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Fred Phelps’ son condemns Westboro’s plan to picket Newtown funerals

(RNS) The estranged son of a pastor famous for protesting the funerals of soldiers and AIDS victims has condemned his family’s plans to picket funerals of shooting victims in Newtown, Conn., but says local leaders should "let them show up'' instead of trying to ban them. By Kimberly Winston. 
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Monks win latest court battle in bid to sell caskets

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) A federal appeals court smacked down the Louisiana funeral board's continued attempts to prevent a group of Catholic monks from selling their hand-crafted caskets. By Richard A. Webster.
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Gospel artist BeBe Winans opens up about Whitney Houston

(RNS) Gospel artist BeBe Winans has written a new book about his 28-year friendship with Whitney Houston. In an interview, he talked about Houston's faith and why he won't rush to see her performance in "Sparkle," the movie that opens Friday (Aug. 17). By Adelle M. Banks.
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As Muslim community grows, Muslim funerals follow suit

ST. LOUIS (RNS) Until recently, many Muslims buried their loved ones in Muslim sections of Christian cemeteries, relying largely on non-Muslims to guide them through the process of death. As the Muslim population has grown, so has the need for Muslim-specific services like funeral homes and cemeteries. By Tim Townsend.
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Priest who denied Communion to lesbian put on leave

(RNS) A Catholic priest who denied Communion to a lesbian at her mother's funeral has been removed from his church assignment and will be investigated for "intimidating behavior toward parish staff," the Archdiocese of Washington said. By Adelle M. Banks.
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