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

CATHOLICS, HEALTH CARE REFORM, AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH.

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...

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...

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