Barbara Bradley Hagerty

Barbara Bradley Hagerty is the religion correspondent for NPR, reporting on the intersection of faith and politics, law, science and culture. Her New York Times best-selling book, "Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality," was published by Riverhead/Penguin Group in May 2009. Among others, Barb has received the American Women in Radio and Television Award, the Headliners Award and the Religion Newswriters Association Award for radio reporting.

Before covering the religion beat, Barb was NPR's Justice Department correspondent between 1998 and 2003. Her billet included the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, Florida's disputed 2000 election, terrorism, crime, espionage, wrongful convictions and the occasional serial killer. Barbara was the lead correspondent covering the investigation into the September 11 attacks. Her reporting was part of NPR's coverage that earned the network the 2001 George Foster Peabody and Overseas Press Club awards. She has appeared on the PBS programs Washington Week and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Barb came to NPR in 1995, after attending Yale Law School on a one-year Knight Fellowship. From 1982-1993, she worked at The Christian Science Monitor as a newspaper reporter in Washington, as the Asia correspondent based in Tokyo for World Monitor (the Monitor's nightly television program on the Discovery Cable Channel) and finally as senior Washington correspondent for Monitor Radio.

Barb was graduated magna cum laude from Williams College in 1981 with a degree in economics, and has a masters in legal studies from Yale Law School.

Pages

Religion
11:01 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Vatican Declares Boy's Recovery A 'Miracle'

Barbara Bradley Hagerty NPR

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 10:57 am

In February 2006, 5-year-old Jake Finkbonner fell and hit his head while playing basketball at his school in Ferndale, Wash. Soon, he developed a fever and his head swelled. His mother, Elsa, rushed him to Seattle Children's Hospital, where the doctors realized Jake was battling a flesh-eating bacterium called Strep A.

"It traveled all around his face, his scalp, his neck, his chest," she recalls, "and why it didn't travel to his brain or his eyeballs or his heart? He was protected."

Read more
Remembrances
11:32 am
Fri December 16, 2011

For Hitchens, In Life And Death, An Unaware Cosmos

Christopher Hitchens, shown here in 2010, began a lifelong battle with a God he didn't believe in when he was just 9 years old.
David Levenson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 9:29 pm

Writer Christopher Hitchens, who died on Thursday from complications of cancer at the age of 62, leaves behind some 18 books and countless essays on politics and public figures. But his most lasting legacy may be his atheism and his long-running duel with what he considered the world's most dangerous threat: religion.

Read more
Newt Gingrich
4:16 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Why Some Evangelicals Back Thrice-Wed Gingrich

Newt Gingrich, shown with his wife, Callista Gingrich, attends a pre-debate rally sponsored by the Faith and Freedom Coalition earlier this year in Florida. The thrice-married former House speaker, who cheated on his first two wives and was punished by the House for ethical violations, is now outperforming family man Mitt Romney among Iowa's evangelicals.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 9, 2011 11:37 am

One of the puzzles of the Republican presidential campaign is Newt Gingrich's appeal to religious conservatives. The irony is that Gingrich, a Catholic convert who has had three marriages, is outperforming Romney, a lifelong Mormon and family man. In fact, less than a month before the Iowa caucuses, the former speaker of the House has three times the support of evangelicals in that state that Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, does.

Read more
Music News
2:36 pm
Fri November 25, 2011

New Liturgy Reanimates Catholic Music

Members of the St. Agnes Catholic Church choir sing during Sunday Mass. From left to right: Donald Hukle, Ray Valido, Richard Samp, Jack Grace and Ben Robles.
Peter Maher Courtesy of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians

Originally published on Sat November 26, 2011 4:17 pm

When Catholics arrive at church for the beginning of Advent this weekend, they may find themselves stumbling over not only the words, but also the music. The Vatican has changed the English-speaking Mass to make it more faithful to the Latin — and as a result, the sung portions of the Mass often don't work.

It's the most dramatic change in more than 40 years, and it has Mike McMahon working overtime with his choir.

Read more
Religion
11:01 pm
Thu November 24, 2011

New Catholic Mass Already Causing A Stir

This weekend, the words and music of the English-language Mass will be different.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon November 28, 2011 6:33 am

This weekend, Catholics may experience a little surprise when they attend Mass. The words and music are different, thanks to the first major change of the English-language Mass in more than 40 years.

For many practicing Catholics, this will be a major adjustment.

So on a recent Sunday, the Rev. Chester Snyder of St. Joseph's church in Mechanicsburg, Pa., did a trial run through the new liturgy with his parishioners.

