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

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...


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...


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...


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...


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