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

Pastor Strangelove

Texan John Hagee has a huge following, the ear of the White House, and a theory that an invasion of Iran was foretold in the Book of Esther.

On Purim, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the day Queen Esther saved the Jews from annihilation, Trinity Broadcasting Network's flagship talk show, Praise the Lord , featured an appearance by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. A politically conservative Orthodox rabbi, Lapin is best known for crusading with the Christian right against anti-religion bigotry and, more recently, for his close association with the convicted super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But he was not invited to a nationwide telecast to discuss such topics as the trumped-up war against religion or the better nature of his fallen friend. He had been asked to explain the significance of Purim to Christians, and particularly how the Old Testament's Book of Esther "serves as a roadmap to reality," which pinpoints where the next world "hot spot" will be. That soon-to-be-flaming location is where the Book of Esther was set: namely Persia, or in modern parlance, Iran. Seated beside Lapin in the ornately gilded Trinity Broadcasting Network (...

Congressman Rogers' Neighborhood

Representative Hal Rogers , the Kentucky Republican who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee -- that is, the politician who controls the purse strings -- has filled his fund-raising coffers with contributions from companies that do business with the Department of Homeland Security. Through Rogers' campaign and his leadership PAC, which can be used to buy influence with colleagues, interested donors have more than one way to give, and they do. In the 2004 election cycle, Rogers' PAC, Help America's Leaders, or HALPAC, pulled in nearly $1.3 million -- about twice as much as his campaign fund. In turn, HALPAC doled out more than $650,000 to the campaigns of fellow Republicans in 2004, making it one of the eight biggest-spending leadership PACs. Many of its contributors were the PACs of lobbyists and DHS contractors who later scored major DHS contracts. Between April 2003 and February 2004, the PAC of Accenture -- the Bermuda-based consulting...

Security for Sale

Amid the political and cultural upheaval that followed the September 11 terror attacks, Americans were warned repeatedly that everything would be different because a vulnerable nation could no longer afford to remain complacent, careless, and profligate. Politicians of both parties vowed discipline, self-sacrifice, and diligence. Perhaps the most ostentatious symbol of this shared national commitment was the creation of the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003. Less than three years later, the brief but uninspiring history of DHS proves how little has actually changed in Washington, where the institutional cultivation of influence peddling, cronyism, and waste continues to thrive unimpeded. At the bureaucracy that is supposed to protect us, Republican lobbyists bustle through the revolving door, carrying millions in contracts for their corporate clients, with all the predictable failures and cost overruns; Congressional committee chairmen collect their campaign...

With God On His Side

From the archives: Before he was John McCain's spiritual adviser, Rod Parsley rose to power via his controversial "Word of Faith" doctrine and his support for Ohio's gay marriage ban.

When Zell Miller took the stage at one of Ohio's largest "megachurches" last August, there was no talk of spitballs or duels, but there was plenty of rhetoric about soldiers and war. As the featured speaker at both a regular Sunday-evening church service and a political rally for about 1,300 pastors the following morning, the former Georgia senator wasn't talking about gun-toting soldiers bringing democracy to the Middle East. Instead, to the delight of thousands of congregants at the World Harvest Church in Columbus, Miller spoke of Bible-toting Christian soldiers bringing theocracy to America. The apostate Democrat came to Ohio as the special guest of televangelist Rod Parsley, a rising star of the Christian right who was lifted from political obscurity onto the national stage for his role in mobilizing voters in favor of his state's gay-marriage ban last year. Parsley, a Bible-college dropout who claims to have begun his evangelical career in his parents' backyard by preaching to a...