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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

ACNA Bishop Stewart Ruch, accused of spiritual abuse, ends voluntary leave  

By Bob Smietana — October 21, 2022
(RNS) — Ruch had stepped down after admitting serious mistakes in responding to abuse in his diocese. He still faces an investigation into alleged spiritual abuse.

In the past, Branson and the Ozarks drew liberal Christians — as well as Christian nationalists

By Bob Smietana — October 19, 2022
Both progressive leaders like famed Black theologian and mystic Howard Thurman — and extremists like the Rev. Gerald L.K. Smith of the Christian Nationalist Crusade — once made their way to the Ozarks.

In Branson, God and country serve as red, white and blue comfort food

By Bob Smietana — October 19, 2022
BRANSON, Mo. (RNS) — Patriotism and inspirational Christianity have long made Branson a hot spot of spiritual tourism, where weary pilgrims seek refuge from the troubles of modern life in a place that offers a nostalgic vision of America.

St. Sabina stands by Chicago priest Rev. Michael Pfleger amid second set of abuse allegations

By Bob Smietana — October 17, 2022
(RNS) — Church leaders dismissed the new allegations against him as a spiritual attack.

A $100 million ad campaign wants to fix Jesus’ image. His followers remain a problem.

By Bob Smietana — October 10, 2022
(RNS) — A major ad campaign for Jesus will expand in the months leading up to the Super Bowl. The He Gets Us campaign hopes to rescue the message of Jesus from the misdeeds of Christians.

LDS elder — a former college president — may have plagiarized General Conference talk

By Bob Smietana — October 6, 2022
(RNS) — Elder David Bednar, a former BYU-Idaho president, failed to tell listeners he was using material from an obscure religious teacher and other sources in his address.

Adam Greenway resigns as Southwestern Seminary president

By Bob Smietana — September 23, 2022
(RNS) — In resigning, Greenway said he was unprepared for the enormity of the 'legal and financial realities' facing the seminary.

Don Hinkle, longtime conservative Missouri Baptist editor, has died

By Bob Smietana — September 23, 2022
(RNS) — The longtime editor of The Pathway was known for his bowties, outspoken politics and his championing of conservative Southern Baptists.

Study: More than 3/4 of Republican evangelicals want US declared a Christian nation

By Bob Smietana — September 23, 2022
(RNS) — While some Christian groups would like the US government to make their faith the official religion of the US, a new poll shows most Americans know that would be unconstitutional.

Little churches still matter, says Martha’s Vineyard pastor of church that took in migrants

By Bob Smietana — September 16, 2022
(RNS) — Houses of worship on Martha's Vineyard have long worked together to meet the needs of their neighbors. So they were ready to spring into action when refugees arrived unexpectedly.

Brent Leatherwood, new ERLC president, says he won’t tell Christians how to vote

By Bob Smietana — September 16, 2022
(RNS) — A Southern Baptist ethicist and former Tennessee Republican staffer hopes to work closely with churches on their public witness.

Jules Woodson and tech exec team up to help abuse survivors get therapy and heal

By Bob Smietana — September 13, 2022
(RNS) — A new nonprofit called Help;Hear;Heal plans to fund counseling appointments for abuse survivors.

Fewer than half of Americans may be Christian by 2070, according to new projections

By Bob Smietana — September 13, 2022
(RNS) — A new report projects Americans' future — a future where Christianity, though diminished, persists, while non-Christian faiths grow amid rising secularization.

From shoeboxes to war zones: How Samaritan’s Purse became a $1 billion humanitarian aid powerhouse

By Yonat Shimron and Bob Smietana — September 9, 2022
NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. (RNS) — Now one of the largest US nonprofits, its growth has come largely through frontline work in public health crises and natural disasters around the world. 

AME bishops condemn leaders who took massive kickbacks from church sales in New York

By Bob Smietana — September 7, 2022
(RNS) — The kickbacks came from the sale of Black churches in New York, some of which had been in distress. Church leaders hid the transactions from church members and state officials.
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