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


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...

Women and Children First

Two new books chronicle the damage done -- at home and abroad -- by the rise of religious fundamentalism in America.

Every once in a while, two simultaneously published books work in tandem to illuminate their subjects in ways that each book might not if read alone. Readers interested in the challenges of achieving sexual equality and in the dangers of religious fundamentalism -- subjects that arguably cannot be understood in isolation from each other -- will find such a convergence in new books written by two of our most important investigative journalists. Michelle Goldberg's latest, The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World , (excerpted in the May issue of The American Prospect ) is an essential account of how U.S. aid policy, beginning in the 1970s with efforts to slow spiraling population growth, came under the sway of the sexually puritanical demands of the American religious right, to ruinous effects. The resulting unavailability of safe abortion and family-planning services, combined with the devastation of HIV/AIDS and other disasters, has wreaked havoc, Goldberg...


The Rev. Frank Page , past president of the Southern Baptist Convention and a member of Obama 's advisory council to the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, tells the American Family Association's news service that he is "deeply concerned" that Rick Warren tried to backpedal away from his support for Proposition 8 during his appearance on Larry King Live last week. Page told One News Now , "I can say without reservation that pastors need to be salt and light, and the light of God's Word shows us that marriage is to be one man [and] one woman for life. And we cannot, cannot back away from that mandate from our Lord. And every pastor ought to be publicly and privately saying, 'That is my agenda!'" But don't worry. The culture wars are over. --Sarah Posner

The FundamentaList (No. 76)

The anti-gay-marriage argument unravels and Glenn Beck says it's the end of the world as we know it.

1. Keep an Eye Out for the Dude on the White Horse. From the Christian right's vantage point, Holy Week had a decidedly apocalyptic tone. While abroad, President Barack Obama proclaimed that we are not a "Christian nation." Newsweek editor Jon Meacham pondered the possibility that we're living in a post-Christian America. Gay and lesbian couples can now get hitched in Iowa and Vermont. Outgoing Focus on the Family chief James Dobson threw in the towel. And tireless pastor Rick Warren was too exhausted for television sit-downs with George Stephanopoulos and Mike Huckabee. Is the end just around the corner for a country that might be -- gasp -- losing its religion? Apocalyptic visions abound inside the world of the increasingly paranoid conservative elites. The anti-LGBT National Organization for Marriage (NOM) launched an advertising campaign called the "Gathering Storm." Meanwhile, this week's "tea parties," calling for nothing short of a revolutionary coup, are not at their core...

The FundamentaList (No. 75)

The culture wars aren't coming to a close, "common ground" isn't common at all, and "abortion reduction" is still misleading rhetoric.

1. Why Does Obama's Faith-Based Office Spurn Mainstream Values? To promote the alleged "common ground" on "abortion reduction," Joshua DuBois, the director of President Barack Obama's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (OFBNP), gave a rare interview to Newsweek last week. In it, he embraced the Come Let Us Reason Together mythology that the end of the "culture wars" is nigh, if only those old battle axes on the left and right would lay down their arms. DuBois maintained , "There's a culture-war industry on both sides . . . What's helpful to the president and to us is a lot of people are weary of that. People are looking for ways out." With this cringe-worthy denigration of reproductive health advocates as just as extreme as abortion clinic harassers, DuBois signals a future of mealy-mouthed Democrats who are pro-choice in their hearts, though timid when it comes to campaign rhetoric and policy. Obama, so far, has not exhibited cowardice on setting policy. But he is...