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

ABORTION REDUCTION GAMESMANSHIP.

Dan Gilgoff has a thinly reported post in which he speculates, based on one anonymous congressional source, that the White House is "leaning" towards supporting the Pregnant Women's Support Act (PWSA). If true -- and Gilgoff offers little evidence it is -- this would represent a remarkable about-face for the administration. Since President Obama's Notre Dame speech, there's been a bit of a rumor mill, particularly on Catholic blogs, that his "common ground" rhetoric suggested that he supports PWSA. ( Alexia Kelley , Obama's new appointee to lead the faith-based center at the Department of Health and Human Services, does.) But Obama's rhetoric at Notre Dame is no different from the rhetoric he's used all along. The administration has long stated it supports measures that "reduce the need for abortion" by preventing unintended pregnancies. It does not say it seeks to "reduce the number of abortions" by implementing measures to discourage women from having them, or making them more...

The FundamentaList (No. 84)

This week in religion and politics: An HHS appointment raises questions about the purpose of faith-based offices, and religious leaders mourn the assassination of George Tiller.

1. HHS Faith-Based Appointment: Kerfuffle or Crisis? Last Thursday, President Barack Obama tapped Alexia Kelley to lead the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Health and Human Services. The appointment did not, as some commentators described it, cause a "kerfuffle" or "skirmish" between the "religious left" and "religious progressives," whatever those terms mean. The appointment of the executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG) isn't really about disputes between religious figures; it's about something much more urgent. It raises serious doubts about the wisdom of having an Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (OFBNP) at all. It is now obvious that it is impossible to have a religiously neutral program. The White House has insisted that the faith-based centers in a dozen federal agencies are intended to bolster capacity in faith-based and community organizations to deliver social services. If that's the...

CATHOLICS UNITED DECLARES WAR ON CATHOLICS FOR CHOICE.

"Catholics for Choice Joins the Far Right, Attacks Common Ground," screams the press release from Catholics United (CU), which is defending the choice of Alexia Kelley to lead the center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Health and Human Services. Catholics for Choice (CFC) yesterday criticized the pick because of Kelley's opposition to abortion. CU is led by Chris Korzen , Kelley's co-author of the book A Nation for All , and the former communications director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG), the organization Kelley leads. In the press release, Korzen states: Catholics United is profoundly disappointed by Catholics for Choice's simplistic, incendiary, and unhelpful reaction to President Obama's appointment of Alexia Kelley to this important post. . . . [CFC president Jon] O'Brien's statement, as well as his report attacking Catholics in Alliance and Catholics United for our own efforts to find common ground, is a roadblock to...

ABORTION FOE TO LEAD HHS FAITH-BASED OFFICE.

President Obama has appointed Alexia Kelley , executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG), to head the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Health and Human Services. Kelley is a leading proponent of "common ground" abortion reduction -- only CACG's common ground is at odds with that of Obama. While the administration favors reducing the need for abortion by reducing unintended pregnancies, Kelley has made clear that she seeks instead to reduce access to abortion. That is an extremely disturbing development, especially coming this week in the wake of George Tiller 's assassination. Under George W. Bush , the faith-based centers didn't play a policy role. But Obama has expanded the faith-based project to include a policy side, and one of its chief goals is to reduce the need for abortion. I have opposed this, because reproductive health is a public health, not a religious issue. Also problematic: It is counterproductive...

The FundamentaList (No. 83)

This week in religion and politics: Should the Senate Judiciary Committee consider Sonia Sotomayor's stance on the separation of church and state or her lack of a record on abortion?

1. Sotomayor and Separation of Church and State: More Information Needed. The Supreme Court's "60-year record on the Establishment Clause hangs in the balance," Derek Araujo, vice president and general counsel to the secular Center for Inquiry (CFI) replied when I asked him last week just how important Justice David Souter's vacated seat is to the separation of church and state. That's why ascertaining Sonia Sotomayor's views on this essential constitutional question is one of the most urgent questions the Senate Judiciary Committee must address in Sotomayor's confirmation hearings. Araujo said that jurisprudence protecting the separation of church and state "has been widely regarded as an area for potentially seismic shifts" after the more conservative Samuel Alito replaced Sandra Day O'Connor in 2006. When O'Connor retired, Araujo added, the Court lost a key vote holding that the Constitution requires "government neutrality in matters of religion, not only among different faiths,...

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