Read more
Law
11:01 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Penn State Scandal Emboldens Other Abuse Victims

The man said the advances began when he was 10 years old. He was a fourth-grader and an altar boy at a Catholic school in Hudson, Mass. He said the priest would try to touch the altar boys when they were putting on their robes, and he'd invite them to the rectory, one at a time.

"He'd want to show us pornographic magazines, and ask us to take our pants down, and he'd take his pants down and expose himself and things like that," he said.

Read more
Religion
12:45 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Vatican To Host Stem Cell Research Conference

Originally published on Tue November 1, 2011 6:23 pm

A few years ago, Father Tomasz Trafny was brainstorming with other Vatican officials about what technologies would shape society, and how the Vatican could have an impact. And it hit them: Adult stem cells, which hold the promise of curing the most difficult diseases, are the technology to watch.

"They have not only strong potentiality," says Trafny, "but also they can change our vision of human being[s], and we want to be part of the discussion."

Read more
Religion
1:32 pm
Thu October 20, 2011

Controversy Erupts Over Sex-Segregated Brooklyn Bus

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 8:14 pm

It's been a few decades since Americans were engaged in a back-of-the-bus controversy. Now a popular bus route between two New York City neighborhoods is reviving the issue.

Last Wednesday, Melissa Franchy boarded the B110 from Williamsburg to Boro Park, two Hasidic Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn. She was accompanying her friend, Sasha Chavkin, a reporter for The New York World, a Columbia Journalism School publication. Their mission: Find out what would happen if Franchy sat at the front of the bus.

Read more
Around the Nation
4:41 pm
Wed October 19, 2011

Amish Reel From Bizarre Beard-Cutting Attacks

Sam Mullet, father of two of the three men arrested for allegedly going into the home of other Amish and cutting their hair and beards, is seen outside his home in Bergholz, Ohio. Some who have left Mullet's community have accused him of abuse.

Amy Sancetta AP

Originally published on Wed October 19, 2011 5:56 pm

On the night of Oct. 4, Myron and Arlene Miller were asleep in their home in Mechanicstown, Ohio, when they heard a knock on the door. According to their friend Bob Comer, when Myron came downstairs, he found five men standing on his doorstep.

"They pulled him out in the front yard, and they have scissors and a battery-powered shaver and everything," Comer says. "They're trying to hold him down and cut his beard off and cut his hair off."

Miller yelled at his wife to call 911. Then the men let him go and ran back to the trailer and had the driver take off, Comer says.

Read more
2 Languages, Many Voices: Latinos In The U.S.
11:01 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

U.S. Hispanics Choose Churches Outside Catholicism

Natalie Ochoa (left) and her mother, Betty Ochoa, say that services at the New Life Covenant church are less formal than those of the Catholic church they once attended.

Barbara Bradley Hagerty NPR

Originally published on Wed October 19, 2011 12:21 pm

As their numbers grow, Latinos are not only changing where and how they worship; they're also beginning to affect the larger Christian faith.

You can see evidence of that in the Assemblies of God, once a historically white, suburban Pentecostal denomination. When you walk into the denomination's largest church, it's sensory overload: The auditorium is jam-packed with hundreds of Latino worshipers singing in Spanish, swaying and dancing.

Read more
Religion
11:01 pm
Mon October 17, 2011

Doomsday Redux: Prophet Says World Will End Friday

On the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in May, David Liquori (right) talks with passersby.

Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Mark your calendars: The world is ending on Oct. 21.

This announcement comes from Harold Camping, the doomsday prophet who said Judgment Day would come on May 21, 2011. On that day, a rolling earthquake was supposed to devastate the world. True believers would join Jesus in heaven. Unbelievers would be tormented for the next five months.

So, when May 21 came and nothing happened, Camping had some explaining to do. Two days later, Camping, the head of Family Radio Network, announced he had been right about the date of God's wrath — just not the method.

Read more
Around the Nation
7:00 am
Sat October 15, 2011

Bishop Indicted: A First For The Abuse Scandal

A grand jury has indicted the Roman Catholic bishop of Kansas City for failing to report suspected child sexual abuse. Bishop Robert Finn has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of not reporting to police that he had seen child pornography on a priest's computer. It's the first time a bishop has been indicted since the church abuse scandal became public 25 years ago. NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports.

Religion
3:39 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

The Hard Economics of High Holy Days

Over the next two weeks, some 5,000 people will fill the sanctuaries at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C., to pray, worship and remember their spiritual roots.

"Rosh Hashana is a time of renewal, and it's a time of reconnecting with what really matters for us as a Jewish people," Rabbi Gil Steinlauf says.

The Jewish New Year is a time of spiritual awe — and practical considerations. Unlike churches, most synagogues charge membership dues to keep the lights on and fund the programs, because they are autonomous and do not receive funding from a national body.

Read more

Pages