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.

Pages

4:44pm

Fri March 23, 2012
Religion

Thousands Rally For Religious Freedom Nationwide

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 5:50 pm

Protesters rally for religious freedom in front of Philadelphia's Independence Hall on Friday. Rallies took place nationwide to protest the mandate that some religious organizations cover the cost of contraception.
Alex Brandon AP

Across the country, thousands of people skipped lunch Friday to protest what they see as a threat to religious liberties in the United States.

The protesters' specific complaint was the birth control mandate in the new health care law, but the discontent runs far deeper.

It didn't take much for the Rev. Pat Mahoney, an evangelical minister, to warm up the crowd in Washington. He gazed out at hundreds of people who filled the plaza in front of Kathleen Sebelius' office at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Read more

3:59am

Fri March 23, 2012
Religion

'Woodstock For Atheists': A Moment For Nonbelievers

Organizers expect about 30,000 people to attend the Reason Rally over the weekend, a celebration of atheists and nonbelievers.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Thousands of people are expect to descend on the Mall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday to celebrate not believing in God. It's being called a sort of "Woodstock for Atheists," a chance for atheists to show their power in numbers and change their image.

The "Reason Rally" could attract up to 30,000 people; organizer David Silverman says it marks a coming-of-age for nonbelievers.

"We'll look back at the Reason Rally as one of the game-changing events when people started to look at atheism and look at atheists in a different light," Silverman says.

Read more

4:34pm

Wed February 29, 2012
Rick Santorum

Is Rick Santorum Missing JFK's Point On Religion?

Then-Sen. John F. Kennedy participates in a question-and-answer session with the Ministers' Association of Greater Houston on Sept. 12, 1960, in Houston. In a speech to the group, Kennedy addressed concerns about his Catholicism and his run for the presidency.
Houston Chronicle AP

When GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum was growing up, he says, John F. Kennedy was a hero in his Catholic home.

In a speech last year, he said he had always heard glowing reports of Kennedy's speech about religion to Protestant ministers in 1960.

"And then very late in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech and I almost threw up," Santorum told a group of college students last year. "You should read the speech. In my opinion, it was the beginning of the secular movement of politicians to separate their faith from the public square."

Read more

3:11pm

Mon February 27, 2012
All Tech Considered

To Get Out The Vote, Evangelicals Try Data Mining

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 6:36 pm

Kay Clymer spends hours each day urging fellow Christians to vote. She finds their phone numbers through a database created by the company United In Purpose.
Steve Brown WOSU

When Bill Dallas first heard that 15 to 20 million Christians in the U.S. are not registered to vote, he couldn't believe it.

"Initially, it surprised me. And then I thought to myself, 'Wait a minute, I'm not registered,' Dallas says. "Why wasn't I registered? Well, because I didn't think my vote made a difference."

Identifying Christians With Data Points

Read more

4:33pm

Thu February 16, 2012
Law

Pa. Priest Faces Trial On Child Abuse Cover-Up Charges

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 2:25 pm

Between 1992 and 2004, Monsignor William Lynn was the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's point person for allegations of clerical abuse. When he heard a claim, he was supposed to investigate and, if warranted, remove or turn the priest over to police.

But as two grand juries reported in 2005 and 2011, that often didn't happen.

Read more

3:44pm

Fri February 10, 2012
Religion

Catholics Split On Obama's Birth Control Decision

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 9:21 pm

Archbishop Thomas Wenski, shown celebrating Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Miami last month, says the new birth control policy is a "smoke screen."
Lynne Sladky AP

Reaction from the Catholic community to the Obama administration's decision to revise its birth control policy was swift and mixed.

Under the new rule, employers with a religious objection to offering contraceptive coverage as part of their health care plans wouldn't have to provide it directly. Instead, the requirement to provide that coverage free of charge would fall on the insurance companies.

Some Catholics believe the president's new rule resolves the religious liberty issues. But others, including key bishops, say it is smoke and mirrors.

Read more

3:28pm

Thu February 9, 2012
Religion

Bishops Stand Strong Against Birth Control Mandate

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 5:15 pm

A bishop grasps his pectoral cross during the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore on Nov. 14, 2011.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters/Landov

The Obama administration has drawn fierce criticism over a new rule requiring religiously affiliated charities, universities and hospitals to provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plans. Now, that mandate has created a stalemate between American Catholic bishops and the White House that shows few signs of easing.

