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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5:02pm

Wed August 8, 2012
Religion

The Most Influential Evangelist You've Never Heard Of

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 8:14 pm

Republican activist David Barton speaks before testifying before the Texas State Board of Education in 2009.
Harry Cabluck AP

David Barton says Americans have been misled about their history. And he aims to change that.

"It's what I would call historical reclamation," Barton explains, in his soft but rapid-fire voice. "We're just trying to get history back to where it's accurate. If you're going to use history, get it right."

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3:35am

Fri July 20, 2012
London 2012: The Summer Olympics

Olympians' Dilemma: 'Starve My Soul' For Ramadan?

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 8:12 am

Mohammed Ahmed runs at the NCAA championships in June in Des Moines, Iowa. He's representing Canada at the Olympics and had to decide whether to fast for Ramadan this year.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Mazen Aziz, representing Egypt in the 2012 Summer Olympics, has trained for the 10,000-meter, open-water swim for years. It's a grueling race that can take upwards of 1 hour and 45 minutes, depending on the waves, current or water temperature.

But Aziz is Muslim, and with the Olympics falling during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the 22-year-old athlete had to make a choice: be in top physical condition or maintain a primary tenet of his faith.

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5:29pm

Fri July 6, 2012
Religion

Evangelicals Fight Over Therapy To 'Cure' Gays

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 4:46 pm

iStockphoto.com

Supporters call it "conversion therapy." Critics call it "praying away the gay." Whatever name you use, it's creating a ruckus in Christian circles about whether a person can change his or her sexual orientation. And now the largest "ex-gay ministry" is rejecting the approach.

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3:32am

Wed July 4, 2012
Religion

Feeling Under Siege, Catholic Leadership Shifts Right

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 2:05 pm

Protesters in Baltimore rally against the kick off to "Fortnight for Freedom," sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The bishops say the effort is a response to government attacks on religious liberty, but critics say the campaign is an attack on the Obama administration.
Patrick Semansky AP

The Catholic Church is drawing a line in the sand.

Perceiving its core beliefs to be under threat from popular culture, the White House and even Catholics themselves, the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are pushing back.

In recent months, the church leadership has been cracking down on liberal theologians, disciplining nuns and emphasizing a more orthodox theology.

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6:31pm

Wed June 20, 2012
Religion

Bishops Launch 2-Week Campaign Against Health Law

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 9:40 am

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, shown speaking at the state Capitol in Hartford, Conn., in 2009, is the head of the U.S. bishops' Fortnight for Freedom campaign.
Jessica Hill AP

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops launches what it's calling the "Fortnight for Freedom" on Thursday — two weeks of praying and fasting because the bishops believe the church's religious freedom is being threatened by the Obama administration's health care policies.

"This is the first time that I've felt personally attacked by my government," parishioner Kathleen Burke says after a service at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Bethesda, Md.

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3:13am

Tue June 19, 2012
Religion

Southern Baptists See Their Future In A Black Pastor

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 9:48 am

The Rev. Fred Luter is running unopposed for the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention. Here, he delivers a sermon during Sunday services at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.
Gerald Herbert AP

The Southern Baptist Convention is expected to elect its first black president on Tuesday: Fred Luter, a former street preacher who turned a dying New Orleans church into a powerhouse. His election is a milestone for the 167-year-old denomination at a time when minorities make up a growing share of a shrinking membership.

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6:52am

Fri June 1, 2012
Law

Court Rules Against Part Of Marriage Act

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 9:04 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

On a Friday, it is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

In a unanimous ruling, a federal appeals court has struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act. The First Circuit Court of Appeals, in Boston, ruled the 1996 law unconstitutional because it denies giving gay couples the same rights afforded to heterosexual couples. As NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports, the ruling sets the stage for a potential battle at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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3:37am

Thu May 31, 2012
Religion

Catholic Abuse Case Going To Jury In Philadelphia

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 5:21 am

Monsignor William Lynn leaves the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia in March.
Matt Rourke AP

In a Philadelphia courtroom, jurors are hearing closing arguments in a historic case involving the Catholic sex abuse scandal. William Lynn, a monsignor in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is the first high-level church official to be tried for his involvement in covering up child abuse, specifically, conspiracy and children endangerment.

