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,


Recent Articles

The FundamentaList (No. 4)

Dobson courts Pentecostals, scandal rocks Oral Roberts University, a Christian men's organization tries to regroup, and does shalom mean peace to Christian Zionists?

1. Third Parties and the Fourth Estate Would James Dobson or Tony Perkins have had as many Google News hits this week had the press not fallen for the story that the dynamic duo was ready to dump the GOP in favor of certain failure and irrelevancy? Out of the circus that ensued after the Salt Lake City meeting last week, they got a massive, free get-out-the-vote drive. If Perkins and Dobson can't get their message out through their e-mail lists, radio shows, newsletters, and church networks, they surely can shout their significance from the rooftops of CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN. Their intended audience was their own constituents and the Republican Party as a whole: Take us seriously, or the White House will once again be occupied by a Clinton. There's no better way to motivate this crowd than by threatening them with insignificance. But before that narrative veered out of their control and became conventional wisdom, Perkins quickly reined it in with an appearance on Face the Nation...

The FundamentaList (No. 3)

Will the Christian right name its own third-party candidate? Reaching out to Jews who missed Jesus, and a Christian stance on global warming.

1. A Third Party Christian Right Candidate? Not a Chance. Over the weekend, well-placed leaks to The New York Times , Salon , ABC News , and WorldNetDaily spread a story that the clandestine Council for National Policy (CNP) would rather get behind a third-party candidate than back current front-runner Rudy Giuliani. A seat of power for ideological purists, media moguls, and the Christian right’s fundraising aristocracy, the CNP can pull all the necessary strings -- for the right candidate. Back in 1999, George W. Bush sealed the deal with the Christian right with a speech which, eight years later, is still subject to the organization’s double-super-secrecy rules. The idea that the Christian right would endorse a third-party candidate is ludicrous, given its pathological need to defeat Hillary Clinton and ultimately maintain sway over the White House. Focus on the Family's James Dobson has a history of threatening defection from the GOP to endorse a third-party candidate. He has never...

The FundamentaList (No. 2)

Pressure mounts to rally 'round a GOP candidate (but which one?), Christians atone with cash on Yom Kippur, and how the White House has angered some of its faith-based grant recipients.

1. Christian Right Feels Pressure to Pick a GOP Candidate While Mitt Romney was courting Michigan's monied elite , Mike Huckabee missed his coach flight and couldn't afford the charter jet to Mackinac Island to join him. No matter. Huckabee had just won the straw poll at the Palmetto Family Council in South Carolina, and he was continuing to feel the evangelical wind at his back. Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of a Southern Baptist church in Taylors, South Carolina, told me in an interview this week that Huckabee's candidacy is gaining steam, and that there "are a growing number of people who are convinced that he is a viable candidate." Huckabee, Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain have all met with Page, recognizing his influence as the leader of the country's largest Protestant denomination and the single biggest component of the conservative evangelical right. Page, who explained to me his comments reflected the views of conservative...

The FundamentaList (No. 1)

The quest for Dobson's endorsement, the Values Voter Debate, Bible codes about 9-11, Santorum's prep for war with Iran, and televangelist domestic violence.

The IRS cleared James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family, to endorse presidential candidates without violating his organization's tax status. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Editor's Note: Introducing a new regular feature at TAP Online in which Sarah Posner, author of the forthcoming book God's Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters , counts down the week's top news about the religious right. Look for it every Wednesday. 1. IRS Says Dobson Can Endorse Candidates In Colorado Springs, James Dobson of Focus on the Family (FOF) was jubilant that the IRS had cleared his organization of charges , filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), that it had illegally endorsed Bush for president in 2004. As a tax-exempt organization, FOF could be subject to fines and even revocation of its tax-exempt status if it campaigns on behalf of or endorses candidates. But according to Dobson's announcement on his nationally broadcast radio program, the IRS found that any endorsement of Bush came from Dobson personally and not on behalf of his organization. Dobson -- despite FOF out-fundraising CREW by a 127 to 1 margin...

Christian Legal Group Represents Missouri in Abortion Case

Gov. Matt Blunt's office contracted with a Christian organization to defend the state in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood over newly enacted regulations targeting abortion clinics.

In a tone befitting a pubescent spat, the director of Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services last week informed the state Attorney General Jay Nixon that she would not be using his services in a lawsuit filed against the state by Planned Parenthood seeking to have a restrictive abortion law declared unconstitutional. It was a highly unusual move, since the attorney general is the state's lawyer, and it is his job to defend the constitutionality of state statutes when they are challenged in court. "I did not believe I could trust you to defend me and my department vigorously," wrote Jane Drummond, general counsel to Republican Gov. Matt Blunt (son of the House Republican Whip Roy Blunt). "You," Drummond accused the state's chief law enforcement officer, Nixon, who happens to be the Democrat challenging Blunt in Missouri's gubernatorial race next year, "are radically pro-abortion." In a final talk-to-the-hand flourish, Drummond demanded, "Please have your counsel contact my...