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Faith and freedoms: why evangelicals profess unwavering love for Trump

The faithful have been ardent supporters who turn a blind eye to the presidents moral indiscretions in favor of agenda When Donald Trump took the stage last month at a mega-conference for the Faith and Freedom Coalition, the countrys largest organization of evangelical Christians, he was granted an extraordinary welcome by the groups chairman, Ralph Reed. We have had some great leaders, Reed said, to cheers. There has never been anyone who has defended us and fought for us, who we have loved more than Donald J Trump. We have…

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Roman Catholic church could allow married men to become priests

Vatican summit to discuss plan to address clergy shortage in remote Amazon areas The Roman Catholic church is opening the door to a change in its centuries-old requirement that priests must be celibate in a document suggesting older married men may be ordained in remote areas of the Amazon. A Vatican document has called on the church to consider the far-reaching move as a way to overcome the shortage of clergy in the region. Although the proposals to be considered by the Vatican concern the ordination of married men in…

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Pope Francis declares ‘climate emergency’ and urges action

Addressing energy leaders, pope warns of catastrophic effects of global heating Pope Francis has declared a global climate emergency, warning of the dangers of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of catastrophic effects if we crossed such a threshold. He said a radical energy transition would be needed to stay within that limit, and urged young people and businesses to take a leading role. Future generations stand to inherit a greatly spoiled world. Our children and grandchildren should not have to pay the cost of our generations irresponsibility, he said, in…

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Christian rightwingers warn abortion fight could spark US civil war

Wave of extreme bans seems to have amped up predictions of coming conflict Prominent figures on the Christian right in the US ranging from religious magazines to authors to elected politicians have warned that the fight over abortion rights could lead to a new civil war. Though such dire predictions are not openly speculated that the divide over abortion rights might lead to civil war. Last month, Keller drew explicit comparisons with the antebellum situation over slavery, telling the Guardian: Whether this ever leads to a tragedy, like it did…

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Extreme abortion laws shine light on Trump’s courting of religious right

Evangelical backing for a thrice-married celebrity is not as odd as it seems: on abortion, the supreme court and more, the president has delivered win after win After bowing his head in prayer, King Cyrus, deeply flawed men who nevertheless carried out Gods will. David Barker, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, suggests Christian evangelicals start with an assumption of human depravity that sets expectations low, so Trumps lying and philandering and Twitter rage and can be overlooked. Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute…

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We watched Notre Dame burn. Can we recapture her spirit?

Paris residents looked on in horror as their beloved lady went up in flames. Now a new battle begins: how best to rebuild her for the centuries ahead Most of us will always remember the moment on 15 April when we heard that rebuild Notre Dame has started and promises to be fierce. The embers seem still warm, but my unruly and angry compatriots are already dividing us into the daring and the timid, those who want to add a touch of 21st-century genius to her, and those who just…

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Salvadoran priest Oscar Romero to be declared saint by Pope Francis

The canonisation of the assassinated archbishop will take place on Sunday in Rome Oscar Romero, the Salvadoran priest who championed social justice for the poor and dispossessed, will be proclaimed a saint by Pope Francis in a canonisation ceremony in Rome on Sunday, almost four decades after he was assassinated by a rightwing death squad. The former archbishop of San Salvador, who was closely associated with the Latin American liberation theology movement of the 1960s and 70s, will be canonised along with six others at the ceremony in St Peters…

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US cardinal accused of concealing abuse pulls out of Dublin event

Donald Wuerl was to speak at World Meeting of Families, which pope is attending A US cardinal has pulled out of a keynote speech at the World Meeting of Families, a global event being hosted by the Roman Catholic church in Dublin, after he was criticised for his handling of child sexual abuse in a damning report. Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, concealed abuse and moved known child molesters to new posts when he was bishop of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania from 1988 to 2006, according to the grand jury…

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Recognition at last for Gentleman Jack, Britains first modern lesbian

Anne Lister has been honoured in the church where she wed, and her tales of passionate affairs are now the subject of a TV drama She was a 19th-century pioneer in many fields: business, travel, mountaineering. But 178 years after her death, Anne Lister is best known for her string of female lovers, with their erotic encounters explicitly chronicled in a coded diary stretching to 27 volumes. Last week, the woman often referred to as the first modern lesbian was honoured with a blue plaque at Holy Trinity church in…

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Pope Francis tells gay man: ‘God made you like this’

Juan Carlos Cruz, who was sexually abused, says pontiff told him God did not mind that he was gay A survivor of clerical sexual abuse has said Pope Francis told him that God had made him gay and loved him, in arguably the most strikingly accepting comments about homosexuality to be uttered by the leader of the Roman Catholic church. Juan Carlos Cruz, who spoke privately with the pope two weeks ago about the abuse he suffered at the hands of one of Chiles most notorious paedophiles, said the issue…

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Atheists who bring logic to the Easter story are missing the point | Julian Baggini

Having faith is a complex business. To assume that religious people are either crazy or stupid is lazy, says philosopher Julian Baggini Many years ago, I had to recount the life of Jesus to a young Taiwanese student who knew nothing about Christianity. As I told him about the virgin birth, the miracles, crucifixion and resurrection, he responded with incredulous laughter. Most nonbelievers in traditionally Christian cultures would show a bit more respect. But inside, our reaction is often pretty much the same: how can people really believe this stuff?…

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Odds and Ends 

Youre Santa! Can You Master The Sleigh And Deliver Gifts To All The Good Boys And Girls?

This feature requires JavaScript to function. This is you. You’re Santa Claus. I’m definitely Santa Claus, but unfortunately, I need to explode right away. You’ve been lying unconscious on the frigid tundra of the North Pole since last Christmas. In order to make sure you didn’t starve during your year-long slumber, arctic pelicans have been coming up to you and laying eggs into your mouth 24/7 since last Christmas. Every pelican lays about 200 eggs at a time, and they’ve just been squirting them right down Santa’s sleeping throat all…

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Pope calls for two-state solution in Israel and Palestine

Pope Francis uses traditional Christmas Day message to address damage done by controversial Trump speech two weeks ago The pope has reinforced calls for a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in his traditional Christmas Day message delivered just over two weeks after the US president, Donald Trump, inflamed tensions in the region. Speaking before the faithful in St Peters Square in Rome, Francis said the children of the Middle East continued to suffer because of growing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. This month, Trump…

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The Boy With the Perpetual Nervousness review a tale of betrayal by the church

Graham Caveneys defiant, important memoir details how the Catholic establishment fails abuse victims Pope Francis has taken great strides in challenging all sorts of entrenched attitudes and prejudices in the Vatican that have given the Catholic church such a bad name of late. Progress has been disappointingly slow, however, on the commission he appointed in 2014 to tackle the appalling scandal of clerical sexual abuse. In March of this year bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of 1.99…

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Pope Francis creates fourth pathway to becoming a saint

Candidates for beatification, which was previously limited to those involved in miracles, can now include Christians who lay down their lives to save others Christians who lay down their life to save others, following in the footsteps and teaching of Jesus, will now be eligible for beatification, Pope Francis has said. Beatification is the first step on the path toward

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