Bob Smietana

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

All Stories by Bob Smietana

Feud with ex-president leads to lawsuit, alleged threats of violence at Calvin University

By Bob Smietana — April 15, 2024
(RNS) — The prominent evangelical school hired a former business executive as president in hopes of turning around years of decline. But his tenure ended abruptly after the board alleged he'd sent inappropriate messages to a woman he was not married to.

An Episcopal seminary found a solution to its fiscal woes. Then 7 bishops intervened.

By Bob Smietana — April 12, 2024
(RNS) — A group of seven New York-area bishops have objected to a long-term lease for General Episcopal Seminary, saying the lessee, a Catholic school, has a donor that does not support rights for gay, transgender and queer people.

As Trump hawks Bible, debate over ‘Christian America’ spreads outside church

By Bob Smietana — April 10, 2024
(RNS) — During the heyday of American churchgoing, some presidents sought to use religion to unite the country. In the age of Trump, it is one more thing to fight over.

Bruce Frank, former SBC abuse task force leader, joins crowded SBC presidential race

By Bob Smietana — April 2, 2024
(RNS) — The new SBC president will likely play a key role in the future of abuse reforms in the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

Calvin University board stands by its decision that former president had to go

By Bob Smietana — April 1, 2024
(RNS) — A group of Calvin alumni have reportedly asked the board of trustees for a third-party investigation into the board’s handling of the allegations against Boer.

Greg Locke says Easter Bible burning a sign that Christianity is under attack in America 

By Bob Smietana — April 1, 2024
(RNS) — The sheriff is investigating the burning of 200 Bibles in a trailer outside Locke's church on Easter Sunday.

In video ad, Donald Trump endorses ‘God Bless the USA’ Bible for every American home

By Bob Smietana — March 26, 2024
(RNS) — ‘Religion and Christianity are the biggest things missing from this country,’ said Trump in the promotional video.

Gallup poll: More than half of Americans rarely go to church

By Bob Smietana — March 25, 2024
(RNS) — The percentage of Americans who never attend services outnumbers those who go every week, according to a new Gallup report.

In ‘God Gave Rock & Roll to You,’ Leah Payne details the rise and fall of CCM

By Bob Smietana — March 25, 2024
(RNS) — For years, pastors, parents and music executives tried to harness the power of rock 'n' roll to reach the souls of teenagers. It worked — until it didn't.

A feud over a coffeemaker and Christmas decor leads to another Southern Baptist lawsuit

By Bob Smietana — March 22, 2024
(RNS) — The lawsuit, filed by former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Adam Greenway, is the latest of the seminary's long-term fiscal woes.

Southern Baptists elect Jeff Iorg to lead Executive Committee

By Bob Smietana — March 21, 2024
(RNS) — Iorg is best known for his long and steady leadership at Gateway Seminary in California. His election ends a two-and-a-half-year-long search for a new Executive Committee leader.

Charlie Dates counters John MacArthur’s declaration that MLK ‘was not a Christian’

By Adelle M. Banks and Bob Smietana — March 20, 2024
(RNS) — In an open letter, the Chicago pastor compares the California pastor to King opponents George Wallace and J. Edgar Hoover, calling MacArthur 'them in postmodern dress.'

In ‘Exvangelicals,’ Sarah McCammon looks at the fragility and power of religion

By Bob Smietana — March 20, 2024
(RNS) — While covering Donald Trump, NPR correspondent Sarah McCammon discovered a community of people who, like herself, no longer felt at home in the evangelical world they'd been raised in.

Thousands of churches will likely close down. What happens to all that real estate?

By Bob Smietana — March 15, 2024
(RNS) — A new book called 'Gone for Good' looks at the ways that churches could be reused for the public good in the future.

American Bible Society to shutter $60 million Faith and Liberty Discovery Center

By Bob Smietana — March 14, 2024
(RNS) — Exhibits at the state-of-the-art center sought to portray the role Scripture played in American history.
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