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

In Bad Faith

At yesterday's National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama revealed that he still falls prey to the idea that religious beliefs are unimpeachable -- even when those beliefs affect the liberty of others.

(AP Photo)
In advance of yesterday's National Prayer Breakfast, President Barack Obama was under pressure to use the opportunity to condemn the anti-homosexuality bill pending in the Ugandan Parliament. The legislation, which would criminalize homosexuality and require the death penalty or life imprisonment for certain "offenses," has been described by human-rights activists as tantamount to instigating a genocide against sexual minorities, who are already persecuted in the African nation. Obama, speaking just before the first anniversary of the launch of his Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, once again fell into the religion-in-public-life trap: Faith is intended for good, and we must present it as such -- regardless of its exploitation for ends that are less than pure, and regardless of one's stated commitment to secular government. The National Prayer Breakfast, hosted by members of Congress, is organized by the Fellowship Foundation, also known as "The Family," a secretive...

Faith and the Stupak Amendment.

The Catholic bishops have gotten a lot of attention for the role they played in pushing the Stupak amendment -- and the House health-care bill -- over the finish line. While there's no doubt the bishops applied the midnight pressure, their role is just one piece of how Democrats yearn for the godly imprimatur. To be sure, the final outcome on the House side is the result of whip counts simply not adding up to the number needed to pass the bill. But Democrats ending up in the position of having to obtain a particular religious stamp of approval was also the result of seeking out the "faith vote" in the last several election cycles, and confining the definition of " people of faith " to people who oppose abortion. The Democrats "got religion," but at what cost? The Democrats failed to tap into pro-choice religious groups as a voice to argue for inclusion of abortion coverage in a health-care bill. Instead, these groups, along with leading pro-choice groups, acquiesced to the Capps...

Islamophobia, From Screen to Capitol Hill.

Last week saw the preposterous spectacle of members of Congress calling for an investigation of the allegedly seditious activities of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Republicans Sue Myrick , John Shadegg , Paul Broun , and Trent Franks , who accused CAIR of planting interns to work as spies on Capitol Hill, based their charges on the book Muslim Mafia . The book was published by WND Books, the publishing arm of World Net Daily , which solidified its reputation for McCarthy-esque tinfoil hat "journalism" long before Glenn Beck's tears were even a twinkle in Roger Ailes' eye. Now the Clarion Fund, producer of the film The Third Jihad -- which also peddles the alleged Holy Land and Muslim Brotherhood connections -- is calling for an investigation, too. The Third Jihad charges that Muslim groups like CAIR intend to supplant the Constitution with sharia law, and have links to jihadists. CAIR and numerous other Muslim organizations were identified as unindicted co-...

If Only War Were that Simple.

The Washington Post today profiles Lt. Carey Cash , the Navy chaplain serving at Camp David, where President Obama attends services. Cash -- a great nephew of music icon Johnny Cash -- is a conservative Southern Baptist who won't, apparently, give Obama the trouble that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright did. If Obama is seeking some spiritual guidance as he contemplates troop escalations in Afghanistan, though, I hope to God his admiration for Cash does not lend credence to what Cash has to say about God and war. According to remarks he made to the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces in 2003 (h/t to David Brody for the link ), Cash believes that faith actually saved Marines from death on the battlefield. He described a brutal battle in Baghdad, on April 10, 2003, after which, "by every assessment, during that nine-hour ordeal, our battalion should have sustained untold casualties and countless dead." Instead, Cash maintained, there was a "miracle": It cannot be denied. Someone...

No Abortion Shift, No Need To Cater to Anti-Abortion Activists.

In his U.S. News and World Report column, Dan Gilgoff buys into the idea that President Obama and the Democratic Party should be mindful of voters who worry that Obama will "overreach on abortion rights," based on the new Pew poll out on abortion attitudes. But that poll doesn't show any seismic shift in abortion attitudes, nor does it contain any warnings to Obama and the Democrats that they should be any less pro-reproductive rights. According to Pew: Among people who know that Obama is pro-choice, a plurality (29% of the public overall) think that he will handle the issue about right. About one in- five (19%) worry that Obama will go too far in supporting abortion rights, while very few (4%) worry that he will not go far enough in supporting abortion rights. Who are the people who are worried about this unspecified overreaching? Fifty-two percent of conservative Republicans, and only 19% of moderate Republicans, and only 18% of independents. So the Democrats should shift their...

Pages