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America’s Christian conservatives ponder a ‘Babylonian exile’ (ANALYSIS)

(RNS) From the moment they set foot on North American soil, the Puritans who came to the continent viewed their “errand into the wilderness” through a biblical lens, seeing themselves as modern-day Israelites building a New Jerusalem in the New World. But today, the culture war de...
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Islamic militias continue spread beyond the Middle East into African nations

NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) An Islamist group has gained ground in the northeastern Libyan city of Benghazi, declaring it an Islamic territory and raising fears that radical Islamist militias may spread in the rest of Africa. The declaration from Libya’s Ansar al-Sharia movement mirrors...
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Pope Francis ends South Korea trip with overture to China

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis ended his first official visit to Asia on Monday (Aug. 18) with a fresh overture to China and a call for reconciliation between South Korea and its communist neighbor, North Korea. As the pope flew across Chinese airspace on his return flight to Rom...
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At church rally, community pours out support for Michael Brown’s family

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. FERGUSON, Mo. (RNS)  Civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton told a packed church on Sunday (Au...
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US nuns to honor feminist theologian while keeping politics at bay

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) The nation’s largest leadership group for Catholic nuns will bestow its top award Friday (Aug. 15) on a theologian who has been condemned by the U.S. Catholic bishops for her book examining the nature of God. In addition, a top Vatican official warned the Le...
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The Bibles are back: Navy lodges scuttle removal plan

(RNS) The Gideon Bibles are going back in the Navy’s nightstand drawers. In June, the U.S. Navy ordered housekeepers at thousands of Navy-owned guest lodges near U.S. and international bases to remove the Bibles and any other “religious materials” from their rooms. Scriptures woul...
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Across America, silent vigils in Michael Brown’s memory

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) In cities large and small, people across America came together to silently remember Michael Brown, a teen none knew in life but whose d...
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As online anti-Semitism grows, so do efforts to counter it

BERLIN (RNS) It’s been 17 years since Suzette Bronkhorst co-founded the Dutch Complaints Bureau for Discrimination on the Internet, but she said she doesn’t remember the level of anti-Semitic speech on social media platforms ever being this high. “There are thousands of incidents...
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No longer behind the curve: Black churches address mental illness

(RNS) The death of beloved comedian Robin Williams has heightened awareness of suicide and its relationship to mental health problems. But many African-American churches quietly began educating members on the issue well before the Oscar winner’s death. “A lot of times in the past,...
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Civil rights groups to feds: Purge your anti-Muslim training materials

(RNS) Civil rights and religious groups say efforts to rid federal agencies of anti-Muslim bias have faltered and prejudice against Muslims persists, particularly in the training of anti-terrorism officers. On Thursday (Aug. 14), 75 groups — including the Council on American-Islam...
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