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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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Special liturgy atones for outbreak of ‘The Great War’

(RNS) Half a world away from Europe, where World War I erupted 100 years ago next week (July 28), Washington National Cathedral will mark the occasion with a liturgy created especially for the anniversary. But the service is about more than remembrance. It is about atonement — ato...
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COMMENTARY: How Wendy’s can do the right thing for tomato pickers in Florida

(RNS) Standing outside the Park Avenue offices of Trian Partners recently, home to Wendy’s Chairman Nelson Peltz, a group of rabbinical students chanted, “It’s a shanda (Yiddish for “disgrace”), it’s a shame, Wendy’s is the one to blame!” They had gathered outside the management f...
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A ban on new church construction angers Sudanese Christians

(RNS) Christians in Sudan frequently face arrests, impromptu questioning and expulsion. But this month, conditions worsened after the government announced a ban on the construction of new churches. Shalil Abdullah, the Sudanese minister for guidance and religious endowments, made...
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New book tells story of forgotten black Mormons

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) Green Flake was in the vanguard company of Mormon pioneers in 1847, driving a wago...
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Why is Pope Francis spending so much time going after the Mafia?

VATICAN CITY (RNS) It began with the murder of an innocent 3-year-old boy who burned to death in his grandfather’s car in a Mafia ambush in January. Pope Francis was so shaken by the death of Nicola “Coco” Campolongo that he spoke out against the ferocity of the crime and those behi...
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Pope Francis appeals for peace with Shimon Peres, Mahmoud Abbas

VATICAN CITY (RNS) As Israel continued its ground offensive into the Gaza Strip, Pope Francis urged Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to end the spiraling conflict. The pontiff telephoned the two leaders on Friday (July 18) to express “his very...
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Sufi Muslims push designer Roberto Cavalli to pull an offensive logo

(RNS) A group devoted to the mystical Sufi tradition of Islam is taking to the streets and social media as it fights for the removal of the faith’s religious symbol on designer Roberto Cavalli’s “Just Cavalli” clothing and fragrance line. Cavalli is an Italian fashion designer kno...
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Faith communities are dumping their fossil fuel investments

(RNS) Worried about global warming, a growing number of churches and other faith groups are divesting their holdings in fossil fuel companies, which release large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. “The warning in Scripture that ‘the wages of...
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Moving churches to discuss the morality of climate change

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. (RNS) Rabbi Moti Rieber travels the politically red state of Kansas armed with the book of Genesis, a psalm and even the words of Jesus to le...
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Church of England kicks out the devil (in baptism rite)

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) While Christians waited to learn whether the Church of England would approve the consecration of women bishops, the church’s governing body — the General Synod — quietly voted to drop all future references to the devil in a new baptism service. The simpli...
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