Read more

2:42pm

Tue February 7, 2012
Religion

A Pulpit For The Masses: YouTube, Christians Click

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 5:26 pm

Created by liberal Christians, the YouTube video "Tea Party Jesus" is a spoof on conservative politics.
AmericanValuesNet/YouTube

11:01pm

Thu January 12, 2012
Election 2012

Evangelical Leaders Struggle To Crown A Candidate

Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, testifies before Congress on July 14, 2010. He thinks religious conservatives should try to rally behind a candidate other than Mitt Romney.
Alex Brandon AP

Rick Santorum was fresh off his surprise showing in the Iowa caucuses and fielding questions on a radio program, when a caller challenged the Republican presidential candidate on his overt religiosity.

"He said, 'We don't need a Jesus candidate. We need an economic candidate,' " Santorum recalled later, at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire. "And my answer to that was, 'We always need a Jesus candidate, right?' "

Read more

2:00pm

Tue January 10, 2012
Law

Court Strikes Down Oklahoma Shariah Ban

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 3:55 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A federal appeals court has struck down Oklahoma's ban on Sharia law. The ruling said the state amendment, which was passed in 2010, discriminated against Muslims.

NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports.

Read more

5:10am

Sun January 8, 2012
Religion

Has Obama Waged A War On Religion?

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 2:35 pm

Some political and religious leaders say there is a White House-led war against religion.
Joe Drivas Getty Images

Americans' religious liberties are under attack — or at least that's what some conservatives say.

Newt Gingrich warns the U.S. is becoming a secular country, which would be a "nightmare." Rick Santorum says there's a clash between "man's laws and God's laws." And in a campaign ad, Rick Perry decried what he called "Obama's war on religion," saying there is "something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly ... pray in school."

Read more

11:01pm

Wed December 21, 2011
Newt Gingrich

Gingrich's Catholic Journey Began With Third Wife

Any discussion of Newt Gingrich's journey to Catholicism begins with his wife.

"I have always been a very spiritual person," Callista Gingrich told the Christian Broadcasting Network this year. "I start each day with a prayer, and pray throughout the day, because I am grateful for the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us."

Read more

6:19pm

Tue December 20, 2011
It Was A Good Year For...

Hell On Fire In 2011, Thanks To Film And Books

Hell was much written and thought about in 2011. In this 18th-century engraving accompanying Dante's Inferno, Virgil leads the poet past souls writhing in torment in the River Styx.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

In 2011, hell was a hot topic, from Hollywood to New York Times bestsellers. In fact, this year has seen an incendiary debate about the existence and contents of hell.

The year began with an epic battle between a priest and Satan, with Anthony Hopkins playing a demon possessed priest in the movie, The Rite. The Hollywood glimpse of the underworld came and went without much notice by moviegoers. But then, another form of hell on earth grabbed the headlines. Judgment Day would soon be upon us.

Read more

11:01pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Religion

Vatican Declares Boy's Recovery A 'Miracle'

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 10:57 am

Barbara Bradley Hagerty NPR

In February 2006, 5-year-old Jake Finkbonner fell and hit his head while playing basketball at his school in Ferndale, Wash. Soon, he developed a fever and his head swelled. His mother, Elsa, rushed him to Seattle Children's Hospital, where the doctors realized Jake was battling a flesh-eating bacterium called Strep A.

"It traveled all around his face, his scalp, his neck, his chest," she recalls, "and why it didn't travel to his brain or his eyeballs or his heart? He was protected."

Read more

11:32am

Fri December 16, 2011
Remembrances

For Hitchens, In Life And Death, An Unaware Cosmos

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 9:29 pm

Christopher Hitchens, shown here in 2010, began a lifelong battle with a God he didn't believe in when he was just 9 years old.
David Levenson Getty Images

Writer Christopher Hitchens, who died on Thursday from complications of cancer at the age of 62, leaves behind some 18 books and countless essays on politics and public figures. But his most lasting legacy may be his atheism and his long-running duel with what he considered the world's most dangerous threat: religion.

Read more

Pages