Tom Gjelten

From the U.S. Senate race in Alabama to the tax debate in the U.S. Congress, the role of religion in American politics is once again front and center.

In Alabama, Republican candidate Roy Moore is an unabashed Christian nationalist, arguing that the United States was established as a Christian nation, to be governed by Christian principles.

I have covered many wars during my years at NPR, but never did I encounter such a monstrous man as Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb army commander likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.

I first heard his name when I was staying in Sarajevo in June 1992. It was a time of constant and brutal shelling carried out on the explicit orders of Mladic, who was intent on terrorizing and dividing the city and killing or expelling all non-Serbs.

With his U.S. Senate campaign in Alabama suddenly endangered by allegations that he had sexually abused a minor, GOP candidate Roy Moore sought to turn the crisis to his political advantage by portraying it as an "us vs. them" confrontation.

"We are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message," he tweeted.

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The newest museum in Washington, D.C., is a $500 million institution dedicated to a single book.

The privately funded Museum of the Bible, set to open Nov. 17, will focus on biblical history, biblical stories and the Bible's impact on the world.

"We only have one mission statement," says Cary Summers, the museum president, "and that is to engage people with the Bible."

Five hundred years after a rebellious act by a single German monk divided the Christian world, religious leaders on both sides of that split have finally agreed their churches share responsibility for the historic rupture.

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It will be months before we learn how much Hurricane Maria costs Puerto Rico. The island was already facing bankruptcy. Now its fortunes are even lower. NPR's Tom Gjelten reports that the smallest businesses are in the most trouble.

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We are only about 24 hours past this shooting. NPR's Tom Gjelten, you've been covering this all day. And I want to ask you, what do you think we should expect that of the investigation tomorrow and in the coming days?

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Christians And DACA

Sep 7, 2017

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In churches across Houston on Sunday, pastors struggled to tell their parishioners why a God they believed to be good might have allowed a storm of Biblical proportion to flood their city.

"God causes it to happen, but He has a reason," Pastor Gary Smith told the worshippers at Fifth Ward Church of Christ in northeast Houston. "We don't comprehend what God has planned for us."

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Updated August 19.

President Trump's belated and halfhearted denunciation of the hate groups that marched in Charlottesville, Virginia., has cost him the support of numerous business leaders and fellow Republicans and prompted at least a half-dozen nonprofit organizations to cancel planned fundraising events at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

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Christians who have come to the United States seeking refuge from persecution should be a natural constituency for Donald Trump.

During his campaign and in his early weeks in office, Trump highlighted the plight of Christians around the world who suffer for their beliefs. "Christians in the Middle East have been executed in large numbers," he tweeted in January. "We cannot allow this horror to continue!"

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Religion has played an outsized role in U.S. history and politics, but it's one that has often gone unrecognized in U.S. museums.

"As a focused subject area, it's been neglected," says Peter Manseau, a scholar and writer installed last year as the first full-time religion curator at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.

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Immigration authorities have rounded up nearly 200 Iraqis in recent weeks, and the Trump administration is now under heavy pressure to hold off moves to deport them.

Many of those currently detained are from the minority Chaldean Christian community, which faces severe persecution in Iraq.

U.S. immigration authorities say the detained Iraqis have criminal records, but their families and supporters say many have already served time or paid their fines and that they would face persecution if sent back.

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Saturday's nationwide "March Against Sharia," sponsored by a group known for aggressively criticizing Islam, has in recent days become a rallying cause for right-wing extremists, forcing march organizers to repudiate some of their own supporters and prompting concern about clashes with militant leftists.

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By heading straight to the homelands of Islam, Judaism and Christianity on his first presidential trip, Donald Trump took a major risk. The possibility of offending his hosts somewhere along the way with an ill-considered tweet or offhand remark loomed large. Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican are places where appearances matter and words must be chosen carefully.

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