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How adoption has forced evangelicals to grapple with race relations

(RNS) Before she and her husband adopted a son and daughter from Ethiopia, popular evangelical blogger Jen Hatmaker said she had a different view about race in America. “A couple years ago, I would’ve said we’re moving to a post-racial society because I was so under-exposed to peo...
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Before pronouncing Fido in heaven, let’s consider human creatures (COMMENTARY)

(RNS) People of all ages delighted last week when media all over the world reported that Pope Francis told a distraught boy whose dog died, “Paradise is open to all God’s creatures.” When the story proved to be false, it hardly deterred animal lovers from nurturing the hope that t...
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How Pakistan’s unregulated madrassa system sows division and religious strife

ISLAMABAD (RNS) The gruesome killing of 134 children in a Peshawar school has renewed concerns about Pakistan’s unfinished agenda of uprooting militancy and intolerance. On Sunday (Dec. 21) authorities arrested several suspected facilitators, but the identities of the seven Taliba...
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Pope Francis to Curia: Merry Christmas, you power-hungry hypocrites

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis launched a blistering attack on the Vatican bureaucracy on Monday (Dec. 22), outlining a “catalog of illnesses” that plague the church’s central administration, including “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and gossipy cliques. The pope’s traditional Christmas...
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The doctor is in: Pope Francis’ list of 15 diseases that ail the church

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis held nothing back on Monday (Dec. 22) in addressing the ills of the Roman Catholic Church in a blistering critique of what ails the Curia, the church’s central bureaucracy. From the “terrorism of gossip” to “spiritual Alzheimer’s,” Francis has a few g...
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Forget Santa Claus, Virginia. Was there a Jesus Christ?

(RNS) As another Christmas approaches and the usual holiday laments are unpacked like so many old ornaments — too much commercialism and too little faith, too much food and too little time — there has always been one reassuring constant: The reason for the season is the birth of Jes...
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My top 10 religion stories of 2014 (COMMENTARY)

(RNS) It was a topsy-turvy year in 2014, and here are my picks for the top 10 religion stories of the year: 1. Islamic extremist groups, especially the Islamic State and Boko Haram, dominated the year’s news with atrocities that included beheadings, crucifixions, mass killings and...
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Franciscan order on verge of bankruptcy after financial fraud is uncovered

VATICAN CITY (RNS) One of the largest Franciscan religious orders, founded on the humble teachings of St. Francis of Assisi more than 800 years ago, announced it is on the brink of bankruptcy after admitting some of its monks embezzled funds from its accounts. The Italian news mag...
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Believers pray to ‘Our Lady of the Milk’ in this ancient Bethlehem spot where Mary nursed

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (RNS) Dozens of photos of smiling babies accompanied by moving testimonials line the walls of Franciscan Brother Lawrence Bode’s office in the Milk Grotto Church where, tradition holds, the Virgin Mary hid in an underground cave in order to breast-feed Jesus as...
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Executions drop to lowest level in two decades

WASHINGTON (RNS) Driven in part by continuing legal disputes related to lethal injection drugs and state moratoriums on the death penalty, the 35 people executed in the U.S. this year marks the fewest in two decades, according to a year-end report by the Death Penalty Information Ce...
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