By Michael Brice-Saddler Kimberly Alford says she typically plans big birthday celebrations for her daughter. But when Kayla Kenney turned 15 late last month, the Louisville mother opted to organize a smaller gathering of friends and family at Texas Roadhouse, one of her daughter’s favorite restaurants. Ahead of the party, Alford instructed a bakery to …

By Hemant Mehta Proving once again that no amount of lip service is ever enough for conservative Christians, Oklahoma State Sen. Nathan Dahm has filed Senate Concurrent Resolution 7, which would declare 2020 the “Year of the Bible.” (Because how else would anyone know about Christianity?) The bill goes far beyond just recognizing the Bible as a book …

By Mindy Weisberger Scientists recently identified the oldest material on Earth: stardust that’s 7 billion years old, tucked away in a massive, rocky meteorite that struck our planet half a century ago. This ancient interstellar dust, made of presolar grains (dust grains that predate our sun), was belched into the universe by dying stars during the final …

By Jacob Ogles Marriage equality is the law of the land in Northern Ireland beginning today. It’s been a complicated road for Northern Ireland to join the rest of the United Kingdom in legalizing both same-sex marriage and abortion. But after the U.K.’s Parliament stepped in following a collapse of the Northern Ireland government, the day when …

By Emily McFarlan Miller The 16 United Methodist bishops and advocacy group leaders who negotiated a recent proposal to split the denomination explained their reasoning at an event held Monday (Jan. 13) that was streamed live by United Methodist News Service. They also forecast dire consequences if the proposal, officially called “A Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace …

By Marie Solis The nature of self-managed abortion means that, for decades, little has been known about how it’s practiced in the United States, or if it’s practiced at all. The method usually involves sourcing pills on the internet, and taking them at home, outside of a traditional clinic or hospital setting that would otherwise be …

By Stephanie Pappas Tiny, tubular fossils found in Nevada may contain the oldest digestive tracts ever found. The fossils date back more than half a billion years, to the late Ediacaran period. That makes them about 30 million years older than the next-oldest fossilized guts on record. More important than their age, though, is that …

By Matt Volz The Montana Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a $35 million judgment against the Jehovah’s Witnesses for not reporting a girl’s sexual abuse to authorities. Montana law requires officials, including clergy, to report child abuse to state authorities when there is reasonable cause for suspicion. However, the state’s high court said in its …

By Martha Kempner As state legislative sessions kick off this month, advocates will push for improved sexuality education policies to curb the alarming rates of sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs and STDs) among young people. States like Montana—where gonorrhea numbers are at a 40-year high—and Michigan have reported surges in STIs like chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea. These …

By Julie Zauzmer Leaders of the United Methodist Church took notice when other Protestant denominations began allowing same-sex marriage — and in some cases were hit with a wave of lawsuits. Conservative Episcopalians and Presbyterians, opposed to any new stance on homosexuality, wanted to break away from their denominations. And they wanted to take their …