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

Shotgun Adoption and Government Funding of Faith-Based Programs.

RH Reality check has republished Kathryn Joyce's excellent piece, which originally ran in The Nation , about the coercive tactics used by crisis pregnancy centers -- recipients of tens of millions in federal abstinence-only funds under the Bush administration -- to persuade women not to choose an abortion, and then pressure them to give up their newborns for adoption by suitably "Christian" families. One of the difficulties in proving that federal dollars were used to unconstitutionally fund a pervasively sectarian program is that many grant recipients perform many different services, some with non-government funds. (If only the hairsplitting attention paid to abortion in health care were paid to how our tax dollars support religious organizations that engage in proselytizing activities.) But even if a federally funded program isn't unconstitutional, Joyce's piece raises alarm bells about whether federal money should go to an organization whose programs are misleading and coercive,...

The Religious Right's Jennings End-Game.

Make no mistake: the religious right's smear campaign against Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools director Kevin Jennings is not about Jennings' alleged past actions, or even about the fact that Jennings is gay. It's about a much larger, concerted campaign by the religious right to dismantle the separation of church and state. How? By using Jennings as part of a long-term political and legal strategy to claim that LGBTQ equality advocacy discriminates against Christians, and deprives them of their constitutional rights to free speech and free exercise of religion. More on that in a minute, but first a little background on where the Family Research Council's "research" on Jennings comes from. FRC began calling for Jennings' head on June 10, just a few weeks after President Obama appointed him to the post at the Department of Education. But FRC's "research" was not its own; it was based on the rantings of fringe groups Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) and Mission America...

President of Leading Seminary Speaks Out in Defense of Kevin Jennings.

The religious right's four-month smear campaign against Department of Education Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools director Kevin Jennings ramped up this week, with heightened calls for his resignation. Among other bogus claims, the Family Research Council, which has led the charge, insists that Jennings is "viciously hostile to religion" because of his past remarks condemning the religious right and challenging his conservative religious upbringing. Last night, Serene Jones , president of Union Theological Seminary, on whose board Jennings serves, spoke to me about his commitment to education and to his faith. She addressed the two main claims being made by the religious right: that Jennings is anti-religion and that he has "promoted homosexuality" to children through the organization he founded in 1995, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). One of the country's preeminent seminaries, Union carefully vetted Jennings before its 40 members voted unanimously to...

Is Public Support for Abortion Access Slipping, Or Is Apathy Rising?

A new poll released today by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press bears the headline: "Support for Abortion Slips." No doubt conservatives, and more specifically the religious right, will jump on this survey and deploy it to support their position on everything from health care reform to "personhood" ballot initiatives. But it's hardly cause for for supporters of reproductive health and of science-based public policy to roll over. In fact, there's reason in the survey to redouble efforts to garner support for reproductive rights. The results, part of Pew's 2009 Annual Religion and Public Life Survey, do show a drop in support for legal abortion in 2009. Whether it's significant in the long term, consistent with other polling, or more than an outlier remains to be seen. I'll leave that analysis to the number crunchers, and will report on that, too, but for now it's important to focus on the political implications. In short,...

The Whining Over Pro-Life Democrats and Health Care Reform.

I don't know who appointed Steven Waldman the Democratic Party's chief adviser on abortion issues, but he is at it again at BeliefNet , expressing shock and dismay that the party leadership isn't sufficiently coddling its (minority) pro-life caucus. At the Democratic National Convention last year, on a panel on faith and the party, Waldman declared that Democrats should “have a new position on abortion” in order to win over religious voters. This week, he castigates the "ineptitude" of the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for not having met with the 40 pro-life Democrats led by Rep. Bart Stupak , who apparently think that the health care amendment offered by Rep. Lois Capps is inadequate to insure that not one single penny of taxpayer dollars might pay for an insurance plan that might pay for a woman's abortion (even if the taxpayer dollars don't pay for the abortion itself). Waldman is relying on David Kirkpatrick's reporting in the Times this week, in which Stupak claimed...

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