police. Fifteen years ago, Brian Ho...
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As Brazilians drift away from Catholicism, Virgin Mary procession as popular as ever

BELEM, Brazil (RNS) More than 2 million worshippers, pilgrims and onlookers poured around an 11-inch wooden figure of the Virgin Mary as it made its way through the streets. A crush of the faithful heaved and hauled away at a rope that stretched over a thousand feet from the cart th...
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Sparring continues as Catholic bishops prepare synod’s final report

VATICAN CITY (RNS) As Catholic bishops attending the global Synod on the Family were drawing up their final report on Friday (Oct. 17), prominent cardinals continued to spar over the direction the church should take on key issues. Conservatives accused the synod of bias when a mid...
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Orphans abandoned, shunned in Africa’s Ebola crisis

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. MONROVIA, Liberia (RNS)  Ever since Frank Mulbah’s mother died of Ebola in August, no one will go near him. “I went to my relatives after m...
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Ebola prompts hands-off Mass in Fort Worth, Texas

(RNS) The Blood of Christ will not be offered during Mass. The Host will be placed in the hands, not on the tongue. And the faithful should not hold hands while reciting the “Our Father.” These are but a few of the guidelines the Diocese of Fort Worth — not far from the Dallas hos...
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A pagan holiday? NJ school district cancels, reinstates Halloween celebrations

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (RNS) A New Jersey elementary school canceled and reinstated its Halloween celebration this week in a debate that reflects societal ambivalence about the holiday’s religious origins. On Monday (Oct. 13), parents of students at the Seth Boyden Elementary School in M...
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