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6:32am

Sun May 27, 2012
Religion

Philadelphia Priest Abuse Trial Takes Combative Turn

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 7:25 pm

Monsignor William Lynn leaves the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia in March. When he finally took to the stand after two months of testimony, the prosecutor called him a liar over and over.
Matt Rourke AP

A clergy sex-abuse trial is intensifying in a Philadelphia courtroom. One defendant is James Brennan, a priest accused of trying to rape a minor.

What's drawing attention is the second defendant, Monsignor William Lynn. Lynn is the first high-level Catholic official to be criminally prosecuted — not for abusing minors himself, but for failing to protect children from predator priests.

Failure To Protect?

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5:14pm

Fri May 11, 2012
Election 2012

For Evangelicals, Romney Is The Lesser Of Two Evils

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 6:52 pm

Experts say that in order to win this year's election, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will not just have to satisfy evangelicals — he will have to thrill them.
Charles Krupa AP

On Saturday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will deliver the commencement address at Liberty University, the nation's largest evangelical university. The speech will be attended by nearly 35,000 people, and it will give him a chance to win over a huge constituency that, up until recently, has been lukewarm about his campaign.

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2:52am

Fri May 11, 2012
Religion

Same Bible, Different Verdict On Gay Marriage

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 9:43 am

While liberal Christians argue the Bible should be interpreted as society changes, conservatives argue for a more literal reading, leading to differences in belief about God and homosexuality.
Jonathan Gibby Getty Images

When President Obama announced he now supports same-sex marriage, he cited his Christian faith.

"The thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it's also the Golden Rule, you know — treat others the way you would want to be treated," he said in his interview with ABC News.

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3:57pm

Mon April 30, 2012
Religion

From Minister To Atheist: A Story Of Losing Faith

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 9:02 pm

Teresa MacBain pauses while talking about her ongoing job search. She has been out of work since leaving her position as a Methodist pastor earlier this year.
Colin Hackley for NPR

This is the first in a series of stories on losing faith.

Teresa MacBain has a secret, one she's terrified to reveal.

"I'm currently an active pastor and I'm also an atheist," she says. "I live a double life. I feel pretty good on Monday, but by Thursday — when Sunday's right around the corner — I start having stomachaches, headaches, just knowing that I got to stand up and say things that I no longer believe in and portray myself in a way that's totally false."

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4:33pm

Sat April 21, 2012
Remembrances

Watergate Figure, Evangelist Chuck Colson Dies At 80

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 5:00 pm

Chuck Colson, speaking outside the White House in 2003, has died. The former aide to President Nixon went to prison for his role in the Watergate scandal. He later became an influential evangelical Christian.
Susal Walsh AP

Charles Colson, who served time in prison for his role in the Watergate scandal and later became an influential evangelical Christian, has died. Colson went from being one of the nation's most despised men to a hero of conservative Christians.

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3:22am

Mon April 16, 2012
Religion

Christians Debate: Was Jesus For Small Government?

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 9:45 am

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., with his 2012 budget plan. Ryan cites his Catholic faith in justifying his proposed cuts to social safety-net programs.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

What would Jesus do with the U.S. economy?

That's a matter of fierce debate among Christians — with conservatives promoting a small-government Jesus and liberals seeing Jesus as an advocate for the poor.

After the House passed its budget last month, liberal religious leaders said the Republican plan, which lowered taxes and cut services to the poor, was an affront to the Gospel — and particularly Jesus' command to care for the poor.

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4:38pm

Tue April 10, 2012
Religion

A Church Divided: Ruling Ends Va.'s Episcopal Battle

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 8:19 pm

The St. Stephen's Church in Heathsville, Va., has been at the center of an ugly custody battle between the St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and the newly affiliated St. Stephen's Anglican Church.
Barbara Bradley Hagerty for NPR

On a bright Sunday morning in the tiny town of Heathsville, Va., Jeffrey Cerar surveys the church he's preached in for the past 15 years — its 130-year-old wooden pews, its stained glass windows, its paschal candles, its cross.

"Virtually everything you see here is going to stay; the high altar, the credence table, the hymnals and books of common prayer will all stay," he says. "The Bibles will go with us."

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