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NPR religion correspondent to speak at SU April 26

April 22, 2010

Rob Enslin
(315) 443-3403

Barbara Bradley Hagerty, religion correspondent for National Public Radio and author of the best-selling “Fingerprints of God” (Riverhead, 2009), will lead a public conversation titled “Investigating Religious Scandals: Exploring the Science of Spirituality and More” on Monday, April 26, at 12:45 p.m. in the Joyce Herghenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3.

Her lecture, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Religion and Society Program in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. For more information, call program director Gustav Niebuhr at (315) 443-5723.

People should not expect Hagerty to focus only on the recent scandal within the Catholic Church, says Niebuhr, associate professor of newspaper and online journalism in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. “Barbara’s talk will also draw from other news stories she has covered and from her book, which poses the age-old question: ‘Can science explain God?’” Niebuhr says. ”It is an excellent account of the interplay between religious faith and scientific discovery, a relationship that is historically fraught with tension and misunderstanding.”

Raised a Christian Scientist, Hagerty was a scrupulous adherent until a small moment as an adult triggered a revaluation of her beliefs. “Fingerprints of God”—named one of the top books of 2009 by The Christian Science Monitor and Publisher’s Weekly—recounts this personal journey. “It was in 2005, during a science and religion fellowship at Cambridge University, that Barbara realized she must address the recurring question: ‘Is there more than this?’” says Niebuhr. “’Fingerprints of God’ is her attempt to answer that question by diving into the emerging science of spirituality.”

Hagerty joined NPR in 1995, after serving as a correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, its nightly TV news program, “World Monitor,” and Monitor Radio. In 2003, she moved to NPR’s religion beat just as the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church and the culture wars under President George W. Bush were unfolding. Hagerty has won multiple awards for her religion reporting, including the Religion Newswriters Award and the 2009 Gracie Award for Women in Radio and Television.

Religion and Society is an interdisciplinary program that provides the opportunity to study the pervasive role of religion in contemporary society, especially in U.S. politics, international relations, economic development and popular culture—and in most facets of social change broadly conceived.

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