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 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'...

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...

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