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

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON THE "RELIGIOUS LEFT."

Over at Politico , Ben Smith writes , "A person who follows religion and politics more closely than I tells me the decision of two major conservative Christian leaders, Joel Hunter and David Gushee , to sign on in support of legislation outlawing 'hate crimes' against gays and lesbians, is a pretty big deal." He's referring to Faith in Public Life's Wednesday press release, listing expressions of support for the hate crimes legislation that passed the House that day. (When a bill is a sure winner, why not go with it, eh?) First, I want to tackle Smith's assertion that the list of endorsers "also includes more usual Religious Left suspects like Rev. Jim Wallis ." As I pointed out in this week's FundamentaList , Wallis has for years rejected the label of "religious left." He just recently started embracing it. Why? His spokesperson said the media apply it to him anyway, so why not? But could it be that as the country becomes more progressive, it's less icky to call oneself a lefty? Or...

D.C. ANTI-GAY-MARRIAGE RALLY JUMPS THE SHARK.

I've lived in Washington for 20 years, and I have to admit there are two people whose joint appearance on a dais I never contemplated: the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins , and current D.C. Council member (and former disgraced D.C. mayor) Marion "bitch set me up" Barry . In a delicious coda, later in the day Perkins lauded the Supreme Court decision that upheld Federal Communications Commission "decency" rules, which permit the agency to fine broadcasters for even "fleeting expletives" on broadcast television. But there was the decency duo, at the rally at Freedom Plaza yesterday in the District, protesting the D.C. Council's impending vote to legally recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Barry is the only councilman opposed to the same-sex marriage measure. Bishop Harry Jackson , whose anti-gay crusades I wrote about two years ago on TAP , had predicted that 1,000 supporters would show up for the launch of his "Armageddon" battle for marriage. He had to have been...

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,...

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