Kimberly Winston, Religion News Service

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New Film on Mark Twain Highlights His Religious Doubts

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“I have a religion — but you will call it blasphemy,” he wrote in a letter in 1865. “It is that there is a God for the rich man but none for the poor … Perhaps your religion will sustain you, will feed you — I place no dependence in mine. Our religions are alike, though, in one respect — neither can make a man happy when he is out of luck.”

Sermon on the Strip: ‘Where Is God?’

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“We always know we need God,” he said, walking back and forth by an elevated slender podium, a microphone headset catching his every word. “But if there ever was a week when we really know we need God, this has been that week.”

Seven days ago — though most people here said it felt much longer — Stephen Paddock shot hundreds of people from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel before shooting himself. Fifty-eight people were killed — most of them tourists — and almost 500 were wounded.

‘The Cake Case:’ Freedom of Religion or Freedom to Discriminate?

Image via RNS/Joel Kramer/Flickr, Creative Commons

All eyes should be on Justice Anthony Kennedy. At 81, Kennedy is the longest-serving, second oldest justice on the court and is a conservative — except when he’s not.

Kennedy has sided with the court’s more liberal justices on several landmark cases, as he did in Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 decision that made same-sex marriage the law of the land. But he also sided with the conservative judges in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, a ruling that the Christian-owned chain of craft stores could deny contraception coverage.

Will the World End on Saturday?

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Who can forget Harold Camping, the Christian radio media mogul who picked two dates in 2011, hit the airwaves, put up billboards, solicited money — and nada. He joined some rather famous names — Edgar Cayce, Sun Myung Moon, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson [at least twice, but before he had access to the White House], and John Hagee among them — of failed futurists. Heck, Sir Isaac Newton himself, great astronomer and mathematician, bet that Jesus would return in the year 2000.

Some Americans Don’t Believe Muslims, Atheists Have First Amendment Rights

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More than half of Americans surveyed — 53 percent — believe undocumented persons have no constitutional rights when, in actuality, they do.

‘Christian America’ Dwindling, Including White Evangelicals, Study Shows

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Almost every Christian denomination in the U.S. shows signs of growing diversity as white Christians, once the majority in most mainline Protestant and Catholic denominations, give way to younger members, who tend to be of different races, according to a study released Sept. 6 by the Public Religion Research Institute.

And American evangelicals — once seemingly immune to the decline experienced by their Catholic and mainline Protestant neighbors — are losing numbers and losing them quickly.

Rabbis Forgo Annual High Holy Days Call with President Over Charlottesville Remarks

Image via  Nicole S Glass / Shutterstock.com

“Responsibility for the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, including the death of Heather Heyer, does not lie with many sides but with one side: the Nazis, alt-right and white supremacists who brought their hate to a peaceful community. They must be roundly condemned at all levels.”

Trump’s Spiritual Adviser Says He Is ‘Raised Up by God’

Paula White speaks at her church, New Destiny Christian Center, on Jan. 1, 2017, in Apopka, Fla. RNS photo by Sarah M. Brown

“They say about our president, ‘Well, he is not presidential.’ Thank goodness. Thank goodness. Thank goodness,” White said. “And I mean that with all due respect. Because in other words, he is not a polished politician. In other words, he is authentically — whether people like it or not — has been raised up by God.”

Los Angeles Statue of St. Junipero Serra Defaced

Monuments associated with Serra have been vandalized before. Within days of his elevation to sainthood in 2015, the historic mission in Carmel, Calif. was vandalized and gravestones were toppled. Serra’s remains are buried at the Carmel Mission, which was founded in 1770.

White House Confirms Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr. on Education Task Force

Image via RNS/Reuters/Brian Snyder

The Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University and a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, will be part of a planned task force on higher education, the White House confirmed. According to Falwell, who spoke to the Chronicle of Higher Education, he will be one of 15 college presidents who will participate. Falwell told Politico, “We haven’t had any substantive discussions on the issues yet.”

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