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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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COMMENTARY: CIA torture report ought to disturb all our consciences

(RNS) At Easter, Christians celebrate Jesus' rising from the dead. But in light of new revelations of the CIA's abhorrent acts of torture, it's the United States that needs resurrection, too.     Details of the CIA's post-Sept. 11 torture campaign _ made worse, if that is possible,...
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After `Bishop Bling’ scandal, Vatican silent on Atlanta archbishop’s $2.2 million mansion

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Days after Pope Francis summoned a controversial German bishop for talks on his luxurious lifestyle, the Vatican is facing an embarrassing new scandal about the lavish spending of Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory.     Gregory on Monday (March 31) apologized for...
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African church leaders resist gay rights, call it a colonial import

NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) A call for greater acceptance of gays and lesbians has put African and Western churches on a collision course, as some African clerics liken mounting criticism from the U.S. and Europe to a new wave of colonization by the West.     Consider some of the statemen...
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Update: Bob Jones University rehires firm hired to investigate sex abuse

(RNS) After firing an independent watchdog group to investigate allegations of sexual abuse on campus, Bob Jones University has rehired the same group, one month before the findings from a 13-month review were scheduled to be released.     The university had contracted with Lynchbu...
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Megachurch pastor Steven Furtick’s ‘spontaneous baptisms’ not so spontaneous

(RNS) A Southern Bapitst megachurch pastor in North Carolina, already under fire for buying a $1.6 million house, is in the spotlight again for ``spontaneous baptisms'' that turn out to be not nearly so spontaneous.     Steven Furtick, 34, routinely draws about 14,000 worshippers t...
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Update: Family fight over MLK Bible inches toward resolution

(RNS) A Georgia judge on Wednesday (Feb. 19) ordered the Rev. Martin Luther King's daughter to turn over her father's Bible and Nobel Peace Prize medal for safekeeping until a final decision about their ownership can be made.     Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney s...
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Pennsylvania parents sentenced in second faith-healing death

(RNS) A Pentecostal couple who believes in faith healing has been sentenced to 3 1/2 to seven years in prison for neglecting to take their sick son to the doctor.     Herbert and Catherine Schaible were already on a 10-year probation for the 2009 death of their 2-year-old son, Kent...
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Pentecostal groups agree to bridge a century-old racial divide

(RNS) When he was a boy, the Rev. Thomas Barclay noticed a difference between the worshippers of his small Pentecostal denomination and churches he visited of the larger Assemblies of God.     ``Why are they all white and we're all black?'' he asked his father.     After a racial...
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Newark archbishop’s retirement home includes $500K addition

NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) The 4,500-square-foot home sits on 8.2 wooded acres in the hills of Hunterdon County, N.J. With five bedrooms, three full bathrooms, a three-car garage and a big outdoor pool, it's valued at nearly $800,000, records show.     But it's not quite roomy enough for N...
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Fired Tenn. pharmacist sues Walgreens alleging religious bias

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) A Tennessee pharmacist and a Baptist church deacon who lost his job after an ongoing dispute over selling Plan B contraception has sued his former bosses, claiming he was fired because of his religious beliefs.     Lawyers for Philip M. Hall of Jamestown, Ten...
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