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Iraqi security forces pass by Iraqi and the Vatican flags, and posters announcing the upcoming visit of Pope Francis, in a street in Qaraqosh, Iraq, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (AP/Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Vatican defends pope’s Iraq visit as ‘act of love’

By Claire Giangravé — March 2, 2021

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Despite safety concerns due to recent terrorist attacks and COVID-19, Francis’ historic visit will proceed with hopes of promoting peaceful coexistence in the struggling Middle Eastern nation.

Photo by i yunmai/Unsplash/Creative Commons

After sermon criticizing wives’ weight, pastor resigns as moderator of General Baptist meeting

By Adelle M. Banks — March 2, 2021

(RNS) — ‘Why is it so many times that women after they get married let themselves go?’ a General Baptist minister asked in February.

Recent vandalism at Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles. Photos via Facebook/Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple

More than $60,000 raised for vandalized Los Angeles Buddhist temple

By Alejandra Molina — March 2, 2021

LOS ANGELES (RNS) — As of early March 2, more than $60,500 was raised for Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple through a GoFundMe page set up by the volunteer group Nikkei Progressives.

The name and logo of the new

Conservative United Methodists announce new name, logo, website for planned denomination

By Emily McFarlan Miller — March 1, 2021

(RNS) — The planned denomination said it will split from the existing United Methodist Church no matter what the General Conference decides in 2022.

This file photo taken June 15, 2015, shows the Resolution Copper Mining area Shaft #9, right, and Shaft #10, left, that await the expansion go ahead in Superior, Ariz. The U.S. Forest Service released an environmental review Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, that paves the way for the creation of one of the largest copper mines in the United States, against the wishes of a group of Apaches who have been trying for years to stop the project. The mountainous land near Superior is known as Oak Flat or Chi’chil Biłdagoteel. It's where Apaches have harvested medicinal plants, held coming-of-age ceremonies and gathered acorns for generations. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

US Forest Service temporarily halts transfer of Native American sacred site Oak Flat

By Emily McFarlan Miller — March 1, 2021

(RNS) — The move at least temporarily halts the transfer of Chi’chil Biłdagoteel, known widely as Oak Flat, to Australian mining company Resolution Copper.

Brooks Brunson, left, passes a bottle of formula to his husband, Gregg Pitts, as they prepare their son, Thomas Brunson-Pitts, 6 months old, for bed at their home in Washington on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. Originally from Texas and Ohio, they were married in the District of Columbia in November 2013. Brunson and Pitts always knew they wanted to have a family together and were delighted when they were able to start the adoption process for their son shortly after beginning to look for a match in 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Bethany Christian Services to allow LGBTQ couples to adopt, foster children

By Yonat Shimron — March 1, 2021

(RNS) — The change lowers the temperature on a hot culture-war topic pitting faith-based adoption and foster care agencies and civil liberties groups against one another.

Photo by Daniel Schludi/Unsplash/Creative Commons

New Orleans archdiocese urges Catholics to avoid new Johnson & Johnson vaccine

By Jack Jenkins — March 1, 2021

(RNS) — The archdiocese said the vaccine is ‘morally compromised’ because it utilized cells with a decades-old link to an aborted fetus.

In this June 28, 2017, file photo, Pope Francis, left, and Pope Benedict XVI meet each other on the occasion of the elevation of five new cardinals at the Vatican. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP, File)

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI shuts down ‘fanatics,’ saying Francis is the only pope

By Claire Giangravé — March 1, 2021

(RNS) — Dismissing conspiratorial rumors about his resignation, Benedict admitted that while ‘it was a difficult decision,’ he still believes it to have been the right thing.

Former Judge Paul Pressler, who played a leading role in wresting control of the Southern Baptist Convention from moderates in 1979, poses for a photo in his home in Houston on May 30, 2004. (AP Photo /Michael Stravato)

Appeals court rules in favor of Pressler accuser, says abuse lawsuit can go forward

By Bob Smietana — March 1, 2021

(RNS) — A former aide to retired judge Paul Pressler has alleged that the Southern Baptist leader had abused him for decades.

A Christian priest Places a poster of the Pope Francis and a Vatican flag during preparations for the Pope's visit in Mar Youssif Church in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. (AP/Photo/Hadi Mizban)

‘Not a good idea:’ Experts concerned about pope trip to Iraq

By Nicole Winfield, Samya Kullab — February 28, 2021

(RNS) — The public health message a papal trip to Iraq sends amid a global pandemic is not advisable, health experts say.

FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2012 file photo, Pakistani Taliban patrol in their stronghold of Shawal in Pakistani tribal region of South Waziristan. Militant attacks are on the rise in Pakistan amid a growing religiosity that has brought greater intolerance, prompting one expert to voice concern the country could be overwhelmed by religious extremism. (AP Photo/Ishtiaq Mahsud, File)

Pakistan expert: Religiosity aiding spike in militancy

By Kathy Gannon — February 27, 2021

(RNS) — Politicians hoped to use religious belief to bring the country closer together. But experts say it’s creating intolerance and opening up space for a creeping resurgence in militancy.

Photo by Daniel James/Unsplash/Creative Commons

What’s in store for the Equality Act, and why do some religions want a revision?

By Yonat Shimron — February 26, 2021

(RNS) — The Equality Act likely won’t pass in the US Senate, as is. But if the Senate were to include religious exemptions, it might.

Stephen Colbert, left, interviews the Rev. James Martin, Feb. 3, 2021, on “A Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on CBS. Video screengrab via CBS

On late-night TV and bestseller lists, new books on prayer resonating with readers

By Emily McFarlan Miller — February 26, 2021

(RNS) — After a tumultuous year, several new books about prayer from popular Christian authors seem to be speaking to the moment.

Celebrate Recovery co-founder John Baker speaks at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, on Aug. 13, 2013. Photo by Robert Hawkins, courtesy of Saddleback Church

Rick Warren pays tribute to Celebrate Recovery co-founder John Baker

By Bob Smietana — February 26, 2021

(RNS) — The megachurch pastor said his longtime friend had impacted the lives of millions of people.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish children, several dressed in gravedigger costumes, celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim in Bnei Brak, Israel, Friday, Feb 26, 2021. The Jewish holiday of Purim commemorates the Jews' salvation from genocide in ancient Persia, as recounted in the Book of Esther. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Photos of the Week: Purim in Israel, Magh Mela in India

By Kit Doyle — February 26, 2021

(RNS) — This week’s photo gallery includes costumed Purim celebrations in Israel, large Magh Mela gatherings in India and more

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