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COMMENTARY: Lent isn’t just a second chance at New Year’s resolutions

(RNS) So here we go again. It's that time of year _ Lent, when many Christians give something up. Often it's food, although my mom told me when I was a kid that giving up vegetables doesn't count.     A few years ago, as we approached Lent, a few of my friends (who during the rest of the year rejected religion), announced they, too, were giving something up. W...
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Churches to serve as safe spaces after Ferguson grand jury announcement

Eds: A version of this story originally appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in St. Louis. It is available for use by RNS subscribers. Please use the St. Louis Post-Dispatch byline. ST. LOUIS (RNS)  After a prayer service outside her church turned violent last month, the Rev. T...
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Pope Francis tackles autism as families seek hope, support

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Michele and Vinny Arbogast of New York were devastated when their son Kyle was diagnosed with autism as he struggled to speak as a toddler nearly a decade ago. “Autism turns your world upside down,” Michele Arbogast said. “It affects every member of the family.”...
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Are Jews better off outside Israel? Alan Wolfe reconsiders the Diaspora

(RNS) Jews exclaim “Next Year in Jerusalem!” at the conclusion of the Passover seder, an acknowledgment that Israel is their spiritual home. But since the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem in 586 B.C., most Jews have lived outside of Israel. Today, Diaspora Jews, as they are called, a...
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Kenyan city of Mombasa tense after mosque closures

NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) Christian and Muslim leaders fear more violence in the coastal city of Mombasa after the government indefinitely closed four mosques over suspected terror activities. On Friday (Nov. 21), religious and political leaders united to urge the government to reopen...
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If you leave Mormonism, you have to leave BYU. Now some alumni want to change that.

Eds: A version of this story originally appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune in Salt Lake City. It is available for use by RNS subscribers. Please use the Salt Lake Tribune byline. SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) If you lose or change your Mormon faith at Brigham Young University, you get expel...
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Pastors opposed to same-sex marriage vow not to participate in any civil ceremonies

(RNS) What’s the surest way conservative pastors can avoid any government mandate to perform same-sex marriages? According to one prominent religious journal and a growing number of ministers, the answer is not to perform any civil marriages at all. First Things, a conservative re...
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10 Commandments for atheists: a guide for nonbelievers who want to explore their values

STANFORD, Calif. (RNS) An atheist, a humanist and an agnostic walk into a restaurant. The hostess says, “Table for one?” An old joke, yes, but its essence lies at the heart of “Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart: Rewriting the Ten Commandments for the Twenty-First Century,” a new book...
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Cardinal O’Malley repeats: Church needs to discipline bishops over sex abuse

(RNS) Following up on remarks to “60 Minutes” about the clergy sex abuse crisis and other controversial topics, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley has stressed that the Catholic Church needs a system to hold bishops accountable and must “avoid crowd-based condemnations.” “We are all aw...
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Pope Francis: ‘We have paid too little heed to those who are hungry’

ROME (RNS) Market speculation and pursuit of profits are hindering the global fight against hunger and poverty, Pope Francis said Thursday (Nov. 20). In an address at a U.N. conference in Rome on nutrition, the pope urged the world’s wealthiest nations to do more to help those in...
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The ‘Splainer: blood libel and the synagogue massacre

The ‘Splainer (as in “You’ve got some ‘splaining to do”) is an occasional feature in which Kimberly Winston and other RNS staff give you everything you need to know about current events to hold your own at a cocktail party. (RNS) Hours after two Palestinians, armed with guns and h...
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