Sarah Posner

Sarah Posner is a senior correspondent for Religion Dispatches and an investigative journalist whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, The Nation and many other publications.


Recent Articles

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...

Yes, Valerie Jarrett Is Beck's Next Target.

Two weeks ago, I wondered whether, based on a WorldNetDaily smear job linking her communists and other nefarious people, White House adviser Valerie Jarrett would be Glenn Beck's next target. Today, referring to Yosi Sargent's resignation from the National Endowment for the Arts, Beck is saying on his radio program that Sargent is small fry. "The one you need to start asking questions on is Valerie Jarrett. . . . it's the ones at the top of the ladder that you have to pay attention to." More evidence of Beck's source: WorldNetDaily , co-host of this weekend's How to Take Back America Conference . --Sarah Posner

The Skousen Admiration Club.

Dave Weigel points out the hypocrisy of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's professed admiration for W. Cleon Skousen , the Glenn Beck ideological godfather and anti-Communist oddball, at this weekend's Values Voters Summit. While many in the Christian right sidelined Mitt Romney because of his Mormonism, now Mormons like Skousen and Beck are all the rage. But it's not that surprising -- because it's not that new. The conservative movement has long admired Skousen, and he has a long list of Republican and movement insider admirers. Mark Skousen , a frequent contributor to Human Events , is Skousen's nephew. When Beck started promoting his uncle's book, The 5,000 Year Leap, on his television program, Skousen wrote a paean to his uncle and Beck in Human Events , "Glenn Beck Re-Energizes the Conservative Movement." Skousen did not overestimate his uncle's influence, even though Beck's discovery of him was recent. (Skousen called that "hope we can believe in.") When the elder Skousen died in 2006,...

Glenn Beck's Mentor Exposed.

I highly recommend Alexander Zaitchik's feature in Salon today, "Meet the Man Who Changed Glenn Beck's Life." In it, he profiles not just Beck and his band of aggrieved, paranoid disciples, but the man who inspired him, W. Cleon Skousen , whom Zaitchik describes as "too extreme even for the conservative activists of the Goldwater era." Beck has resuscitated Skousen's book, The 5,000 Year Leap , catapulting it to the top of Amazon bestsellers and waiting lists at public libraries. Zaitchik, who is at work on a book about Beck, writes: Skousen was not a historian so much as a player in the history of the American far right; less a scholar of the republic than a threat to it. At least, that was the judgment of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, which maintained a file on Skousen for years that eventually totaled some 2,000 pages. Before he died in 2006 at the age of 92, Skousen's own Mormon church publicly distanced itself from the foundation that Skousen founded and that has published previous...