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

Will Abortion Coverage Kill Health Care Reform?

After last night's presidential speech, the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners issued a statement that claimed to speak for "the faith community." He declares, "In his speech this evening, President Barack Obama made the commitments that a broad coalition in the faith community had asked for -- reform as a moral issue, affordable coverage for all, and no federal funding of abortion." Really? The "faith community" -- whatever that is -- has demanded no federal funding for abortion? There's no doubt that the religious right has demanded that. The coalition Stop The Abortion Mandate is abuzz this morning, questioning Obama's truthfulness in claiming no federal funds would be used to pay for abortions. To be clear, though, Stop the Abortion Mandate wants not just to stop "mandates," it wants to end legal abortion altogether. And Wallis does too, although he's more moderate and has endorsed abortion-reduction approaches that Stop the Abortion Mandate and its coalition partners are too strident...

Antichrist Spirit Coming to a Public School Near You.

For the religious right, what is the opposition to President Obama 's speech to public school children next week really all about? Theologically, the end of days. Politically, the separation of church and state. At its core, the conservative hyperventilating about "indoctrination" of students with "socialist" ideology is a dog whistle to evangelicals who believe -- and have believed for decades -- that "big government," be it in the form of the New Deal or health care reform, is a sign of the end of days. One of the critical signs that the final showdown is upon us is the emergence of an Antichrist and his consolidation of a "one-world government," a "one-world economy," and a "one-world order." Not that they necessarily believe Obama himself is the Antichrist -- I was just watching the televangelist Jack Van Impe insist that the false prophet would be the head of the European Union -- but that his efforts to reform health care or cooperate with global leaders on economic or military...

The Right's Quixotic Critic.

Jon Henke , a blogger at the Next Right, is attempting to organize a boycott of Wingnut WorldNetDaily , the scandal-mongering, tinfoil-hat tabloid of the right. No doubt he was provoked for a while, but most recently by a piece which claimed Congress is considering legislation that "appears designed to create the type of detention center that those concerned about use of the military in domestic affairs fear could be used as concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany." For Henke, a conservative whose site is billed as "the place for wired activists to build a new Republican Party and conservative movement," WND is an embarrassment. "The Birthers are the Birchers of our time," he wrote, "and WorldNetDaily is their pamphlet." He's right, of course, WND is a horror show. But he seems to regard WND as the weirdo fringe that respectable conservatives have sidelined as they pursued their own noble causes. But WND's conspiratorial attacks on political...

Glenn Beck's Sources.

At the Windy , Dave Weigel traces the cause and effect of a Glenn Beck "investigative" story and outbursts at town hall meetings. After Beck ran a hit piece on Van Jones , Special Advisor for Green Jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, referring to him as Obama's "green czar" and accusing him of a radical conspiracy to funnel money from the stimulus bill to "left-leaning allies," his talking points were echoed at a town hall in Indiana. There's no doubt that Beck is playing a crucial role in fueling the mad, conspiracy-driven town hall events. But he didn't dream up the idea of targeting Jones for being a former communist, and for driving smears that he was part of an evil plot by radical black communists to take over the U.S. government by purloining federal funds for their own insidious uses. Back in April, World Net Daily ran a piece by Aaron Klein , "Will a 'red' help blacks go green? White House appoints 'radical communist' who sees environment as racial issue...

CATHOLICS, HEALTH CARE REFORM, AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH.

Earlier this week, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards rebutted a post by U.S. News and World Report's God and Country blogger, Dan Gilgoff , who unquestioningly suggested that the Obama administration needed to respond to the "demand" of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that abortion services be excluded from health care reform. (Gilgoff, who frequently leaves right-wing spin untouched in his posts, more recently has recruited religious right figures as guest bloggers). Richards wrote, "Does anyone else see the irony in the U.S. bishops wanting to define universal health care as covering everything except for what they don't support? Under this theory, I suppose women are supposed to wait to see just exactly how the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops comes down on a variety of health care needs to understand what in fact will be considered universal." But since Obama has painted himself into a corner by elevating religious voices (and including a representative of...

Pages