Bob Smietana

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

All Stories by Bob Smietana

How a perfect storm sent church insurance rates skyrocketing

By Bob Smietana — July 10, 2024
(RNS) — The same factors that have caused a crisis in the homeowner's insurance market are also affecting churches, who have to choose between paying for insurance or running programs.

California Baptists cut staff, citing decline in Cooperative Program Giving

By Bob Smietana — July 3, 2024
(RNS) — Overall giving to the SBC’s national funding program is down about 2%.

Dying of cancer, Amy Low finds meaning in the mundane of life

By Bob Smietana — June 27, 2024
(RNS) — In a new memoir, writer and cancer patient Amy Low describes the lessons she's learned while facing her mortality.

Why the swing state faith voters who really matter in 2024 aren’t evangelicals

By Bob Smietana and Jack Jenkins — June 25, 2024
(RNS) — MAGA evangelicals grab all the headlines. But it’s swing state faith voters — Catholics, mainliners and Black Protestants — who will likely decide the election.

The author of ‘Jesus Calling’ died last year. Why is a denomination investigating her?

By Bob Smietana — June 20, 2024
(RNS) — At a recent PCA meeting, critics of ‘Jesus Calling,’ written by Sarah Young, called for an investigation to see if the book was safe for Christians to read.

Paul Pressler, SBC legend accused of abuse, is dead at 94

By Bob Smietana — June 15, 2024
(RNS) — Pressler was one of the architects of the ‘Conservative Resurgence’ that took over the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1980s and 1990s. He was later accused of sexual abuse.

Southern Baptists pass resolution calling for strictures to curb IVF

By Bob Smietana — June 13, 2024
INDIANAPOLIS (RNS) — At their annual meeting, Southern Baptists joined the recently renewed debate over in vitro fertilization, passing a resolution calling for restrictions on the practice. Some leaders went further, condemning the procedure as immoral.

The future of SBC abuse reform is now in the hands of denominational committee

By Bob Smietana — June 12, 2024
INDIANAPOLIS (RNS) — A volunteer task force said it did not have the funds or influence needed to make abuse reforms stick. Now local church messengers have asked the SBC’s Executive Committee to take on the task.

North Carolina pastor Clint Pressley elected SBC president

By Bob Smietana — June 12, 2024
(RNS) — Pressley, a North Carolina megachurch pastor, was elected after a pair of runoffs.

The Southern Baptists are meeting in Indianapolis. Here’s why it matters.

By Bob Smietana — June 10, 2024
INDIANAPOLIS (RNS) — More than 11,000 church members are expected to gather in Indianapolis for one of the largest, most influential church meetings of the year.

Church led by SBC candidate Clint Pressley reports volunteer to police for alleged abuse

By Bob Smietana — June 9, 2024
(RNS ) — Hickory Grove Baptist Church pastor Clint Pressley said that a student at the church's school reported the abuse, which was reported to police and child protection officials.

SBC abuse reform task force ends its work with no names on database and no long-term plan

By Bob Smietana — June 4, 2024
(RNS) — Their report marks the second time a proposed database for abusive pastors has been derailed.

Meet the six preachers who want to lead the Southern Baptist Convention

By Bob Smietana — June 4, 2024
(RNS) — The SBC presidency is perhaps the most influential volunteer religious job in the country. Though unpaid, the SBC president has a bully pulpit to tout his beliefs and shape the leadership of the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

Southern Baptist ethics committee says IVF is immoral, tells Christians to oppose it

By Bob Smietana — June 3, 2024
(RNS) — Echoing Catholic teaching, ERLC President Brent Leatherwood says the procedure causes moral harm and separates procreation from sex.

SBC seminary says former staffer ordered sex assault report destroyed

By Bob Smietana — May 29, 2024
(RNS) — The president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary says former chief of staff Heath Woolman told another staffer to make the report of a sexual assault ‘go away.’
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