Lauren Markoe, Religion News Service

Lauren Markoe covered government and features as a daily newspaper reporter for 15 years before joining the Religion News Service staff as a national correspondent in 2011.

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Barry Lynn Looks Back on 25 Years of Separating Church and State

Image via RNS/AU

After a quarter-century, the Rev. Barry Lynn is retiring as head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

In court, in congressional hearings, and on cable television, Lynn has led the fight against school-sponsored prayer, religious symbols on public property, and any law that allows government to privilege people of faith.

As Comey Testified, Trump Addressed Crowd of Conservative Christians: ‘We’re Under Siege’

President Trump addresses the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s "Road to Majority" conference in Washington, D.C., on June 8. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

“I want to know, who are the 19 percent?” Trump quipped, referring to those evangelicals who didn’t vote for him.  “Where did they come from?

Pence Defends Trump as a Champion of Catholic Values

Image via RNS/Reuters/Evan Vucci/Pool

Vice President Mike Pence — a onetime altar boy who became an evangelical Protestant — proclaimed President Donald Trump a faithful supporter of Catholic values at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, an event that sought to set aside any friction between the president and the pope.

“Let me promise all of you, this administration hears you. This president stands with you,” Pence said to the 1,300 gathered.

Religiously Affiliated Hospitals Win Supreme Court Pension Case

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/Duncan Lock

The 8-0 ruling reverses lower court decisions that sided with hospital workers who argued that the exemption from pension laws should not extend to hospitals affiliated with churches.

Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia Intensifies and Targets Children

Image via RNS/Jehovah's Witnesses

Since the Russian Supreme Court on April 20 declared the Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist group, its members have faced increasing harassment from both authorities and suspicious neighbors.

And last week, for the first time since the decision, a Jehovah’s Witness has been not only detained by police, but jailed by a judge.

N.J. Mosque Wins $3.25 Million in Settlement of Discrimination Case

Image via RNS/Becket

The settlement, announced by the Justice Department on May 30, was reached after the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge sued Bernards Township, about an hour’s drive west of New York City. The township, which held 39 hearings on the planned mosque — hearings which subjected mosque members to anti-Muslim tirades — had refused to issue buildings permits.

Can a Cyberattack Trigger a ‘Just War’?

Image via RNS/Adelle M. Banks

Just war theory can be adapted to address technological innovation, said Rev. Bryan Hehir at a panel in D.C. Monday.

Since Ban, Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses Is ‘Worse Than Ever’

Image via RNS/Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

Since the Russian Supreme Court labeled Jehovah’s Witnesses an “extremist” group, vandals have targeted followers and their banks accounts have been frozen. Stones were thrown at a St. Petersburg assembly hall, and someone tried to burn the Moscow home of a Jehovah’s Witness to the ground, a church spokesman said.

Trump Liberty Commencement Speech: ‘As Long As I Am Your President, No One Is Ever Going to Stop You From Practicing Your Faith’

Image via RNS/Reuters/Yuri Gripas

Donald Trump thanked conservative Christians for their votes, and promised to protect their values in his first commencement address as president, at evangelical stronghold Liberty University.

“In America, we don’t worship government, we worship God,” he said to raucous applause at the graduation, at the nation’s largest Christian university, on March 13, in Lynchburg, Va.

Muslim Births Projected to Outnumber Christian Births Globally by 2035

Image via RNS/Reuters/Fayaz Aziz

Within 20 years, the number of Muslim babies being born is expected to surpass Christian births — though there will still be more Christians in the world. Muslims currently account for about 24 percent of the world population, compared to 31 percent for Christians, according to the Pew Research Center.

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