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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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The Southern Baptists’ challenge on race (ANALYSIS)

(RNS) In the wake of tragic shootings of unarmed black men at the hands of vigilantes and white police officers, many institutions across American society, from the president on down, have sought to foster “national conversations” about race. Perhaps surprisingly, an agency of the...
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Atheist group faces questions over how donations were raised — and spent

(RNS) A national atheism advocacy organization that has enjoyed support from prominent nontheists, including Richard Dawkins, is now mired in a financial scandal. We Are Atheism, co-founded four years ago by then-University of Kansas student Amanda Brown and her husband, Adam Brow...
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Pope Francis takes a dim view of the death penalty, but not all Catholics are convinced

(RNS) Pope Francis last week (March 20) issued his most forceful call yet to abolish the death penalty, one that seemed to go even beyond current church teaching. Francis’ latest moves could signal a further development in Catholic teaching against capital punishment — and in his re...
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At PETA’s shelter, most animals are put down. PETA calls them mercy killings.

NORFOLK, Va. (RNS) Prudence the bunny nibbles on organic greens, listens to classical music and hops about on soft blankets in a sweet-smelling space larger than many college dorm rooms. She shares her “guest room” with no other animal, though staff at the headquarters of People f...
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Rutgers Muslim students fearful for future in wake of NYPD surveillance

(RNS) There are Rutgers students and graduates whose futures are in jeopardy because they were placed under surveillance by the NYPD _ operating outside of its jurisdiction _ for no other reason than they practice Islam.     This troubling reality is at the heart of the lawsuit Ha...
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`Selma sowed, but it did not reap’; anniversary puts spotlight on deep poverty

SELMA, Ala.(RNS) With the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday this weekend, America was reminded how this small city helped bring sweeping change to the nation.     But while Selma might have transformed America, in many ways time has stood still in this community of 20,000 that was...
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The road from Selma was paved with the blood of four unsung martyrs

(RNS) They were just four of the thousands of Americans who came to Selma 50 years ago, heeding the call of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for people of conscience to join in protesting the plight of African-Americans in Alabama at the height of the civil rights movement.     The...
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Rising anti-Semitism challenges Sweden’s proud and tolerant self-image

(RNS) When a militant extremist stormed into a kosher supermarket in Paris shortly after cartoonists were massacred at the Charlie Hebdo publication, Swedish media described it as a hostage situation at a food store.     There was no mention of an anti-Semitic motive.     Now, th...
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`Bloody Sunday’ altered history of a horrified nation

(RNS) The images of that day in 1965 were quickly seared into the American consciousness: helmeted Alabama state troopers and mounted sheriff's possemen beating peaceful civil rights marchers in Selma, Ala., as clouds of tear gas wafted around the Edmund Pettus Bridge.     On Marc...
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Therapists who say gays can be cured are committing consumer fraud, NJ judge says

TRENTON, N.J. (RNS) People who provide gay-to-straight conversion therapy are committing fraud if they describe homosexuality as a mental disorder that can be cured, said a state judge in a ruling civil rights group predicted would deal a serious blow to the treatment’s future acros...
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