Sarah Posner

Sarah Posner is a senior correspondent for Religion Dispatches and an investigative journalist whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, The Nation and many other publications.

 

Recent Articles

Rand Paul Plays God Politics

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin Senator Rand Paul at a forum on immigration organized by the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference A s Senator Rand Paul delivered his keynote speech on immigration reform at yesterday's gathering of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, anxieties about the GOP’s identity crisis rippled through the room. The likely 2016 presidential hopeful spoke briefly in Spanish before discussing his Christian faith and opposition to abortion. He assured his audience he got them: “Man’s humanity to man is how we will be judged,” he said. The religious undertone of Paul’s remarks stood in stark contrast to the rest of the event, which focused on the economic and border-security provisions of the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill, currently being debated on the floor of the Senate. This highlights the competing interests pro-reform Republicans are scrambling to satisfy. On the one hand, pro-...

Onward Christian Voters

Religious-right Republicans will need a new Huckabee, but the party establishment probably won't like whoever it is.

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Before former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee decided not to run for the Republican nomination for president in 2012, he launched a site for followers to pray for him. Most candidates check the polls and see where their fundraising is. Huckabee (he would have us believe, at least) asked God. But he's not an elitist about his connection to the Almighty. You have one, too, he says: "I humbly ask that you would join me in prayer as I seek to discern His will for my life." Better than voting, you can help this guy discern God's will! This, and his announcement on his Fox News program Saturday night that his "heart says no" to another presidential run, was a perfect example of Huckabee's unique way of putting a spiritual spin on what is undoubtedly a calculated, political, and even a financial decision. While the GOP base has long favored God-talk from its candidates, Huckabee would have been the candidate most beloved by the religious-right foot soldiers even as many in the Republican...

Submitting to the Christian Right

The press ignores the influence of religious conservatives on Republican lawmakers bent on curbing the rights of American women.

Rep. Dan Webster of Florida (AP Photo/Phil Coale)
Last fall, when then-Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida aired a campaign ad calling his Republican opponent Daniel Webster "Taliban Dan," a collective, dismissive groan rumbled from the political commentariat. "Has Alan Grayson gone too far?" pondered Politico . But the question, despite the ad's shortcomings, should have been: Is Dan Webster, an evangelical Christian and staunch social conservative, too radical for the United States Congress? Whatever the wisdom of using the term "Taliban Dan," Grayson was onto something that should have, if properly examined, provided clues to the Republican-controlled Congress' fixation with cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood. That such a question doesn't get asked is a function of how Congress has already gone too far -- and not in Grayson's direction. The Webster campaign should have given ample evidence that the Tea Party was full of religious zealots bent on undermining the rights of women. By failing to fully interrogate so-called...

The Lord Is My Insurer

Conservative Christians have found a way around health-care reform's individual mandate.

James Lansberry, vice-president of Samaritan Ministries, in a still from an informational video. (Samaritan Ministries)
"Who is this Barack Obama who mocks the armies of the living God?" demanded James Lansberry, Christian crusader against government-regulated health care, last summer in the heat of the battle over reform. Since the health-care reform bill passed last month, Lansberry has become a hot commodity on the conservative talk-radio circuit where he sings the praises of health-care-sharing ministries (HCSMs), Christian nonprofit organizations through which members agree to cover each others? health-care costs. As president of the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries, Lansberry, and his team of lobbyists, had persuaded Senate lawmakers to exempt alliance members from the individual mandate. That exemption, Lansberry said, made those ministries "an island of freedom amidst this terrible piece of reform legislation" and "the last pro-life option for Christians of faith." The exemption raises an array of concerns, including constitutional questions about the limits of such religious...

Cracks In The Catholic Armor.

It might look like Rep. Bart Stupak , the crucial holdout for more draconian restrictions on abortion in the health-care bill, was swayed, finally, by the executive order reiterating that The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act upholds the ban on federal funding of abortion. For months Stupak, carrying the water of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, had insisted that the Senate bill failed to ensure that federal funds wouldn't somehow help pay for an abortion. He was cheered on not only by the USCCB but by the hardcore anti-abortion right, which largely didn't want health-care reform anyway. But Stupak had been under pressure to find a way out of his relentless opposition to the Senate bill. Over the past few weeks, Catholics and Catholic groups who previously had not contested the bishops' stance began to speak out. More than two weeks ago, Catholics United, a group founded after the 2004 election "to promote the U.S. Catholic Bishops' 2003 document 'Faithful Citizenship...

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