Barbara Bradley Hagerty

Barbara Bradley Hagerty is the religion correspondent for NPR, reporting on the intersection of faith and politics, law, science and culture. Her New York Times best-selling book, "Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality," was published by Riverhead/Penguin Group in May 2009. Among others, Barb has received the American Women in Radio and Television Award, the Headliners Award and the Religion Newswriters Association Award for radio reporting.

Before covering the religion beat, Barb was NPR's Justice Department correspondent between 1998 and 2003. Her billet included the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, Florida's disputed 2000 election, terrorism, crime, espionage, wrongful convictions and the occasional serial killer. Barbara was the lead correspondent covering the investigation into the September 11 attacks. Her reporting was part of NPR's coverage that earned the network the 2001 George Foster Peabody and Overseas Press Club awards. She has appeared on the PBS programs Washington Week and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Barb came to NPR in 1995, after attending Yale Law School on a one-year Knight Fellowship. From 1982-1993, she worked at The Christian Science Monitor as a newspaper reporter in Washington, as the Asia correspondent based in Tokyo for World Monitor (the Monitor's nightly television program on the Discovery Cable Channel) and finally as senior Washington correspondent for Monitor Radio.

Barb was graduated magna cum laude from Williams College in 1981 with a degree in economics, and has a masters in legal studies from Yale Law School.

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3:05am

Wed January 16, 2013
Losing Our Religion

After Tragedy, Nonbelievers Find Other Ways To Cope

Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 1:34 pm

Carol Fiore's husband, Eric, died after the plane he was test-piloting crashed in Wichita, Kan., 12 years ago. An atheist, Carol felt no comfort when religious people told her Eric was in a better place.
Barbara Bradley Hagerty NPR

The Mile High Gliding facility at the Boulder Airport in Colorado is one of Carol Fiore's favorite haunts. And it's a perfect day for flying: clear, breezy and with a gorgeous view of the Rocky Mountains.

Fiore used to fly gliders regularly, but a few years ago she stopped. Flying them had become painful.

"I felt, in a way, that I was searching for something that wasn't there," Fiore says. "I was looking for that laughter and that incredible time that I had flying with Eric, and he wasn't in the plane with me. I was by myself."

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5:03pm

Mon December 24, 2012
Around the Nation

Finding New Meaning In The Loss Of A Son

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 6:00 pm

Ronan at 2 years old. "I know Ronan's purpose in life was to shed light on this disease," says his mother, Maya Thompson. "This is why I will continue to fight for childhood cancer for the rest of my life."
Courtesy of Maya Thompson

This is a story about loss and meaning. It's the story of a boy who died and a mother who tottered at the precipice of despair. It's about faith β€” not in God, but in the ability to build from ashes.

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4:53pm

Wed November 28, 2012
Religion

Mormonism: A Scrutinized, Yet Evolving Faith

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 5:58 pm

temple
George Frey Reuters

Mitt Romney refused to mix religion with politics in this year's presidential campaign, but that didn't repress people's curiosity about Mormonism. His candidacy brought the homegrown faith into the spotlight.

Patrick Mason, a professor and chairman of the Mormon Studies program at Claremont Graduate University, says attention paid to his faith has been twofold. On one hand, it's been good for attracting new converts. On the other hand, it's turned Mormonism into something of a cultural punch line.

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4:37pm

Thu November 8, 2012
It's All Politics

For Religious Conservatives, Election Was A 'Disaster'

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:13 pm

Attendees pray during The Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit on Sept. 14 in Washington, D.C.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Many religious conservatives thought this might be the year of an evangelical comeback, when voters would throw President Obama out because of his support of same-sex marriage and abortion, and his health plan's birth control mandate. It didn't work out that way.

"I think this was an evangelical disaster," says Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

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5:59pm

Tue November 6, 2012
It's All Politics

Battleground States Carry Obama To Second Term

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 6:58 am

President Obama walks on stage with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia to deliver his victory speech on election night in Chicago.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Americans elected Barack Obama to a second term Tuesday, with the president capturing or on the verge of winning all of the key states that had been at the center of his hard-fought campaign against Republican Mitt Romney.

"Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you," Obama said early Wednesday at a speech before thousands of supporters in Chicago. "I have learned from you. And you've made me a better president.

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6:58am

Tue November 6, 2012
It's All Politics

Voters To Settle Tight And Turbulent Presidential Battle

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 8:08 am

Supporters attend a Mitt Romney rally Monday in Columbus, Ohio.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

As Americans go to the polls, one of the closest presidential races in years may be determined by a state in the Midwest and a hurricane named Sandy.

After a campaign that has cost some $6 billion, the two candidates are in the same place they started: with President Obama a smidgen ahead of challenger Mitt Romney, so close that differences are in most cases statistically insignificant.

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4:26am

Wed October 31, 2012
Religion

Shift In Mormon Age Policy Widens Women's Options

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 11:40 am

A statue representing womanhood β€” and women's role in raising children β€” is seen with the Mormon Temple in the background in Salt Lake City.
Douglas C. Pizac AP

Hannon Young was listening with only half an ear during the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints earlier this month when Church President Thomas S. Monson started talking about missionaries. But then Young perked up β€” and froze, as Monson declared that women no longer have to wait until they are 21 to go on their missions. They can begin at 19, he said.

