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

PUKE, GUTS, AND THE CHUTZPAH OF WILLIAM SALETAN.

Oh, William Saletan , how I waited for you to enlighten me on the cultural meaning of the assassination of Dr. George Tiller . The wise sage of all that is unassailably reasonable tells us that Tiller's work "makes me want to puke," sort of like battlefield combat, where "guts" are spilled and people are simultaneously brave and murderous. (And, unlike Saletan's view of Tiller, morally justified.) Funny how Saletan uses the battlefield analogy for Tiller, but not for not his alleged murderer, Scott Roeder , who admired the teachings of an anti-abortion group so engaged in the mentality of war that it calls itself the Army of God. After the murder, the group hailed Roeder as an "American hero." Saletan breezes by the extremist groups like Army of God, to applaud the statements of some pro-life groups who condemned Tiller's murder. But then Saletan gives them a pass, in the service of promoting his centrist, reasonable position of reducing abortions. He says the groups condemning Tiller...

SOTOMAYOR AND ABORTION.

As Tim noted below, Charlie Savage's piece in the Times this morning suggested more than it delivered on the alleged qualms in the reproductive rights community over Sonia Sotomayor's position on abortion. As he says, surely she should be questioned about her view of the law in this area, but I don't see -- yet -- evidence that the reproductive rights community is worried about her voting to overturn Roe . I'd just add, though, that her two appellate decisions were not about other bodies of law, rather than about the constitutional right to privacy. Her decisions were purely procedural. In the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy's challenge to the global gag rule, she held that the group's First Amendment claim was controlled by a previous decision that had decided the identical issue. On the group's due process claim, she held that the group did not have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the rule. She did not, as E.J. Dionne wrote this morning, "up[hold] a ban on...

The FundamentaList (No. 82)

This week in religion and politics: Culture warriors prepare to battle over "judicial activist" Sonia Sotomayor's Court nomination, and the religious right reacts to California's Prop. 8 ruling.

1. Dog-Whistle Confirmation Process: "Judicial Activism" and the Religious Right. As soon as President Barack Obama announced the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, the religious right began to grumble with more than a hint of -- surprise, surprise -- bitterness. Call it lingering resentment over Bork that will never go away; call it the frustration of being sidelined from the Beltway fray; call it a need to have something to say and a way to raise money. Sotomayor's life story is a classic of up-by-the-bootstraps conservatism that would be told and retold all over wingnut radio had she been a Republican nominee: the hardworking widowed mother, the Nancy Drew inspiration, Catholic school, scholarships to college, law school, a career as a crime-fighting prosecutor and corporate lawyer before becoming a judge. But Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said in a statement, "A compelling personal story is no substitute for allegiance to the Constitution...

GALSTON WRONG ON ABORTION OPINION AND SCOTUS NOMINEES.

William Galton's post yesterday at TNR , arguing that the latest Gallup and Pew figures on abortion should counsel the president to "think twice before nominating someone with a long record of support for positions far outside the current cultural mainstream" for the Supreme Court is just plain wrong. Wrong about the polls, wrong about what the polling means, wrong about what Democrats' strategy should be on abortion. First, as I laid out in today's FundamentaList , and as several people far better versed in parsing polls than I am have shown, the recent Pew and Gallup polls that Galston latched onto are not reliable indicators of public opinion. The Pew poll showed an inexplicable eight-point drop in support for legal abortion, a finding that is questionable on two grounds: first, it conflicts with other long-term, comprehensive surveys of public opinion on whether abortion should be legal; second, experts say an eight-point drop in public opinion on an issue that has otherwise held...

The FundamentaList (No. 81)

This week in religion and politics: Obama's Notre Dame speech shines attention on his relationship with religious constituencies, and anti-Muslim propaganda is making the rounds once again.

1. Obama's Notre Dame Speech A Success, But What Lies Ahead? Observers and pundits praised President Barack Obama for his speech at the University of Notre Dame's commencement Sunday, because of his rejection of fundamentalism and deft handling of the militant religious right. But viewed in the context of Obama's entire faith-based outreach project, the events at Notre Dame highlighted how he has embraced traditionalist, conservative religion -- to the detriment of sexual and reproductive justice. In his speech, Obama credited religion with playing an important role in American civic life, which it undoubtedly does. The speech, like every one he has given on religion, was designed to defuse highly charged, faith-based debates about public policy. Obama thinks that listening to all religious voices is one way to "tamp down some of the anger" over issues like abortion. That balanced approach looks eminently reasonable, particularly when Randall Terry acolytes are shouting "abortion is...

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