ASSOCIATED PRESS COVERAGE

Feb 10, 6:05 PM EST

Religion news in brief

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Mass. Catholics hold vigil in endangered churches
Convent shuts after helping generations 'overcome'
Inside a Voodoo Gede ceremony
Religion News
Philippines, rebels fortify truce amid stalled peace pact

5 Things to Know about the pope's trip to Mexico

Gay imam helps young Muslims balance religion, sexuality

Religion news in brief

Pope on Ash Wednesday: charity's not to please ourselves

Pope on Ash Wednesday: Let's share, be more sensitive

Pope briefs priests: Don't be smug, don't judge sinners

Vatican stresses policy role of sex committee after ouster

Grand jury indicts duo accused of Southern jewelry robberies

Pope pleas for help for Syrians fleeing war so they survive

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Franklin Graham urges S Carolina Christians to vote biblically

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Rev. Franklin Graham is urging Christians in South Carolina to pray before they vote in the nation's next presidential primary.

As voters cast ballots in New Hampshire Tuesday, Graham held a prayer rally with an estimated 7,000 Christians outside South Carolina's Capitol building. He urged them to confess their personal sins, the sins of their slave-holding ancestors and the sins of the nation, which he said include same-sex marriage and abortion.

Turning to electoral politics, Graham noted that South Carolina is about to be "inundated and invaded" by presidential candidates seeking support in this month's Republican and Democratic primaries.

Graham didn't endorse anyone, but urged the crowd to "vote for candidates that stand for biblical truth and biblical principles, and are willing to live them."

He also urged Christians to consider running for office themselves.

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Kim Davis obeying orders in gay marriage case, judges rules

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A federal judge has ruled that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has obeyed his orders in the months since she spent five nights in jail for refusing to license same-sex marriages.

United States District Judge David Bunning wrote Tuesday that Davis has allowed her deputies to issue marriage licenses. Bunning dismissed a request from the American Civil Liberties Union to consider ordering her to reissue licenses she altered to remove her name.

After the United States Supreme Court legalized gay marriage last summer, Davis refused to allow her office to issue marriage licenses. She relented during a turbulent court battle, but altered the licenses.

The ACLU asked the judge to make her reissue the marriage licenses.

Bunning on Tuesday found that request to be "moot;" he said the altered licenses are valid.

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Las Cruces bishop: Diocese to get Ciudad Juarez pope tickets

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - The bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico, says his diocese will be getting tickets to next week's papal Mass in nearby Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, after all.

KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas, reports that Las Cruces Bishop Oscar Cantu said the tickets will be distributed through southern New Mexico parishes and Catholic schools.

The diocese originally believed the Diocese of Ciudad Juarez would not provide them with tickets because of limited availability. But the Juarez Catholic Diocese said last week it has designated 5,000 tickets for the Las Cruces Catholic Diocese and 10,000 for the El Paso Catholic Diocese.

Ciudad Juarez, on Mexico's northern border across from El Paso, is the last stop in the pope's scheduled 5-day visit to Mexico.

Pope Francis is slated to finish his Ciudad Juarez trip with an open-air Mass on Feb. 17.

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Nuns who help needy face eviction in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - San Francisco nuns who serve the homeless are in danger of getting kicked out of their home after a rent hike of more than 50 percent.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the sisters of the Fraternite Notre Dame Mary of Nazareth Soup Kitchen can't afford the rent increase from $3,465 to $5,500 a month as of Jan. 15. Their lawyer says the owner has served notice on the nuns asking them to pay the higher rate or leave.

An attorney for the landlord, Nick Patel, says his client is in India and has put everything on hold and will assess the situation when he returns later this week.

The soup kitchen is in one of San Francisco's poorest neighborhoods and feeds hundreds every week.

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U of Illinois menorah damaged for a third time

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - A 9-foot-tall menorah at a University of Illinois Jewish student center has been damaged for a third time in less than a year. The center's rabbi believes school leaders haven't taken a strong enough stand against the vandalism.

Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel believes a strong stand from university leaders would stop the vandalism.

Campus police say one arm of the menorah was broken early Sunday. Police have issued a notice to appear to a female student who plays on the softball team. She was not charged, but sports information director Kent Brown said a softball player and a men's gymnast are indefinitely suspended from competition.

The menorah was damaged twice last year. No arrests were made in the first incident. A 20-year-old man was given probation in the second.

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Petal church reopens 3 years after tornado devastation

PETAL, Miss. (AP) - Worshippers have returned to a Mississippi church that was destroyed three years ago by a deadly tornado.

The Mount Vernon Missionary Church in Petal held its first service in a new sanctuary on Sunday. Pastor Carl Burkett told WDAM TV that the church is bigger than the old sanctuary and can now seat over 100 people.

While the church was being rebuilt, Mount Vernon's congregation prayed with neighboring churches.

Burkett has preached at Mount Vernon for 33 years and said he is happy to be at the new church.

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