"You could hear an audible gasp throughout the whole conference center," says Young, a freshman at Brigham Young University. "It was just this wave of shock."

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5:22pm

Wed October 10, 2012
Religion

Sisters And Vatican II: A Generational Tug Of War

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 5:37 pm

A nun chants while she and her sisters pray together during Vespers at their home near Dumfries, Va. Unlike older sisters shaped by Vatican II, a new generation of women are flocking to more conservative orders.
Barbara Bradley Hagerty NPR

Fifty years ago, Pope John XXIII launched a revolution in the Catholic Church. The Second Vatican Council opened on Oct. 11, 1962, with the goal of bringing the church into the modern world. Catholics could now hear the Mass in their local language. Laypeople could take leadership roles in the church. And the church opened conversations with other faiths.

For American nuns, Vatican II brought freedoms and controversies that are playing out today.

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3:32am

Tue October 2, 2012
U.S.

Both Candidates Leave God Off The Campaign Trail

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 1:33 pm

iStockphoto.com

Religion used to be everywhere in the presidential elections. George W. Bush courted conservative believers in 2004. In 2008, Sarah Palin excited evangelicals and β€” unexpectedly β€” so did Barack Obama.

What a difference a few years make. In 2007, then-candidate Obama used evangelical language to describe his Christian conversion: He was a young, secular community organizer who occasionally visited the local Chicago church, when one day he walked to the front of the sanctuary and knelt before the cross.

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4:49am

Wed September 19, 2012
Religion

Text Reignites Debate: Did Jesus Have A Wife?

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 5:03 am

A Harvard researcher says a "new gospel" written on a fragment of papyrus shows some early Christians believed Jesus had a wife. The fragment β€” which scholars believe was written in the fourth century β€” is creating a sensation among New Testament experts.

5:45am

Thu September 13, 2012
NPR Story

Anti-Islam Film Crafted To Provoke, Experts Say

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.

For many Muslims, the film that sparked at least some of the anti-American violence in Egypt and Libya was breathtakingly offensive. In a moment, we'll look into the mystery behind who made the film.

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3:00pm

Sun September 2, 2012
Remembrances

Rev. Moon, A 'Savior' To Some, Lived A Big Dream

Originally published on Sun September 2, 2012 6:57 pm

Moon and his wife are introduced during the Affirmation of Vows part of the Interreligious and International Couple's Blessing and Rededication Ceremony, 2002, at New York's Manhattan Center. Some 500 to 600 couples participated in the New York ceremony, and an estimated 21 million couples participated worldwide via a simulcast to 185 countries.
Stephen Chernin AP

Rev. Sun Myung Moon died Sunday at age 92. The controversial founder of the Unification Church was known for attracting young converts in the 1970s and for conducting mass weddings.

Sun Myung Moon was born in 1920 to a poor family in what is now North Korea. His life took a dramatic turn on Easter Sunday, 1936, when, he says, Jesus appeared before him. As he told cartoonist and interviewer Al Capp, Moon recognized Jesus from a vision he had had at age 3. Moon said he spoke with Jesus in Korean.

"We carried conversation with mind-to-mind, heart-to-heart," Moon said.

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4:04pm

Fri August 31, 2012
Law

American Taliban Sues For Religious Freedom

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 6:39 pm

John Walker Lindh was captured in Afghanistan in 2002 after fighting with the Taliban.
AP

Should Muslims convicted of terrorism be allowed to gather together in prison to pray? That's the question being raised by John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban.

The U.S. citizen converted to Islam as a teenager. Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Lindh was caught in Afghanistan. He pleaded guilty to aiding the now defunct Taliban government there and to carrying a weapon.

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3:18am

Wed August 29, 2012
Presidential Race

The Risks And Rewards Of Romney's Faith Story

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 4:04 am

Mitt Romney rarely talks about his Mormon faith.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Mitt Romney's speech to the Republican National Convention on Thursday will be his chance to tell his story to the world. Perhaps the most unique part of that story is his devout Mormon faith.

Romney comes from a prominent Mormon family. He's held important leadership positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But he rarely talks about his faith. When he does, he seems uncomfortable.

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4:42pm

Tue August 21, 2012
Election 2012

Biden And Ryan Share Faith, But Not Worldview

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 7:36 pm

This composite image shows Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (left) and Vice President Biden. Both men are Catholic, but their worldviews are strikingly different.
Jose Luis Magana/Thanassis Stavrakis AP

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney selected Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate, Catholics passed a milestone. For the first time in history, both vice presidential candidates, Ryan and Vice President Biden, are Catholic.

But if Biden and Ryan share the same faith, they couldn't be further apart in their cultural and political worldviews. On issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, taxes and Medicaid, they are miles apart.

How can that be?

Reflecting 'The Old And The New'

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