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TORONTO (RNS) Canada’s highest court has ruled that children in Quebec schools cannot opt out of a course on ethics and world religions. The Supreme Court on Feb. 17 unanimously rejected an appeal from Catholic parents who sought to keep their children out of the course because they felt that exposing them to a variety […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum, leading the GOP field in national polls, is defending his views questioning prenatal testing and President Obama’s “theology.” The unapologetic advocacy by Santorum seemed sure to please social conservatives in the Republican Party but also fuel questions about whether he could appeal to independent voters in a general […] Read More

(RNS) In recent days, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum has criticized President Obama for having a “phony theology” not based on the Bible, and prominent evangelist Franklin Graham has said he does not know if Obama is a Christian. “You have to ask him. I cannot answer that question for anybody,” Graham said Tuesday (Feb. […] Read More

LONDON (RNS) A British High Court justice has triggered dismay and anger across England and Wales with a recent decision that declares prayers at town hall meetings are against the law. Justice Duncan Ouseley ruled Friday (Feb. 10) that local government councils were violating a 40-year-old law if they conducted prayers “as part of a […] Read More

BERKELEY, Calif. (RNS) When Rebecca Hensler’s infant son died in 2009, she received numerous condolences from friends, colleagues and even total strangers she met online. She knew their intentions were good, but their words weren’t always helpful. And in the rawness of her grief, Hensler found some of them downright hurtful. Hensler is an atheist, […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) One the eve of his elevation to cardinal, New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan said he would like to change the caricature of his city as a modern-day Gomorrah. “New York seems to have an innate interest and respect for religion and I’m going to bring that up because I don’t like that […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) For the fourth year in a row, President Obama is proposing lower tax deductions for the wealthy on donations to churches and other nonprofit organizations. And for the fourth year in a row, nonprofit groups say the change would lead to a dramatic drop in charitable giving. The reduction, included in Obama’s 2013 […] Read More

VATICAN CITY (RNS) It isn’t anywhere on the official agenda, but as Roman Catholic leaders meet in Rome this weekend, looming in the background will be a recent string of Vatican leaks that reveal a bitter power struggle among the hierarchy. In recent weeks, several confidential memos and documents by senior Vatican officials have appeared […] Read More

FAIRHOPE, Ala. (RNS) For the Rev. Jerry Henry, pastor of First Baptist Church of Fairhope, being Southern Baptist is a defining aspect of life. He embraces the denomination’s conservative social values, extols its evangelism — “We reach out to people instead of waiting for them to come to us” — and identifies with its name. […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) Exhibit A in the fight over President Obama’s mandate for religious institutions to provide insurance coverage for contraception: a ham sandwich. At a hearing Thursday (Feb. 16) convened by House Republicans to cast opposition to the mandate as a matter of religious liberty, Roman Catholic Bishop William E. Lori invoked the image of […] Read More