Tracy Gordon

Tracy Gordon is an author at Religion News Service.

All Stories by Tracy Gordon

Well before Romney, Mormon founder Joseph Smith ran for president

October 25, 2012

On June 27, 1844 Mormon prophet Joseph Smith's presidential campaign was cut short by a barrage of bullets. He's the first presidential candidate to be assassinated, according to historians. 

Mormons lower age for missionaries, setting off changes for parents, women, schools

October 8, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) In a surprising move that promises to transform Mormon social and spiritual dynamics, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is lowering the age of full-time missionary service to age 18 for Mormon men (down from 19) and 19 for women (down from 21). By Peggy Fletcher Stack and Lisa Schencker/The Salt Lake Tribune.

Should our bodies become bullets after death?

October 7, 2012

(RNS) When he dies, Clem Parnell expects his soul to ascend heavenward. He wants his ashes to be loaded into a shotgun shell and blasted at a turkey. “I will rest in peace knowing that the last thing that turkey will see is me screaming at him at about 900 feet per second,” says Parnell, […]

St. Louis Catholics react to native son Bishop Finn’s conviction

September 10, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (RNS) Bishop Robert Finn, a St. Louis native who was ordained in the St. Louis Archdiocese, is the first U.S. bishop convicted of failing to report criminal sexual activity by a priest. Local Catholics were polite but not subtle about the court ruling. By Jesse Bogan and Tim Towsend.

The roots of Rep. Todd Akin’s rape remarks

August 22, 2012

ST. LOUIS (RNS) Two pages from a 1972 article have influenced two generations of anti-abortion activists hoping to build a medical case to ban all abortions without exception. By Tim Townsend and Blythe Bernhard.

Sikh temple shooting victims remembered for kindness, generosity

August 8, 2012

(RNS) The six Sikhs killed Sunday at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin died as they lived, shot down amid acts of prayer and kindness. 

Aurora worshippers seek solace, guidance after movie theater shooting

July 23, 2012

AURORA, Colo. (RNS) Worshippers in this city rocked by Friday's mass shooting flocked to church Sunday, seeking solace within their faith communities.

As candidates run for office, some run from their church

July 20, 2012

(RNS) On a recent Sunday, Rep. Michele Bachmann offered an Iowa church an intimate account of her pilgrimage from apathetic teenager to devout Christian whose faith has persevered through hardship, including a miscarriage. But when a reporter asked about the churches her family has attended, the Republican presidential candidate went mum. “We're not here to […]

Can a creedless religion make it another 50 years?

June 29, 2012

BALTIMORE (RNS) A recent Sunday service at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore ended with an apology. Laurel Mendes explained that religious doctrine had been duly scrubbed from the hymns in the congregation's Sunday program. But Mendes, a neo-pagan lay member who led the service, feared that a reference to God in “Once to Every […]

Richard Land accused of lifting Trayvon Martin comments

April 16, 2012

(RNS) Richard Land, the Southern Baptist Convention's top public policy ethicist, has been accused of plagiarism after he criticized Democrats and civil rights leaders for exploiting the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. By Greg Horton.

Man behind ‘near-death experience’ ponders the afterlife

April 12, 2012

(RNS) In his new memoir, “Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife,” Raymond Moody, the man who coined the term “near-death experience,” takes a look back, reflecting on his fascination with death, the effect of his life's work, and pondering what it's all meant. By Piet Levy.

Religious questions for Pa. voter ID law draw fire

April 12, 2012

HARRISBURG, Pa. (RNS) Pennsylvania Amish and Mennonites can get an ID card if they have religious objections to being photographed after answering a series of questions on their faith and other personal information. Now that the state has passed one of the nation's toughest voter ID laws to prevent voter fraud, the scope of the questions is drawing criticism. By Jan Murphy.

Five years later, mother of Virginia Tech victim wrestles with God, finds peace

April 11, 2012

CENTREVILLE, Va. (RNS) It's been five years since Celeste Peterson's only daughter was killed in a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech. And while the grieving mother has rediscovered her faith, it hasn't been easy. At first, her prayers were near obligatory: “Thank you for this day. I'm not talking to you. Amen.” By B. Denise Hawkins.

British lawmakers approve prayer at town halls

April 10, 2012

LONDON (RNS) The British government has fasttracked the right of cities and towns to hold prayers as part of their official business, overriding a High Court order to stop the practice. By Al Webb.

Gay BYU students say ‘It Gets Better’ on Mormon campus

April 10, 2012

PROVO, Utah (RNS) Officials at Mormon-owned Brigham Young University say a group of two dozen students who posted a video about being gay will not face trouble as long as they abide by the school's no-sex honor code. By Rosemary Winters.

Page 1 of 335