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

DUNGY AND THE COVER OF FAITH.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and People for the American Way have come out against the White House's invitation to former NFL coach Tony Dungy to serve on the advisory council to the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (OFBNP). In 2007, Dungy appeared at a fundraiser for the Indiana Family Institute, the state's Focus on the Family affiliate, and campaigned for a constitutional same-sex marriage ban. While it is indeed abominable that Obama seems to think it's A-OK to elevate the profile of homophobes (e.g. Rick Warren ), this is about more than just the opposition of LGBT rights activists to the invitation. The real issue is that someone's expressed religious faith provides them cover for bigotry. By portraying their input as valuable to the policymaking process, the OFBNP is placing an imprimatur on the members of its advisory council. (And what kind of policy experience does this former football coach have in any event?) Whether the...

The FundamentaList (No. 74)

This week in religion and politics: Extremist Catholics attempt to ruin the graduation of moderate ones, and theo-conservatism threatens rational policy.

1. "Flap" at Notre Dame the Work of Religious "Warriors." After President Barack Obama recently accepted the University of Notre Dame's invitation to deliver its commencement address, extremist Catholic groups spotted an opportunity. They immediately began burning up the bandwidth on the Christian Newswire with bellicose press releases, such as one announcing plans to "turn over tables until the traitors surrender" and vowing to "recruit and train new warriors to defend Life and Truth in future culture conflicts." That call to arms came from Randall Terry, founder of the militant anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. Terry, who converted to Catholicism in 2005 (after divorcing his first wife), is a notorious anti-abortion zealot who has engaged in criminal activity , like trespassing at abortion clinics and arranging to have a fetus in a jar delivered to Bill Clinton at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. Terry, along with his ally in the Cardinal Newman Society, Patrick Reilly,...

MORE MYSTIFYING FAITH-BASED OFFICE CHOICES.

Although there has not yet been an official announcement, word is leaking out about who else President Obama has selected to fill the remaining 10 seats on his Advisory Council for the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. So far, we know that Christian author and hero to under-35 evangelicals Donald Miller has been tapped for one spot. U.S. News and World Report says that former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy has been slated for another spot. Miller, who campaigned for Obama and delivered a benediction at the Democratic National Convention, is well-known to young evangelicals. His book Blue Like Jazz is distributed to college students through the evangelizing powerhouse Campus Crusade for Christ, and is said to address ambiguity and conflict between evangelicalism and modern life. Since winning the Super Bowl, Dungy has become a spokesperson for victory in life (and sports!) via faith. A football-themed version of the New Testament, Path to Victory , published by...

THE CATHOLIC NON-CONTROVERSIES.

U.S. News and World Report religion blogger Dan Gilgoff has been blogging away about the alleged sins of pro-choice Democrats in the eyes of Catholic America. His coverage, though, is lost in the fog of right-wing press releases. For several days, Gilgoff has fanned the Catholics-are-up-in-arms-about-Obama's-Notre-Dame-commencement-speech fire. His tweet yesterday afternoon read, "Protests of Obama at Notre Dame are still mounting. Looks like the furor caught the White House and lberal [sic] Catholic groups caught off guard." Really? None other than the editor of the National Catholic Reporter , Joe Feuerherd, this week laid bare the machinations behind the manufactured controversy. Mincing no words, Feuerherd accused Patrick Reilly , president of the Cardinal Newman Society, of drumming up opposition to Obama's speech, calling Reilly the "self-appointed ayatollah to Catholic academia." Jon O'Brien , president of Catholics for Choice, told me, "The Cardinal Newman Society and Patrick...

The FundamentaList (No. 73)

This week in religion and politics: Progressive faithful call for an "ethical audit" of Wall Street, and Newt Gingrich "reinvents" the conservative movement.

1. Progressive Faithful Call for Confronting Wall Street Culture. If evangelical men have ideas politicians think are worth listening to about "abortion reduction," why not the economic views of other religious folks? Curious about their thoughts on the financial collapse, I reached out to some individuals on the religious left -- not people who are on the president's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships advisory council or even those who have Washington institutions through which they try to influence public policy. Rather, they are part of a nascent movement of religious adherents who can be natural allies with progressives on issues from economic justice to LGBT rights. Yet they have been largely ignored as Barack Obama has courted center-right evangelicals and Catholics. Barbara O'Brien, who writes an online guide to Buddhism, says changes must address executive compensation, a view that is widely shared among people of all types of belief. On her politics blog , O'...

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