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Religion, faith, and spirituality have always been at the core of American society.  

In 2017, a poll suggested that 69 percent of Americans thought that a belief in God was important to being an American. However, there are varying viewpoints on the role of church and religion--specifically Christianity--in their lives.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Los Angeles Teachers Return To Class

6 minutes ago

On Tuesday, Los Angeles teachers approved a deal with the school district — ending a six-day strike. By Wednesday morning, many educators were relieved to be back in the classroom.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Even in a normal year, taxes can be complicated and stressful — for taxpayers and IRS workers alike. But this year is shaping up to be worse than usual.

The IRS starts processing returns on Monday, implementing big changes in tax law while having to run on half the staff because of the ongoing government shutdown.

Jonas Mekas, an underground filmmaker whose influence looms as large as the archives he helped create, died Wednesday morning at the age of 96. The Lithuanian-born director, critic, archivist and poet died "peacefully at home, with family at his side," according to the Anthology Film Archives that he co-founded.

The organization did not specify the cause of his death.

About a year ago, Dr. Ako Jacintho of San Francisco returned home from traveling to find a letter from the state medical board waiting for him.

The letter explained that a patient he had treated died in 2012 from taking a toxic cocktail of methadone and Benadryl — and Jacintho was the doctor who wrote the patient's last prescription for methadone. He had two weeks to respond with a written summary of the care he had provided, and a certified copy of the patient's medical record. He faced fines of $1,000 per day if he didn't comply.

Earlonne Woods and Nigel Poor started the podcast Ear Hustle when Woods was a prisoner in San Quentin. Woods' sentence was recently commuted, but the two continue to tell stories of life behind bars.

Updated at 4:25 p.m. ET

President Trump promised to find an alternative setting for his State of the Union address, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., insisted he could not speak on the House floor until a partial government shutdown is over.

The president and the speaker traded barbed letters Wednesday, with Trump initially saying he wanted to deliver the speech next Tuesday in the House chamber — the traditional location.

Should the U.S. require its citizens to perform public service? Should its young women register for the draft?

A federal panel says it is working on answers to those questions — and is considering how the nation could implement a universal service program and whether it should be mandatory or optional.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself the country's interim president amid nationwide protests Wednesday, in a bid to seize power from sitting leader Nicolás Maduro.

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