Sarah Posner

Sarah Posner is an investigative journalist, author, and an expert on the intersection of religion and politics. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Guardian, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, The Nation, Salon, The Washington Post, and Religion Dispatches. Read more at her website, http://sarahposner.com.

 

Recent Articles

The FundamentaList (No. 78)

This week in religion and politics: Religious drama surrounds Kathleen Sebelius' Cabinet confirmation, and the "religious left" seems to lean toward the right.

1. Sebelius Confirmation Fight Shows What "Pro-Life" Means. Though their attempts failed, Religious-right groups goaded Republicans to filibuster the nomination of Kathleen Sebelius to be Health and Human Services Secretary, who was confirmed yesterday with a 65-31 vote. But some early supporters of the former Kansas governor were oddly silent as the religious right renewed its opposition after Sebelius vetoed anti-choice legislation last week. Catholics United, an anti-abortion group that supported Sebelius early in the process because of her commitment to "abortion reduction," did not defend her against the post-veto religious-right onslaught. James Salt, Catholics United's communication director, said that the group was still supporting Sebelius and that it trusted Sebelius was correct that the vetoed bill would be vulnerable to a constitutional challenge in court. "More importantly though," he added, "I hope this action leads Governor Sebelius to redouble her commitment to...

MEETINGS OF FAITH-BASED ADVISORY COUNCIL TO BE OPEN TO PUBLIC.

One of the complaints of civil liberties groups about the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (OFBNP) advisory council is its lack of transparency. Yesterday, the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination (CARD) met with the Office's director, Joshua DuBois . Ron Millar , acting director of the Secular Coalition for America, was also present. According to Millar, CARD raised concerns regarding both faith-based hiring discrimination and transparency. CARD was told the advisory council is created under and subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which requires that meetings of such committees be open to the public. This was the first I had heard about FACA mandates being applied to the OFBNP, so I followed up and discovered that committees formed under the act are required to adopt and file charters with the General Services Administration. The OFBNP advisory council's recently filed charter lays out its mandate as follows: "To identify best practices and...

THE POLITICS OF TORTURE AND ABORTION COLLIDE.

Dawn Johnsen , President Obama's nominee to head the Office of Legal Counsel, has been a target of the religious right largely because she previously was the legal director for the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). They've called on Republicans to filibuster her nomination because, as Marjorie Dannenfelser , president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement yesterday, she's a "radical pro-abortion nominee" with a "disturbing view of pregnancy, motherhood, and even the Constitution." Dannenfelser threatened, "This key personnel decision will determine whether pro-life senators are serious about acting to protect women and the unborn." Now, via Greg Sargent , it looks like conserva-Dem Sen. Ben Nelson is poised to vote against Johnsen too. Johnsen is a hero to opponents of the Bush administration torture policies, because of her early and strong denunciations of them. Torture is not an issue for the religious right -- the culture of life, you know,...

The FundamentaList (No. 77)

This week in religion and politics: Church leaders speak out against torture, and why the "religious conscience" of gays and lesbians apparently doesn't matter.

1. Is the Anti-Gay-Marriage Movement Dead? The Times' Frank Rich, in his gloating obituary of the anti-gay-marriage movement, got a little ahead of himself on Sunday. Rich is right that, as Paul Waldman demonstrated last week, public opinion is trending toward legalization of marriage equality. Still, fundamentalist religious movements should never be counted out of American politics. Nor should their gentler cousins, whom the new president has embraced, be written off. Even John McCain's campaign manager Steve Schmidt and the senator's daughter Meghan, who just adores her gay hair stylist (and really , who doesn't?), are saying the fundamentalist obsession with gay marriage will be the GOP's downfall. But those who argue that the issue of gay marriage is done miss the same point: Democrats are nervous that their new evangelical friends are opposed to gay marriage. That is why, despite the public-opinion trends, the president and many other prominent Democrats are too timid to promote...

WHY THE SECRECY FROM DUBOIS AND SUMMERS?

Joshua DuBois , director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (OFBNP), and Larry Summers , director of the National Economic Council, will be speaking at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism's (RAC) annual conference, Consultation on Conscience, Sunday night, but their remarks will be closed to the press. Kate Bigam , the RAC's spokesperson, told me, "Both of our Sunday night speakers have asked that their presentations be off the record; Rev. Josh DuBois will be speaking at a private dinner for donors, and Larry Summers has asked that his presentation be closed." The secrecy and lack of transparency of the OFBNP has become nearly comical. It holds off-the-record meetings with religious groups and individuals whose identities it will not reveal to the press, and now DuBois finds it necessary to shut the media out from a speech to a religious organization. Update: Bigam called me this afternoon to advise that DuBois has decided to allow press...

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