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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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At Idaho wedding chapel, a hollow victory for religious freedom (COMMENTARY)

WASHINGTON (RNS) Same-sex marriage became legal in Idaho on Oct. 15, and within days, two faux clergy wedding profiteers and a gaggle of lawyers from the professional victim class began making headlines. At issue are thorny conflicts between religion and law, civil liberties and civ...
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Idaho city: Chapel owners exempt from discrimination law

(RNS) Husband-and-wife Pentecostal ministers who own a wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, refused to marry same-sex couples after a recent court ruling, and the American Civil Liberties Union says that’s OK — as long as the chapel only operates as a religious establishment. T...
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Secularism grows as more U.S. Christians turn ‘churchless’

(RNS) If you’re dismayed that one in five Americans (20 percent) are “nones” — people who claim no particular religious identity — brace yourself. How does 38 percent sound? That’s what religion researcher David Kinnaman calculates when he adds “the unchurched, the never-churche...
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Puerto Rico gay marriage ruling sets up a potential federal conflict

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) Gay marriage may be sweeping the nation, but in Puerto Rico it remains against the law. A federal district judge late Tuesday (Oct. 2...
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Italian priest, unfazed by death threats, goes after the Mafia

ROME (RNS) Half a dozen men stand nonchalantly in front of a grubby building on one of Rome’s busiest streets as cars whizz past. They stiffen whenever a stranger approaches. But few would guess they’re undercover cops protecting Italy’s most endangered man. Inside is the Rev. L...
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Evangelicals boost clinics to help immigrants navigate legal headaches

WASHINGTON (RNS) An alliance of evangelical organizations has pledged to dramatically increase the number of church-based legal clinics across the country to assist immigrants with the complicated processes of seeking green cards, visas and family unification. The Immigration Alli...
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Southern Baptist seminary clears president after dispute over Muslim student

(RNS) The trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary have affirmed the school’s president, Paige Patterson, after investigating his decision to admit a Muslim student into the school’s Ph.D. program. Patterson, one of the most revered Southern Baptist figures and an arc...
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Rabbi accused of spying on women took students to his mikvah

WASHINGTON (RNS) New allegations against a prominent Washington rabbi involve him bringing students from his class at a Maryland university to his synagogue’s ritual bath, the same place where prosecutors say he spied on naked congregants. Prosecutors charged Rabbi Barry Freundel...
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Ohio municipal worker unlikely pawn in US-North Korea chess game

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) Jeffrey Fowle, released by North Korea on Tuesday (Oct. 21), is an unlikely figure to find himself at the center of diplomatic tensions...
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Now you can eat with Pope Francis ... or at least cook his favorite dishes

VATICAN CITY (RNS) They say you can feast like a king, and now you can eat like a pope after a young chef from the Vatican’s Swiss Guards published a cookbook featuring the favorite recipes of Pope Francis and his predecessors. David Geisser, 24, who joined the elite Vatican secur...
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