Religion News Service (RNS) is a news agency covering religion, ethics, spirituality and moral issues. RNS employs a network of correspondents providing news and information on all faiths and religious movements to newspapers, magazines, broadcast organizations and religious publications. It also features commentary by Richard Mouw, Thomas J. Reese, Jana Riess, Mark Silk and other columnists, and offers a press release distribution service. RNS wire reports are distributed to secular and faith-based news outlets alike, including The Washington Post, USA Today, Christian Century and Sojourners.
Religion News Service was founded in 1934 by journalist Louis Minsky as an independent, nonprofit affiliate of National Conference of Christians and Jews. It is a secular news agency that does not endorse or promote any particular creed, faith or tradition. The United Methodist Reporter bought RNS in 1983, and in 1994, Newhouse News Service, a major publisher of daily newspapers and magazines, purchased it and changed its name to Religion News Service. In 2011, RNS was sold to the Religion Newswriters Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of the Religion Newswriters Association.
RNS is owned by Religion News LLC, a nonprofit, limited-liability corporation led by CEO and publisher Thomas Gallagher, and based at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. RNS is governed by a Board of Managers, including Jerry Pattengale, in partnership with Religion News Foundation.
In April 2015, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) published an article disclosing that RNS had received a grant of $120,000 from the Arcus Foundation, an LGBT-rights advocacy organization, with the stated intent “to recruit and equip LGBT supportive leaders and advocates to counter rejection and antagonism within traditionally conservative Christian churches.” The CNA story questioned whether the grant had biased RNS's coverage of traditional religion, specifically citing an RNS article on Cardinal Raymond Burke. In response to the CNA report, RNS's then editor-in-chief Kevin Eckstrom denied that the Arcus grant had any influence over editorial decisions at RNS and noted that the grant language is “Arcus’ description of their funding, not ours.” The grant proposal to the Arcus Foundation had stressed only the need to “increase and improve domestic and international coverage of how religion affects a diverse range of LGBT communities.”
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