Sarah Posner

Sarah Posner's coverage of religion and politics has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Week, and many others.


Recent Articles

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...

Does Size Matter? The Impact of the 912 Rally.

Don't mind Sarah Posner -- She's just "part of the government-controlled press." From sarahposner on Vimeo . As I rode the Metro down to the Mall yesterday, the size rumors had already begun. (Yes, even the anti-government cranks -- who said things like "when the government takes over, everything goes downhill" -- extolled the virtues of the, ahem, government-run public transportation system in D.C.) Blackberries abuzz, the first rumor I heard was that the estimated crowd was not the anticipated 100,000, but closer to 300,000. The day wore on, indeed the crowd grew, but the size rumor grew exponentially larger. So large that the march organizer, FreedomWorks' Matt Kibbe , claimed onstage that ABC (which many participants accused, along with all the other networks and cable stations save Fox, of being controlled by the government) had estimated the crowd at between one and one and half million people. Problem was, ABC never said any such thing. It had reported 70,000, based on D.C...

Signs of the Times: Scenes from the 912 March.

From yesterday's Tea Party rally on the National Mall, sponsored by Dick Armey 's FreedomWorks and other right-wing groups, and inspired by Glenn Beck , participants' posters -- both handmade and professional -- capture the prevailing theme: that America is being destroyed by a foreign leader and his cadre of socialists, communists, fascists, and Nazis. I'll have more thoughts later in the day about the rally, but for now here are some of the snapshots I took. The American Life League, one of the most extreme anti-abortion groups, distributed signs that read, "Bury Obamacare with Kennedy:" Obama is out to destroy America, what with his foreignness and all his "czars:" And he might even be the Antichrist -- although we're not sure why: "Obama is the Antichrist" from sarahposner on Vimeo . --Sarah Posner

The Marginalization of the Non-Evangelicals.

In one of yesterday's posts, I wrote about how conventional wisdom develops around what "people of faith" want, and how "people of faith" usually means "evangelicals." Today there's more evidence of the Obama administration's overemphasis of evangelicals, as USA Today's Cathy Grossman reports from the Religion Newswriters Association's annual conference about a panel on Obama's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The panel included two members of Obama's faith-based Advisory Council, the Rev. Frank Page , the past president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), and the Rev. Peg Chemberlin , the president elect of the National Council of Churches (NCC). The SBC is a conservative evangelical denomination (which claims to be the largest non-Catholic denomination in the country) that was one of the leading architects of the religious right; the NCC is an umbrella organization of mostly mainline Protestant denominations who tend to be more liberal. From Grossman's post...