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Ethics

Charities fight changes on tax deductions

WASHINGTON (RNS) Most Americans who file income tax returns won't be affected by proposed changes in how charitable contributions are deducted, but that hasn't stopped charitable groups from lobbying Congress to fight any change in deductions as part of the "fiscal cliff'' negotiations. By Jackie Kucinich / USA Today.
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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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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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What would Oscar Romero say today about El Salvador? (COMMENTARY)

(RNS) Two years ago I was in El Salvador and asked a fellow Jesuit priest if he thought that Archbishop Oscar Romero — famously slain while celebrating Mass in 1980 — would ever be beatified. The Salvadoran Jesuit’s answer: only when all of the people who loved Romero and all of the...
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Bright spots and tough challenges for evangelicals in Pew survey (COMMENTARY)

(RNS) The survey of America’s religious landscape released by the Pew Research Center last week engendered controversy, with headlines and articles latching onto one aspect of the data (usually the number of self-identifying Christians dropping to 70 percent) and then speeding away...
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‘Peeping Tom’ rabbi sentenced to more than 6 years

WASHINGTON (RNS) A D.C. Superior Court judge on Friday (May 15) sentenced a prominent Orthodox rabbi to nearly 6 1/2 years in prison for secretly videotaping dozens of naked women in a mikvah, or Jewish ritual bath. Rabbi Barry Freundel pleaded guilty in February to 52 counts of v...
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Breaking silence, US nuns say Vatican probe cleared up confusion, reinforced their mission

(RNS) The controversial Vatican probe of American nuns that abruptly ended last month looked from the outside like a tense standoff between Rome and the U.S. sisters, punctuated by occasional public jousts that appeared to signal even tougher negotiations behind closed doors. Not...
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Italians help flood of refugees in Pope Francis’ vision of ‘a church for the poor’

CATANIA, Italy (RNS) Sitting outside the central train station here in eastern Sicily, a 16-year-old who would only give his name as “Simon” hunched his knees up to his chest and wrapped himself up into a ball. With little spoken English, the teenager from Eritrea has taken to mimin...
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Interfaith activists call solitary confinement immoral, ineffective

WASHINGTON (RNS) They’re small spaces — sometimes 7 feet wide, 12 feet long. And they’re where some inmates are held, sometimes for days, sometimes for decades. Religious leaders across the country are speaking out against solitary confinement cells that they say should never be u...
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