A Reporter's Notebook: the Israelis wishing a generous Ramadan to Palestinians

“I think we have arrived at the days of the Messiah,” Jewish community spokesman Naom Arnon said at an iftar dinner that marks the end of the day’s Ramadan fast, hosted by the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a joint Israeli-Palestinian group to promote business ties and economic cooperation in the West Bank.

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Viral tweets highlight the question: should women be pastors?

(COMMENTARY) Echoing papal pronouncements, a position paper and then a columnist of the Southern Baptist Convention’s seminary said that Jesus Christ appointed only male apostles. Evangelical author Beth Moore was one among many voices to push back on Twitter.

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5 inspiring commencement speeches that focused on faith

There can’t be talk of the future without God and faith. Depending on the speaker (or the college/university), God can often be the focal point of a commencement address. This spring has been highlighted by a few notable speeches, including Vice President Mike Pence’s at Liberty University and Peggy Noonan at Notre Dame.

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Jerusalem teen wins International Bible Quiz

The annual quiz was held last week in Jerusalem in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other prominent Israeli leaders. The outgoing education minister Naftali Bennett spoke about the current challenges Israel is facing in losing its people to the Diaspora.

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Nationalism and Catholicism collide in run-up to the European elections

(NEWS ANALYSIS) Matteo Salvini, who leads the League party, could take his anti-immigration stances to Brussels if opinion polls prove correct. His hardline stance on the issue has put him at odds with the Catholic church in Italy as well as with Pope Francis, who has repeatedly spoken in favor of refugees seeking asylum in Western Europe.

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Mainstream press continues to ignore French church vandalism incidents

(COMMENTARY) A month after the Notre Dame blaze, there continues to be little to no coverage when it comes to the rash of suspicious fires and vandalism that plagued French churches in the weeks before the Paris incident, which was quickly deemed unintentional by Parisian authorities.

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'Lords of Chaos' film tells origins of Norwegian black metal

(NEWS ANALYSIS) The genre became infamous in the early 90s for suicide, arson, murder and more. Were those metal heads and their successors devil worshippers? Or just creative, dark rock musicians?

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In India, a controversial candidate is testing religious divisions

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a Hindu in Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party accused of aiding a terrorist attack against Muslims, is contesting for a seat in parliament in a region crucial to the BJP’s victory.

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'Tolkien' biopic shows author's inspirations for Lord of the Rings

The film premiered at New Jersey’s Montclair Film Festival this week, with Catholic late night host Stephen Colbert sitting down with the Finnish director Dome Karukoski.

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Pope Francis' decree on sex abuse reporting ignores role of lay Catholics

(COMMENTARY) The attempt by Pope Francis to finally create some accountability and transparency is well intentioned, although misguided given that it largely ignores the role of laypeople and relies primarily on clergy self-policing.

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Journalists often fail to see the 'outrage' in anti-Catholic comedy

(COMMENTARY) At a time when humor is struggling with political correctness and fallout from the #MeToo movement, there’s little material for late-night hosts and stand-up comedians to work with. However, the people you’re allowed to pick on (at least from the material you see on TV) are Christians across all denominations.

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‘Why I’m Not a Terrorist’: Victim of Extreme Hate in Sri Lanka

“I had all the reasons and justifications to join a terrorist group because of what has happened to me,” said Raghu Balachandran, a Christian who witnessed the murder of his father and brother in Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war between Tamil Hindus and Sinhalese Buddhists.

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The Eurovision Song Contest is rocking Israel

(NEWS ANALYSIS) Palestinian jihadi militants in the Gaza Strip fired more than 700 rockets and mortars over the weekend, right as tens of thousands of musicians and fans are arriving to Tel Aviv for the 64th annual Eurovision festival. The move doesn’t make sense militarily, but likely aims instead to damage Israeli tourism.

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'Death is a part of life' Christian author Rachel Held Evans wrote before passing

Evans, known for her progressive take on the faith, was only 37 when an infection quickly turned fatal. Her last blog post, about Lent and before she announced any illness, was a reminder that we will all return to dust.

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New evidence suggests Biblical King Balak existed

Scholars have deciphered lines of text on a partly broken and illegible tablet that most closely resemble the king’s name rather than the phrase “House of David,” adding historical credibility to the Book of Numbers.

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