Sarah Posner

Sarah Posner's coverage of religion and politics has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Week, and many others.

 

Recent Articles

How Contraception Court Challenge Hurts Religious Freedom

Conservatives have challenged the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate on the grounds that it tramples on their religious liberty, but a leading law professor argues that the lawsuit would undermine freedom of worship in the long run.

(Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
(Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) A demonstrator holds a sign in front of the Supreme Court on June 30, 2014. A bortion and contraception opponents have sued to block the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate on the grounds that it violates their freedom of religion, but the challenge now pending before the Supreme Court actually undermines religious liberty, argues University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock in a recent amicus brief before the court. In pointed language, Laycock calls the religious nonprofits’ arguments a “mortal threat” to the future of religious freedom. A win by the plaintiffs, he writes, “would lead to absurd results that would discredit” the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) “and the cause of religious liberty.” It could lead to, he argues, the end of religious exemptions if an overbroad ruling makes it impossible for legislators and government agencies to carve out reasonable ones. Laycock’s brief is significant because he has long been...

Anti-union SCOTUS Challenge Threatens Church-State Separation

The Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case not only puts public-sector unions in danger, it risks opening a new chapter in the war over religion in public schools. 

(Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photo: Shutterstock) A version of this article was originally published in the December 2015 issue of Clarion , the newspaper of the Professional Staff Congress-CUNY. O n Monday, the Supreme Court will take up Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case with profound implications for the future of public-sector labor unions, and the labor movement as a whole . At issue is the underpinning of public-sector unionism—that public employees who opt out of union membership can still be obligated to pay for their individual share of the services and collective bargaining they receive from the union. The Court could even decide to make union membership an opt-in rather than an opt-out proposition, allowing the public employees unions are required to represent to glean the benefits of representation without paying dues. While the plaintiffs in Friedrichs base their claims on a free speech argument that many find dubious, tucked away in the case lies another, real First Amendment...

Blurred Lines at the Border

AP Images/Matt Rourke
AP Images/Matt Rourke L ast year, during the height of the “religious freedom” fracas over the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraception-coverage requirement, three Catholic laywomen made the church’s case to an audience at the Catholic Information Center (CIC) in downtown Washington, D.C. Housed in an unassuming bookstore on K Street and operated by the controversial Opus Dei order , the CIC claims to cater to the spiritual needs of Washington’s political elites with daily mass as well as lectures and panels featuring prominent conservative pundits and activists. The “Women for Freedom” panel aimed to teach lay Catholics to “convince rather than antagonize” the public about the church’s stances on divisive issues, and, in the words of one panelist, “share and show love.” “Our goal,” said Kim Daniels, then the head of the organization Catholic Voices and now the spokesperson for the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), “is to make the church’s case in...

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