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

The FundamentaList (No. 10)

Tom DeLay's new PAC, Mike Huckabee Facts, and Happy Thanksgiving from Gary Bauer.

1. Tom DeLay: The Left "Has Surpassed Us" That's the rallying cry behind Hot Tub Tom's new venture, the Coalition for a Conservative Majority (CCM), a political advocacy group designed to unite all those fractured conservatives around the cause of out-mobilizing Democrats. "For six years now," reads CCM's opening salvo, "former leaders of the Clinton administration have studied and surpassed the conservative grassroots network, creating a liberal coalition unprecedented in its size, scope, and funding." And who better to lead conservatives out of the wilderness than Ken Blackwell , the former Ohio Secretary of State who presided over the controversial election of 2004, was routed in his bid to become Ohio's governor last year, and who now works at the Family Research Council . Wasn't it the conventional wisdom just a short time ago that conservatives were a mighty bunch united around making America an unregulated Christian nation with no taxes? Surveying the landscape from a minority...

The FundamentaList (No. 9)

The curse of Pat Robertson, Huckabee's quiet meetings with influential local pastors, and Thompson's baffling NRLC endorsement.

1. The Curse of Pat Robertson Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani was hot news last week -- hotter, even, than widespread rumors that James Dobson was going to endorse Mike Huckabee (see item 2, below). But if Giuliani expected something good to come out of cozying up to Robertson, he was sorely mistaken. Robertson's influence with the rank-and-file is not what it once was, despite what the excited press coverage of the endorsement might have suggested. Giuliani's very public embrace of the controversial televangelist demonstrated a complete ignorance of how the Republican courting of the evangelical vote really works. (The key to locking in "values voters" is lots of meetings with lesser-known figures who can collectively generate a lot of votes, and no public appearances with controversial figures like Robertson.) It won't help Giuliani with evangelicals, and it certainly won't help Giuliani with anyone else. Condemnation of the Robertson endorsement was swift and fierce...

The FundamentaList (No. 8)

Republicans open investigation of televangelists, Huckabee gets anointed, evangelicals against a two-state solution, and the politics of prosperity preaching

1. Republican Minority Opens Investigation of Prosperity Televangelists Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, has opened an investigation into the finances of six of the leading prosperity televangelists, Paula White , Kenneth Copeland , Joyce Meyer , Eddie Long , Creflo Dollar , Benny Hinn . Grassley is looking into whether these celebrity preachers abused their tax-exempt status by using proceeds to enrich themselves with luxury items like mansions, private jets, and fancy cars. Three of the targeted evangelists (Dollar, Copeland, and Hinn) sit on the Oral Roberts University Board of Regents, which is supposed to be investigating similar charges of financial mismanagement and other abuses there. (John Hagee, whose own use of church funds has been documented in the Prospect , also serves on the ORU Board of Regents.) No word yet on whether the Democrats will join him, and so far no subpoenas have been issued, just requests for financial...

The FundamentaList (No. 7)

Halloween Edition! The very scary anti-gay movement, Huckabee spooks secular conservatives, and the undead evangelical Christian right.

1.Not Dead Yet David Kirkpatrick's cover story in Sunday's Times magazine is all the rage this week. In it he asks The Question that has surfaced periodically for the past 30 years: Is the Christian right dead? Like a spate of other not-so-revelatory pieces this fall about the moderation of evangelical Christianity, Kirkpatrick's piece ignores the essential role the press played in creating the myth of the conservative evangelical monolith in the first place. In the wake of the 2004 election -- just three short years ago -- much of the media coverage glorified that mythology by presenting "values voters" (read: biblical conservatives) as the homogenous soul of American evangelicalism. Now, as the (always present, but not as loud) centrist wing of evangelicalism emerges with a more structured response to the divisiveness of the Christian right, and as Christian right leaders are very publicly disagreeing over presidential candidate endorsements, The Question emerges once again. The...

The FundamentaList (No. 6)

"Values voter" edition! The attendees co-opt the language of the civil rights movement, award Giuliani a few points for trying, and wonder if hot-shot endorsements really matter.

1.Spinning Straw Polls into Gold and Hoping for a Miracle Of course the big news from the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit last weekend was that Mitt Romney Mike Huckabee won the straw poll. Whether the landslide of support delivered by the summit attendees will translate into a Huckabee ascendancy, however, remains to be seen. It will be tough for him to overcome his gaping fundraising disadvantage in time for the early primaries. That's of no concern to Huckabee's supporters, though; as one of them put it to me, "we've seen bigger miracles happen." But money -- not miracles -- matters to the Christian right leadership, and that's why they were sending pro-Romney signals ahead of the conference, much to the consternation of Huckabee's supporters. Huckabee, it seemed, was being left out in the cold by the "grasstops," but he denied that he was referring to the leadership when he accused Christian conservatives of being " more intoxicated with power than principle ." As...