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Yearly Archives: 2017

Fireworks, prayers as revelers around the world ring in 2018

By Cathy Lynn Grossman — December 31, 2017
(AP) — Pope Francis took a stroll to greet crowds, Buddhists lit lanterns in South Korea, prayers and fireworks abounded as the world welcomed 2018.

Pakistan man exonerated after serving 9 years for blasphemy

By Cathy Lynn Grossman — December 31, 2017
(AP) Blasphemy laws are a life-or-death issue in Pakistan's conservative society, with harsh prison sentences or execution for lawbreakers.

RNS Best of 2017: Eugene Peterson backtracks on same-sex marriage

By Jonathan Merritt — December 31, 2017
(RNS) — After condemnation from conservatives, 'The Message' author says he regrets telling RNS columnist Jonathan Merritt that he would officiate a same-sex wedding.

In strife-torn Myanmar, love trumps hate for a Muslim-Buddhist couple

By Cathy Lynn Grossman — December 30, 2017
(AP)When a Buddhist widow married a Rohingya Muslim, her parents disowned her. The couple lives in fear in the shadow of violence.

Photos of the Week

By Shane Epping — December 30, 2017
(RNS) — This week's picks for our weekly gallery of religion photos from around the world.

Sexuality, race, and gender: 3 explosive insights about America’s 100 largest churches

By Jonathan Merritt — December 29, 2017
Last October, evangelicalism was rocked by the launch of, an organization that reports churches’ LGBTQ+ policies and rates congregations based on their level of clarity. The website angered Christians on both sides of the issue. Some conservatives attacked the CC’s liberal leadership, while some progressives claimed that labeling churches undermined progress. Nevertheless, Church Clarity persisted. […]

Near-death experiences are real!

By Religion News LLC — December 29, 2017
The explanation for near-death experiences was buried in history. So religion and science ignored it. But psychotherapy serendipitously uncovered its reality about a quarter-century ago. Since then it has been a fact of life, is widely publicized, and has accumulated substantial documentation around the world. This fact of life is also the cause of near-death experiences. It is our souls, which God has given each of us for at least the past one hundred thousand years. He still creates each soul with special capabilities, as is reflected in their being called “sparks of God.”

2017: In a less religious America, conservative Christians got the president’s ear, a museum and a day in court

By Jerome Socolovsky — December 29, 2017
(RNS) — President Trump’s born-again-like embrace of evangelical politics was the biggest religion story of the year, but a shooting at a Texas church, a wedding cake that a Christian baker refused to make and the status of Jerusalem also grabbed headlines.

Gunman opens fire on Cairo church; shootout kills at least 9

By Cathy Lynn Grossman — December 29, 2017
(AP) Egypt's Christian minority has been targeted by Islamic militants in a series of attacks since December 2016 that left more than 100 dead and scores wounded.

Don’t posthumous Mormon baptisms = religious freedom?

By Mark Silk — December 29, 2017
Yes, but Jews would like to be an exception to the rule.

N.J. town rescinds parks ban alleged to target Orthodox Jews

By Cathy Lynn Grossman — December 29, 2017
(AP) The New Jersey town council was pressured by the state to drop its ban on New Yorkers visiting its public park. The council had also tried — and failed — to ban boundary markers Jews use to observe Sabbath rules.

RNS Best of 2017: Women bloggers spawn an evangelical ‘crisis of authority’

By Emily McFarlan Miller — December 28, 2017
(RNS) Christian women online have found new platforms to teach, preach and connect. "God isn't trademarked," says Sarah Bessey.

Judge denies Twin Cities archdiocese bankruptcy plans

By Cathy Lynn Grossman — December 28, 2017
(AP) The Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul and survivors of abuse by priests, seeking millions in claims, have been ordered negotiate.

Islamic State claims attack on Shiite center, 41 dead

By Cathy Lynn Grossman — December 28, 2017
(AP) Afghan president Ashraf Ghani called the attack a "crime against humanity."

China silences even mildest critics of policies on Uighur Muslims

By Cathy Lynn Grossman — December 27, 2017
(AP) A Han Chinese salesman is imprisoned for social media posts criticizing policies toward Uighurs. Now, his wife and son fled to the U.S. this month, seeking asylum.
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