Sep 18, 12:41 PM EDT

Religion news in brief

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AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

Mass. Catholics hold vigil in endangered churches
Convent shuts after helping generations 'overcome'
Inside a Voodoo Gede ceremony
Religion News
Pope creates panel to `safeguard' marriage bond

Pope Albania visit showcases Muslim-Christian ties

German Muslims protest against Islamic State group

Cardinals debate marriage before crucial meeting

Religion news in brief

Biden says 'Shylocks' was poor choice of words

Pope OKs canonization for Sri Lanka's 1st saint

Jewel releases free song to support public housing

Pope to focus on grandparents after newlyweds

Turkey mulls 'buffer zone' against Jihadist group

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Merkel leads Berlin rally against anti-Semitism

BERLIN (AP) - Chancellor Angela Merkel has led a rally against anti-Semitism, telling thousands of people in Berlin that Jewish life is part of Germany's identity.

Germany's Jewish community organized Sunday's rally at the capital's Brandenburg Gate after tensions over the Gaza conflict spilled over into demonstrations in Europe that saw anti-Jewish slogans and violence.

Jewish leader Dieter Graumann said the summer saw "the worst anti-Semitic slogans on German streets for many, many decades."

Merkel said it pains her to hear of young Jewish parents asking whether they can raise their children in Germany or older people asking whether it was right to stay.

She said: "We want Jews to feel safe in Germany. They should feel that this country is our common home."


Group: No one should leaflet in public schools

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A Wisconsin-based group that advocates on behalf of atheists and agnostics says though it recently won the right to distribute its materials in Orange County public schools, it doesn't think any religious or non-religious group should be allowed to.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation says it only joined an affiliate central Florida group's lawsuit against Orange County Public Schools last year after some of its materials were censored. A federal judge dismissed it in July when the school district decided to allow all groups in.

The New York-based Satanic Temple said this week that it will be distributing literature in Orange schools this year.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation says it has repeatedly and unsuccessfully asked the district to close all distributions.


Facing death, Sudanese woman relied on her faith

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - The Sudanese woman who faced a death sentence for refusing to reject Christianity says she was under pressure to convert to Islam but kept her faith.

Meriam Ibrahim, who now lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, was sentenced to death over charges of apostasy, the abandonment of a religion. Her father was Muslim, and her mother was an Orthodox Christian. She married Daniel Wani, a Christian from southern Sudan, in 2011. Muslim women in Sudan are prohibited from marrying non-Muslims, and children must follow their fathers' religions.

In an interview to be aired Monday night on Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File," Ibrahim says she gave birth to her daughter while in prison and shackled at the ankles.

She says she refused to give up, even if it meant death.


Students rally for teacher who talks about faith

CANTON, Ga. (AP) - Students at a public high school outside Atlanta are rallying behind a teacher who says he's standing up for his Christian beliefs and what he views as his right to talk about Jesus in the classroom.

Hundreds of students poured into hallways at Sequoyah High School Tuesday, holding signs and chanting in support of history teacher John Osborne.

Osborne tells WXIA-TV that he didn't feel supported by administrators, so he decided to take a few days off. He said he's talked about God at school for years.

School officials said in a statement that students mistakenly thought the teacher had been terminated, and staged the protest. They say he remains employed.

Osborne tells CBS 46 that he is looking out for the students, and Christianity can be a positive influence


Ex-POW Jessica Lynch starring in Christian film

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch says she's enjoyed playing a lead role in a Christian movie currently in production.

As far as being an actor permanently, she says to stay tuned.

Morgantown-based JC Films is producing "One Church," being shot this month in Rock Hill, South Carolina. JC Films president and screenwriter Jason Campbell says the drama explores the possible government takeover of churches.

It stars Lynch, the West Virginia native whose Army unit came under attack in Iraq in 2003. She was rescued after nine days in captivity.

Lynch tells The Associated Press she's having fun this month playing the president's daughter. While she says acting is stressful and probably isn't for her in the long run, she adds she will never say never.

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