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A church allegedly asked older members to leave. Leaders say that didn’t actually happen.
Jan 22, 2020

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By Sarah Pulliam Bailey When a small church in the suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul shuts it doors in June, some of the members, who are almost all older than 60, are worried about where their funerals will be held. When it reopens perhaps a year later, the traditional hymns could be missing and a new …


A rare chemical that helped DNA form may have come to Earth on comets from newborn stars, astronomers find
Jan 21, 2020

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By Morgan McFall-Johnsen Phosphorus, an element that’s key in forming DNA and fueling life on Earth, may have first arrived on the planet via comets from newborn stars. Since the element is extremely rare in the universe, its presence on Earth has been a long-standing mystery. But scientists at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) now …


The Age of Nones May Favor Churches that Welcome Doubters
Jan 21, 2020

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By Ryan Burge The media have paid a lot of attention to the rise of the religiously unaffiliated in recent years, and for good reason. In 1990, just 1 in 20 adult Americans were not connected to a religious faith. Today, it’s closer to 1 in 4. The ripples of such a shift are still …


Religious wars: With the Christian right on the offensive, activists are fighting back
Jan 21, 2020

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By Paul Rosenberg Last Thursday, Jan. 16, was Religious Freedom Day. As befits his mendacious nature, Donald Trump “honored” it by promoting two policies profoundly at odds with the original meaning of what religious freedom is all about: a license to discriminate with federal funds, both in employment and in provision of services, and new pressure on public schools to …


Study finds shock rise in levels of potent greenhouse gas
Jan 21, 2020

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By Matthew Taylor Efforts to reduce levels of one potent greenhouse gas appear to be failing, according to a study. Scientists had expected to find a dramatic reduction in levels of the hydrofluorocarbon HFC-23 in the atmosphere after India and China, two of the main sources, reported in 2017 that they had almost completely eliminated …


Satanic Temple Attorney Discusses Cancelled Scottsdale Prayer Invite
Jan 21, 2020

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By Joseph Laycock This week, on the 22nd and 23rd of January, The Satanic Temple (TST) and the city of Scottsdale will meet in court to determine whether TST’s lawsuit over a retracted prayer invitation will proceed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The lawsuit began in 2016 when Scottsdale—which recently voted to spend another $130,000 to fight …


Religious-schools case heads to a Supreme Court skeptical of stark lines between church and state
Jan 21, 2020

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By Robert Barnes It is a blessed time at Stillwater Christian School, where Scripture adorns the gymnasium wall, enrollment is climbing and Head of School Jeremy Marsh awaits the four new classrooms that will be built in the spring. It is a place that embraces the beliefs that sinners avoid eternal condemnation only through Jesus Christ, that …


“Empty the Pews” Shares Stories of Christians Who Left the Fundamentalist Fold
Jan 21, 2020

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By Beth Stoneburner The white evangelical version of Christianity that takes up a good deal of air space and national publicity has done so much damage over the past few decades — especially the past few years — that more and more “ex-vangelicals” are speaking up and sharing their stories of exodus. Some shifted to …


Catastrophic Australian bushfires derail research
Jan 20, 2020

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By Dyani Lewis Smoke hung thick in the air and shrubland was still smouldering when firefighters escorted a small team of biologists into Kosciusko National Park in southern New South Wales on 15 January. The expedition, granted a rare exemption from the park’s strict no-go policy during this record-breaking fire season, was to prevent one …


Trump Unveils More Anti-LGBTQ ‘License to Discriminate’ Plans
Jan 20, 2020

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By Trudy Ring Donald Trump’s administration has made yet another move to enable discrimination, including anti-LGBTQ discrimination, in the name of “religious freedom.” On Thursday, National Religious Freedom Day, Trump announced his administration is issuing nine proposed rules that govern how faith-based nonprofits with government contracts interact with their clients, reversing regulations put in place …


Famed Buddhist nun Pema Chodron retires, cites handling of sexual misconduct allegations against her group’s leader
Jan 20, 2020

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By Michelle Boorstein Sexual misconduct allegations against its leader continued to roil the Shambhala Buddhist community this week, with famed nun and best-selling author Pema Chodron stepping down as a Shambhala teacher, saying adherents are “yearning for accountability.” The 83-year-old American nun, who wrote “When Things Fall Apart” in 1996 and appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s …


Pope Reminds Bishops To Keep Opposing Bodily Autonomy for Women and Trans People
Jan 20, 2020

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By Val Wilde Earlier in the week, Pope Francis approached the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities to encourage them with a reminder that, even though he has spoken publicly about issues like poverty and refugees’ rights, he still agrees that abortion is and should be “a preeminent priority” for the Church. The Committee’s chair, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, passed …