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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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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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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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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