Peter Smith is an author at Religion News Service.
All Stories by Peter Smith
Families had long dialogue after Pittsburgh synagogue attack. Now they’ve unveiled a memorial design
By Peter Smith — December 7, 2023
PITTSBURGH (AP) — In the design, a walkway leads visitors into garden memorial with 11 sculpted forms of open books, each representing one of the victims.
Timekeepers no more, rank-and-file Jehovah’s Witnesses say goodbye to tracking proselytizing hours
By Peter Smith — November 27, 2023
For the first time since 1920, leaders of the Jehovah's Witnesses have removed the hours-reporting requirement for rank-and-file adherents.
America’s nonreligious are a growing, diverse phenomenon
By Peter Smith — October 9, 2023
(AP) — The decades-long rise of the nones — a diverse, hard-to-summarize group — is one of the most talked about phenomena in U.S. religion.
The gunman who killed 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue is found eligible for the death penalty
By Peter Smith — July 13, 2023
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Testimony is now expected to shift to the impact of Bowers’ crimes on survivors and the victims’ loved ones.
The Pittsburgh synagogue gunman should be eligible for the death penalty, prosecutor argues
By Peter Smith — July 13, 2023
PITTSBURGH (AP) — To reach the threshold of eligibility, the jury must conclude Bowers formed the intent to kill and that there was at least one aggravating factor that made the crime especially heinous.
Authorities charge 5 more in probe of child sexual abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses in Pennsylvania
By Maryclaire Dale and Peter Smith — July 10, 2023
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Critics say that Jehovah's Witnesses elders have treated child sexual abuse as a sin rather than a crime, documenting complaints in internal files but not reporting them to authorities.
Catholic bishops’ president calls for better border management, continued care for immigrants
By Peter Smith — June 16, 2023
ORLANDO, Florida (AP) — Broglio voiced skepticism about the trend of some governors shipping migrants elsewhere — typically from red to blue states amid a wider ideological clash over how to respond to asylum seekers and other migrants.
‘Felt like a year’: Worshipper describes fear during gunman’s deadly attack on Pittsburgh synagogue
By Peter Smith — June 1, 2023
Robert Bowers, a truck driver from the Pittsburgh suburbs, could face the death penalty if he’s convicted of some of the 63 counts he faces in the Oct. 27, 2018, attack, which claimed the lives of worshippers from three congregations using the city's Tree of Life synagogue.
Lawyers for Pittsburgh synagogue defendant admit he carried out deadliest US antisemitic attack
By Peter Smith — May 31, 2023
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Bowers’ defense acknowledged at the outset of his federal trial that he was the gunman, but hope to spare the suburban truck driver a possible death sentence over the Oct. 27, 2018, massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue.
Jury selection begins over 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue attack
By Peter Smith and Mark Scolforo — April 24, 2023
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The families of those killed were divided over whether the government should pursue the death penalty, but most were in favor.
Charges put focus on Jehovah’s Witnesses’ handling of abuse
By Mark Scolforo and Peter Smith — April 19, 2023
YORK HAVEN, Pa. (AP) — In the charges against nine Pennsylvania men, court records state that all the defendants have ties to the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith, though in some cases it’s unclear how their faith might relate to the criminal allegations.
Black church, NHL’s Penguins reach historic land-use accord
By Peter Smith — April 17, 2023
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The battle is a microcosm of a larger one over the legacy of the 1950s project, in which leaders in the Black community have long sought redress from the powers that be in Pittsburgh’s political, business and sports realms.
Grassroots faith leaders navigate a Northern Ireland in flux
By Peter Smith — April 4, 2023
(AP) — The peace that came with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement 25 years ago has periodically threatened as Catholic and Protestants remain segregated in many ways.
Saddleback Church doubles down on support for female pastors
By Deepa Bharath and Peter Smith — March 1, 2023
(AP) — “I’m serving Jesus under the authority and in alignment with my spiritual leaders,” said Stacie Wood, teaching pastor at Saddleback Church.
Shapiro’s big win is a high note amid antisemitism surge
By Peter Smith — December 27, 2022
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Josh Shapiro will be taking office as Pennsylvania's next governor in January after running a campaign in which he spoke early and often about his Jewish religious heritage.
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