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When President Donald Trump selected retired Marine Gen. James Mattis for defense secretary, it was a rare choice. No recently retired general had been selected for the top Pentagon job since George Marshall, some 66 years earlier.

Here is a proposition that may seem self-evident to many people: As societies become more modern, religion loses its grip. People separate their religion from their institutions and from parts of their lives.

Sociologists have a name for this idea. They call it the "secularization thesis." Now, research suggests the story is more complicated.

In 1822, Thomas Jefferson suggested an early version of it, predicting that Unitarianism "will, ere long, be the religion of the majority from north to south."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Rhode Island Sends Out Double Tax Rebates

8 hours ago

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Gerald Chinchar, a Navy veteran who loves TV Westerns, isn't quite at the end of his life, but the end is probably not far away. The 77-year-old's medications fill a dresser drawer, and congestive heart failure puts him at high risk of emergency room visits and long hospital stays. He fell twice last year, shattering his hip and femur, and now gets around his San Diego home in a wheelchair.

Above all, Chinchar hopes to avoid another long stint in the hospital. He still likes to go watch his grandchildren's sporting events and play blackjack at the casino.

Friday, for the first time since 1983, a sitting president will address the National Rifle Association at the group's annual convention — when President Trump, along with a who's who of gun rights advocates, is scheduled to talk at the NRA Leadership Forum in Atlanta, Ga.

Waffle House Founders Die Less Than 2 Months Apart

10 hours ago

In 1949, Thomas Forkner Sr. was in the real estate business when he helped Joe Rogers Sr. buy a house.

Rogers was working for the Toddle House restaurant chain and he convinced Forkner to join him in starting their own restaurant.

The two opened the first 24-hour Waffle House on Labor Day in 1955 in the Atlanta suburb of Avondale Estates.

By the time they sold the business in the late 1970s, the chain had grown to 400 restaurants.

The Atlanta-based company that owns the chain now has more than 1,500 locations.

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