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Bob Smietana

Bob Smietana is a veteran religion writer and national reporter for Religion News Service.

All Stories by Bob Smietana

Southern Baptist list includes hundreds of cases of abuse, beginning in the 1960s

By Bob Smietana — May 27, 2022
(RNS) — Southern Baptist leaders began compiling the list in 2007, when the convention was considering creating a database of abusers. That idea was rejected but an SBC staffer continued to update the list for years.

J.D. Hall, pastor and founder of Pulpit&Pen, admits fabricating story about trans activist

By Bob Smietana — May 26, 2022
(RNS) — Hall, a firebrand pastor and polemicist, is known for his attacks on evangelical preachers and authors he claims have become liberal.

For abuse survivors like Jules Woodson, the Indiana pastor video is all too familiar

By Bob Smietana — May 25, 2022
(RNS) — In a dramatic viral video, an abuse survivor confronted a pastor for abusing her, starting when she was 16. In the video, the pastor admits his sins but the congregation still sides with him.

How the ‘apocalyptic’ Southern Baptist report almost didn’t happen

By Bob Smietana — May 24, 2022
(RNS) — A recently released report detailed how Southern Baptist leaders mistreated abuse survivors and tried to protect their institutions. The investigation that led to the report almost died numerous times.

SBC Executive Committee, repenting for handling of abuse, disowns lawyer’s 2006 letter

By Bob Smietana — May 24, 2022
(RNS) — At a meeting Tuesday (May 24), Executive Committee members promised to lament, listen and learn as they respond to a report on abuse.

Southern Baptist leaders mistreated abuse survivors for decades, report says

By Bob Smietana — May 22, 2022
(RNS) — A blockbuster report found that SBC lawyers worked for years to protect the institution and demonized abuse survivors and accused a prominent pastor of abusing a colleague's wife.

Roberto Miranda, pastor of Lion of Judah, prominent Boston church, has died

By Bob Smietana — May 22, 2022
(RNS) — A Harvard-educated pastor who grew a small congregation into one of the most influential evangelical congregations in Boston has died.

Willow Creek announces major layoffs amid post-COVID struggle

By Bob Smietana — May 19, 2022
(RNS) — The layoffs come as the church struggles to rebound from COVID-19 and the scandal involving co-founder Bill Hybels.

McLean Bible Church leaders hope a new church election will resolve lawsuit

By Bob Smietana — May 19, 2022
(RNS) — The conflict at McLean Bible Church is part culture war, part battle over bylaws.

As Roe’s potential fall nears, abortion abolitionists turn on ‘pro-life elites’

By Bob Smietana — May 19, 2022
(RNS) — Abortion abolitionists, including a leading candidate for SBC president, want an end to abortion, with no exceptions, and say women who have illegal abortions should face murder charges.

Montana pastor J.D. Hall, Pulpit&Pen founder, charged with DUI, carrying weapon

By Bob Smietana — May 16, 2022
(RNS) — Hall, a firebrand polemicist known for his take-no-prisoners approach in attacking liberals, offered to resign as pastor of his church. The church claims he suffers from a vitamin deficiency.

Even abortion foes will help friends who choose to end a pregnancy

By Bob Smietana — May 9, 2022
(RNS) — Americans hold complicated views on abortion — with many seeing it as immoral but necessary. And they often help out friends who choose abortion.

In ‘Search,’ a church committee plots over Fiesta Chicken and cookies

By Bob Smietana — May 5, 2022
(RNS) — A new book from a food writer and former seminarian turned novelist takes a look at the human side of religion through the adventures of a pastoral search committee.

For red-state clergy who back abortion rights, losing Roe is a call to action

By Bob Smietana and Alejandra Molina — May 4, 2022
(RNS) — A new version of the Clergy Consultation Service, which helped women get abortions before Roe v. Wade, may be organized in response to abortion rights restrictions.

Like that new church worship song? Chances are, it will be gone soon.

By Bob Smietana — May 2, 2022
(RNS) — A new study found that the lifespan of a hit worship song has declined dramatically in recent years.
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