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With Presbyterians in the yes column, mainline Protestants solidify gay marriage support

By Lauren Markoe — March 18, 2015
(RNS) With the largest Presbyterian denomination’s official endorsement Tuesday (March 17), American mainline Protestants have solidified their support for gay marriage, leaving the largest mainline denomination — the United Methodist Church — outside the same-sex marriage fold. Methodists, with more than 7 million members, rejected same-sex marriage at their last national conference, in 2012. They […]

The ‘Splainer: Who was St. Patrick, and would he drink green beer?

By Kimberly Winston — March 12, 2015
For Catholics, Episcopalians and some Lutherans, March 17 is the Feast Day of St. Patrick. For the rest of us, it’s St. Patrick’s Day — a midweek excuse to party until we’re green in the face. But who was Patrick? Did he really drive the snakes out of Ireland or use the shamrock to explain […]

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate loses right to ban Christmas trees in Israeli hotels

By Michele Chabin — March 9, 2015
JERUSALEM (RNS) Israel's Chief Rabbinate has backed down on its long-standing prohibition against placing Christmas trees in the country's hotels, as well as other rules related to the Jewish Sabbath and holidays.     The Chief Rabbinate's new regulations, announced on  Thursday (March 5), came in response to a petition from Hiddush _ Freedom of Religion […]

On Purim, are Jews obligated to give money to panhandlers? (COMMENTARY)

By Ron Ribiat — March 3, 2015
(RNS) While teaching an adult class regarding our obligation to preserve the “kavod” or dignity of panhandlers, a predictable question arose: When I give money to someone on the street, how do I know they won’t use it for drugs or alcohol? Other questions followed: * How many people do I need to give to? […]

Southern Baptists urge Obama to defend ‘the least of these’ against ISIS

By Adelle M. Banks — March 2, 2015
WASHINGTON (RNS) Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd and former leaders of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination on Monday (March 2) called on President Obama to defend “the least of these” against the Islamic State, the militant Islamist group that’s also known as ISIS or ISIL. “Since ISIS is a continuing threat to world peace […]

The ‘Splainer: Islam’s Sunni/Shiite divide

By Kimberly Winston — February 18, 2015
The ‘Splainer (as in, “You’ve got some ‘splaining to do”) is an occasional feature in which RNS gives you everything you need to know about current events to help you hold your own at a cocktail party. (RNS) Sunni and Shiite Muslims, two main sects of Islam, have been in conflict for more than a […]

Love thy neighbor? Residents near center for troubled priests worry about property values

By Lilly Fowler — January 13, 2015
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. DITTMER, Mo. (RNS) A quiet street and a quaint three-bedroom home drew Mike Stenzhorn and his family to Dittmer 15 years ago. He and […]

Contemporary gospel music pioneer Andrae Crouch dead at 72

By Adelle M. Banks — January 9, 2015
(RNS) Andrae Crouch, a Grammy-winning gospel composer and singer whose music remains a staple in many church hymnals, died Thursday (Jan. 8). He was 72 and had been sick for many years. Among his most well-known compositions is “My Tribute,” whose chorus begins “To God be the glory.” Others include “Take Me Back,” “Soon and […]

The `Splainer: Hanukkah, the minor Jewish holiday that’s a major deal

By Lauren Markoe — December 16, 2014
Eds: The 'Splainer (as in “You've got some 'splaining to do'') is an occasional online feature in which RNS staff give you everything you need to know about current events to hold your own at a cocktail party.         (RNS) You may know the basic props of Hanukkah: a menorah, a dreidel and chocolate […]

COMMENTARY: People of faith have legitimate questions about use of lethal drones

By Ron Ribiat — December 16, 2014
(RNS) Since June 18, 2004, the first day U.S. drones killed people in what has been called the U.S. “global war on terror,'' people of faith have questioned whether the use of lethal drones is justifiable.     Since then, the CIA has conducted an estimated 400 or more drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. […]

Why Jews skipped Hanukkah and wrote the most beloved Christmas songs

By Lauren Markoe — December 11, 2014
(RNS) Christians don’t seem to mind that so many beloved Christmas songs were written by Jews, and Jews tend to reel off the list with pride. White Christmas. Let It Snow. Santa Baby. I’ll Be Home for Christmas. Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. Silver Bells. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Those not mentioned here could […]

Atheists in the Public Square

By Mark Silk — November 30, 2012

My friend and colleague Charles Haynes would like the atheists who have been insisting on erecting anti-religious winter solstice displays to declare victory and go away. They've established their right to be there. I don't think that's going to work.

5 Advent Devotionals

By Jana Riess — November 30, 2012

I know it's old hat to say "keep Christ in Christmas," yada yada, but I find that this time of year I need a daily reminder that the month of December is about more than just decking the halls. Here are five daily devotional suggestions I like for the holiday season.

Palestine Vote at the United Nations–and why the United States is on the “Wrong Side of a Worldwide Revolution of Values” (MLK)

By Omid Safi — November 30, 2012

In looking at the final tally of votes for Palestine at the UN (138 for, 9 against, and 41 abstaining), I realize that on this issue, the United States (and Canada) are on the wrong side of a worldwide revolution of values, as Dr. King taught us.

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