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

ASPIRATIONAL VOTING AND JESUS.

I'll second Dana's earlier theory of "aspirational voting" among the younger end of the conservative base, and here's why. While David Frum and Michael Barone suggest that lower marriage (and higher divorce) rates in this group make them less likely to vote "values" (i.e., Republican), what Barone calls their "chaotic and undisciplined" lifestyles might just make them perfect targets for conversion to the cause. Young people who have had drug addictions, skirmishes with the law, relationship problems, abortions, divorce, and any manner of youthful indiscretion are a key audience for the seeker-sensitive mega-church/Christian festival-type outreach that hammers home the notion that if you get right with Jesus , you'll not only be forgiven for your hedonistic lifestyle, your life will actually improve in every conceivable way, including economically. ("Seeker-sensitive" means the church caters to non-believers, attempting to draw in new followers, and making the Gospel more hip,...

GLENN BECK, THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY, AND THE CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT.

At Salon's War Room , Alex Koppelman runs down David Frum's objection to Fox News host Glenn Beck's affection for the John Birch Society (JBS), exemplified by his peddling a book by anti-communist activist Cleon Skousen , who had ties to the JBS. Frum objects that Skousen was one of the "legendary cranks of the conservative world, a John Bircher, a grand fantasist of theories about secret conspiracies between capitalists and communists to impose a one-world government under the control of David Rockefeller ." But that's not an unusual view for a hardcore conservative movement player like Skousen, as much as it embarrasses conservatives like Frum. According to a 1985 article published in the Review of Religious Research , "Mormonism and the New Christian Right: An Emerging Coalition?" by Anson Shupe and John Heinerman , Skousen had ties to the JBS and the relatively new religious-right political apparatus, which was at that time nestling itself within the broader conservative movement...

The FundamentaList (No. 72)

This week in religion and politics: The honeymoon may be over for Obama and evangelical "centrists."

1. Is the Obama-Evangelical Alliance Cracking Up? This week heralded what could prove to be a new chapter in the culture wars: the exposure of the schism between the "centrist," Obama-supporting religious figures and the mainstream progressivism actually represented by Obama. Could the crack-up finally show the futility of Democratic outreach designed to appease conservative theologians? The Rev. Tony Campolo, who advocated for "abortion reduction" language to be included in the 2008 Democratic Party platform, lambasted the administration for going soft on promises to maintain a Bush-era rule that permitted faith-based programs receiving federal funds to discriminate in hiring. On the campaign trail, Obama had promised to reverse the rule, incensing religious conservatives and centrists. Campolo says Obama later assuaged religious leaders by vowing to keep the rule in place. "There were enough private assurances given," a knowledgeable source tells me, from "all levels of the campaign...

WHY IS JIM WALLIS THE RELIGION GO-TO GUY?

As Senate Democrats began hearings yesterday on the Employee Free Choice Act, it seems like they needed the blessing of a religious figure to proceed. Lacking in imagination, they chose Sojourners president Jim Wallis . Wallis spoke in favor of EFCA, which is obviously a good thing. The more support for the bill, the better. But Democrats lamely think all they need is a religious stamp of approval to convince the faithful that EFCA wouldn't portend the one-world order the Armageddon watchers believe Obama and his "socialist" agenda will bring. But in only trotting out Wallis, they're missing the boat, and an opportunity. Wallis is everywhere these days. He's a longtime advocate for ending poverty, and his fans likely find his increased visibility heartening for the cause. Obama appointed him to serve on the Advisory Council to his Office on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which will keep him in regular contact with the White House. He spoke at World Economic Forum in Davos...

The FundamentaList (No. 71)

This week in religion and politics: Anti-abortion activists dislike Kathleen Sebelius, stem-cell research gets funding, and the ranks of atheists and evangelicals both swell.

1. "Real" Catholics, "Fake" Ones, and Kansas Governors. The outcry from the anti-choice religious right over President Barack Obama's nomination of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas to serve as health and human services secretary reached a fever pitch last week: The "radical extremist" who's not a "real" Catholic was given a stamp of approval by a key congressional religious-right ally, fellow Kansan Sam Brownback. The religious right is still figuring out how to play its hand in Democratically controlled Washington, particularly in the nearly filibuster-proof Senate. Just a few years ago, the crew complained so mightily about the "obstructionist" Democrats who allegedly stood in the way of right-thinking Bush judicial nominees. With the situation reversed, the religious right had hoped that minority Republicans -- Brownback in particular -- would block Sebelius, solely because of her record on abortion rights. Never mind that the HHS secretary will have the more pressing agenda of...

Pages