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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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Pope Francis and America’s shifting views toward Catholics (COMMENTARY)

(RNS) Did you catch the shoutout to Pope Francis during President Obama’s State of the Union address? It’s only the third time in history that’s happened. Francis’ name will resurface in Congress later this year if and when he accepts an invitation to address lawmakers — that woul...
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Pope Francis says he wants all annulments to be free

(RNS) Pope Francis on Friday (Jan. 23) warned the Vatican’s top marriage judges that they should not “lock the salvation of persons within the straits of legalism” and indicated he wants the church to no longer charge for the sometimes onerous and expensive annulment process. “Thi...
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Jimmy Carter, Russell Moore and Harry Jackson: Bridging the racial divide

(RNS) As protests against police brutality and the killing of unarmed black men continue from coast to coast, religious leaders are spearheading church-based gatherings to find ways to bridge America’s racial divide. On the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Baptists from dif...
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How Franklin Graham transformed a debate about Duke Chapel into a culture war (COMMENTARY)

(RNS) Franklin Graham’s Facebook fulminations last week about plans to issue the Muslim call to prayer from the bell tower of Duke Chapel transformed what could have been a nuanced campus debate about religious establishment, sacred space, and pluralism into a countrywide fracas tha...
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Calling Ten Commandments ‘sayings’ draws ire of Baptists

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. GREENVILLE, S.C. (RNS) A Baptist minister is in hot water after preaching a sermon that called the Ten Commandments sayings or promises rathe...
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Marcus Borg, leading liberal theologian and historical Jesus expert, dies at 72

(RNS) Marcus J. Borg, a prominent liberal theologian and Bible scholar who for a generation helped popularize the intense debates about the historical Jesus and the veracity and meaning of the New Testament, died on Wednesday (Jan. 21). He was 72 and had been suffering from pulmonar...
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Baptist college president Ergun Caner resigns, citing son’s suicide

(RNS) Controversial college president Ergun Caner has resigned, citing health problems after his son’s suicide. Caner’s son Braxton, 15, committed suicide in July. “Brewton-Parker College cannot become a healthy, growing and stable college under the leadership of a man who is br...
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Presbyterians scrap ad campaign deemed offensive to minorities

(RNS) The Presbyterian Church (USA) is scrapping an ad campaign for the needy after it was blasted for being culturally and socially insensitive. The One Great Hour of Sharing campaign originally included an image of an Asian girl with the words “Needs help with her drinking probl...
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‘Pope’s rabbi’ urges calm after Jewish prosecutor dies in Argentina

WASHINGTON (RNS) Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Argentina’s most famous Jewish citizen and a close friend of Pope Francis, was on the road this week when news from Buenos Aires shocked his nation and made headlines around the world. Given Argentina’s large Jewish community — 250,000 people...
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Catholic leaders to House abortion foes: Immigration reform is also ‘pro-life’

(RNS) More than 100 Roman Catholic leaders are using this week’s annual march against legal abortion to press anti-abortion House members to pass immigration reform, saying they should see it as another “pro-life” issue. “As brothers and sisters in faith, we urge these elected off...
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