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

LATEST RELIGIOUS RIGHT BOGEYMAN: INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR BIRTH CONTROL.

A new cause celebre is brewing for the religious right: the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued a determination letter to Belmont Abbey, a Catholic college in North Carolina, saying that it discriminated against female faculty by excluding coverage for prescription contraceptives in its health insurance plan. The EEOC also found that the college illegally retaliated against faculty members who filed a complaint with the EEOC by publicly identifying them. According to Marcia McCormick at the Workplace Prof Blog, courts are split on whether exclusion of prescription contraception coverage violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, part of the federal civil rights law prohibiting discrimination in employment. But McCormick noted, "In my view, this is sex discrimination. Prescription contraception is only available for women, and is one of very few ways that women themselves can control when and whether to have children. And having children has a huge impact on a woman's...

"PEOPLE OF FAITH" AND HEALTH-CARE REFORM.

Yesterday, Faith in Public Life -- a leading a coalition of 22 religious groups -- hosted a conference call for "people of faith" and the White House on health-care reform. The message? "People of faith" think we have a moral obligation to provide quality, affordable health care to all our citizens and want Congress to pass a reform bill -- any bill, apparently. The 40-minute call, filled with platitudes about religion and ambiguities on policy, demonstrated just how much a political organizing effort based vaguely on what "people of faith" think falls short. First, while the moral obligation argument is obvious, it's not so obvious that making that argument to members of Congress would help produce the best bill for consumers. Granted, many of the religious groups who are co-sponsoring this ongoing health-reform mobilization effort have neither the staffs nor the resources to follow the nitty-gritty of Gang of Six negotiations on cost-containment, mandates, co-ops, subsidies, and...

HOPE FOR THE PUBLIC OPTION?

On an afternoon conference call organized by a coalition of religious organizations pushing for health-care reform, White House Domestic Policy Adviser Melody Barnes said that President Obama "is still committed to" the public option and he thinks it is "the best one." More on this tomorrow. -- Sarah Posner

A RABBI, TONY PERKINS, AND MAGGIE GALLAGHER WALK INTO A BAR...

Well, not really. But at a roundtable for reporters hosted by the Religion News Service this morning, Rabbi Jeffrey Wohlberg , president of the Rabbinical Assembly and rabbi emeritus of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C., gave anti-gay-marriage advocates a little lesson on marriage in the Torah. The roundtable was inspired by the Interfaith Alliance, and the efforts of its president, the Rev. Welton Gaddy , to excise religion from debates on gay marriage. Gaddy opened the conversation with a discussion of his paper , "Same-Gender Marriage and Religious Freedom: A Call to Quiet Conversations and Public Debates." In it, Gaddy, who supports gay marriage, calls for conversations about gay marriage to start with the Constitution, and not religion, for the sake of preserving both civil discourse and religious freedom. Much of the discussion was substantively predictable. Maggie Gallagher , the anti-gay-marriage warrior who was hired by the Bush administration to opine in favor of...

GOD AND HEALTH-CARE REFORM.

The driving force behind many of the more center-left-leaning religious-advocacy groups that popped up in Washington after the 2004 election was that religious voters wanted their voices heard in the public square and that our elected officials care what they think. Thus, if a religious-advocacy group holds a rally for health-care reform, members of Congress will sit up and listen, right? Not so fast, of course. As The Washington Post's religion reporter Jacqueline Salmon detailed this weekend, there are several coalitions of religious groups making a moral case for health-care reform. One such coalition, Faithful Reform in Health Care, says on its Web site, "As people of faith, we envision a society where each person is afforded health, wholeness, and human dignity. That vision embraces a system of health care that is inclusive, accessible, affordable, and accountable." Such a vision is not limited to "people of faith," a term so meaningless it proves useless for describing a...

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