Kimberly Winston, Religion News Service

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The Religious Wanderings of Bob Dylan, Nobel Laureate

Image via RNS/Reuters/Ki Price

Scholars of Dylan — and they are legion, with many offering entire courses on the singer’s record catalog — have long highlighted the religious imagery of his work. From Old Testament references in “All Along the Watchtower” (1967) and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” (1976) to the New Testament basis of “Gotta Serve Somebody” (1979) and the spiritual yearning of “Thunder on the Mountain” (2006), Dylan’s lyrics and music have long reflected his own restless, seeking soul.

Billy Graham's Ministry Tax Status Changes, Will 'Safeguard Religious Liberty'

Image via RNS/The Star-Ledger/John O'Boyle

The Internal Revenue Service has reclassified one of the most famous Christian organizations, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

At the request of the Graham organization, the IRS changed its tax status from a nonprofit to an “association of churches,” The NonProfit Times reported on Sept. 26. The change was made last November.

The change means the 66-year-old Christian organization no longer has to file what the IRS calls Form 990, a public statement of its financial information, including salaries for top officials. It will continue to publish an annual financial report, available to the public on its website.

Religion Reading List: Pumpkin Spice Edition

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Summer’s gone, and with it the breezier reading of the beach and the hammock. In its place comes a more serious reading list — more literary, less lightweight. Here are seven books where religion plays a role — though not a proselytizing or a self-help one — to read between the falling leaves.


Why Do Most People Leave Religion? They Just...Stop Believing

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“I think there are a lot of nones who miss singing in the choir, who would love to go into a building and hear a moving speech, but the minute someone starts talking about the Bible they check out. It no longer feels applicable to them. That’s a big challenge to the church.”

Americans Still Distrust Atheists and Muslims. The Reasons Why Are Changing.

Image via RNS/Reuters/Stephanie Keith

About 40 percent of Americans say atheists “do not at all agree” with their vision of America, according to a new study from sociologists at the University of Minnesota who compared Americans’ perceptions of minority faith and racial groups.

But the study marks a grimmer milestone — Americans’ disapproval of Muslims has jumped to 45.5 percent from just over 26 percent 10 years ago, the last time the question was asked.

And “nones” — those who say they have no religious affiliation, but may also have spiritual or religious beliefs — are also unpopular. This is significant because nones now make up one-third of the U.S. population.

The Spiritual Roots of the Olympic Games

Leaders pray next to the Olympic Flag in front of "Christ the Redeemer" statue during a blessing ceremony in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 19, 2012. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

The XXXI Olympic Games, the 16-day athletic love-fest that kicked off to a samba beat in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, are a secular endeavor featuring more fanfare than faith, more spectacle than spirit.

But it was not always so.

The Olympics — both the long-gone ancient version and the modern version unspooling this month — have deep religious and spiritual roots, which, some scholars say, are in jeopardy as every host city tries to go bigger, better, and more memorable than the last.

Simone Biles Brings Prayer to Rio

Gymnast Simone Biles

Gymnast Simone Biles laughs as she poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee media summit in Beverly Hills, Calif., on March 7, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

On the seventh day, Simone Biles rests.

That’s the day the world gymnastics champion, who has a clear shot at the medal podium in Rio, goes to church with her family.

Biles, a first-time Olympian, is a Catholic. She has said she routinely lights a candle to St. Sebastian, the patron saint of athletes and of Rio, before each meet.

How Well Does the DNC Platform Appeal to People of Faith?

Image via REUTERS / Mike Segar / RNS

The 2016 Democratic National Convention party platform includes much that religious progressives from multiple faith backgrounds might like. Approved July 25, it calls for expanding LGBT rights, combating climate change, and narrowing the income gap. Here are some of the hot-button social proposals.

5 Faith Facts About Tim Kaine: ‘I Do What I Do for Spiritual Reasons’

Courtesy of REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) wave to the crowd during a campaign rally at Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale, Va., on July 14, 2016. Courtesy of REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton announced Tim Kaine, the junior Democratic senator from Virginia and former governor of that state, as her vice presidential running mate Friday.

Kaine, a Roman Catholic, will appear with Clinton, a Methodist, at next week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

5 Faith Facts on Mike Pence, a ‘Born-Again, Evangelical Catholic’

Pence's unusual faith mix has shaped him as a politician.