Hinduism is known as the oldest religion still being practiced, and it's one of the most popular in the world.

illustration of religious buildings and government building
Denis Dubrovinfilo, luplupme / iStock

President Trump signed an executive order Thursday relaxing political restrictions on religious groups. Among other provisions, Trump directs the IRS to ease up on faith-based organizations who may have had their tax-exempt status threatened for supporting a particular candidate. NPR reporters annotate the order, adding context and analysis.


Amanda Vinicky

Activists from across Illinois gathered in Springfield to recognize "Moral Monday."

Lisa Ryan/WUIS

Olympic gold medal winner Jackie Joyner-Kersee says she never imagined as a girl growing up in East St. Louis that she would one day speak at an event hosted by the governor. Gov. Bruce Rauner introduced her, but didn't stay for her speech.

"To the head table, I am honored to be in your presence. To, you know, the governor, he left," she said.

Rauner was scheduled to be in Chicago three hours after he left. He was originally supposed to give a presentation, but that was taken out of the program.

WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois law allows doctors to refuse to provide services and medications, like abortion and birth control, if it goes against their religious beliefs, but an effort backed by the ACLU and Planned Parenthood would make sure a doctor still provides patients with information about those options.

Sen. Daniel Biss proposes changing what's called the Right to Conscience Act to ensure patients receive information about all of their options, even if their doctor's religious beliefs mean the physician won't provide those services.

This I Believe: Gay Forever, Hell For Never

Feb 20, 2014
Gabe Knott headshot
Dan LoGrasso / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

You’re going to hell. Yes, you, the young male wearing the loud shirt, scarf, and skinny jeans. Yes, you, the student tutor with a 3.8 GPA, who aspires to have a family, who has goals for your life and a career in mind and who was baptized in a Southern Baptist church; none of that matters when the TRUTH is that you aren’t natural and neither are your actions.

Amanda Vinicky

The Rev. Jesse Jackson says he has not visited since his son reported to federal prison late last month.

Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is serving two-and-a-half years in a North Carolina penitentiary. He was convicted of corruption for spending $750,000 of his campaign fund on personal spoils.

"Well his health has been recovering and that has been, as father, the most important thing to me. He has been diligent in doing his work. And I have nothing further to say about that," Rev. Jackson said at the Capitol Thursday (11/7).

Springfield Catholic Bishop Thomas Paprocki sent this memo out earlier in the day Tuesday, prior to the march and rally in support of same sex marriage at the statehouse:

The Rainbow Sash Movement has encouraged Roman Catholics to come to Springfield to “have a loud Catholic presence for marriage equality.” They have announced plans to gather at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 4:30 p.m. just before the 5:15 p.m. Mass to stand in the Cathedral and indicate that they are there to pray the rosary for “marriage equality.”

This 198-foot cross looms high above the intersection of Interstates 57 and 70 in Effingham.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

In Effingham, at the intersection of two major interstates, stands a 198-foot cross that puts motorists on notice: This is God’s country. One needs only to look at the vote totals in this region to find out why it’s a fitting location for the towering landmark.

In recent elections, voters have routinely chosen socially conservative candidates. It is one of the rare pockets of Illinois where conservative Republican Alan Keyes beat Barack Obama in Keyes’ ill-fated 2004 U.S. Senate race.

President Obama didn’t fare well in the area again on November 4.


In 1870, Illinois' wise heads gathered to draw up a new and better state Constitution. One of the ways it might be better, argued one delegate, was for Bible-reading to be required in the public’s schools. He explained that the Bible — by which he meant the Christian Bible, that is the Christian Protestant Bible, and of course the King James version of the Christian Protestant Bible — was the only book that explained why the world was as it is. Such was its wisdom that it even explained that part of the world that since 1818 had called itself Illinois. 

In the weeks that followed Hurricane Katrina, the Chicago area's largest Christian evangelical churches amassed an astonishing amount of manpower, cash and goods.

The 20,000-member Willow Creek Community Church raised $800,000. The South Barrington church also bused 25 volunteers to Waveland, Miss., to help rebuild the Gulf Coast city of 7,000. 

And every four days, the church deployed another volunteer shift of 25. 

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Why can't politicians behave like the work-for-tomorrow ant instead of the live-in-the-moment grasshopper?

Illinois Issues raised this question in January as we launched our year-long celebration of the magazine's 30th anniversary. In his thought-provoking response, political scientist Christopher Mooney explained why this state's elected officials have little incentive to plan ahead. 

Civil society is on the tips of many tongues these days. This shouldn't surprise us — not in the American democracy. American civic life was not lopsidedly state-centered, as in Europe, but more dispersed, more open to citizens within the purview of their particular communities. 

When we speak of civil society, we call to mind that world of associational enthusiasm that so enchanted Alexis de Tocqueville when he toured the fledgling republic during the Jacksonian era.