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

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...

THE ELEPHANT IN THE COMMON GROUND ROOM.

At a press conference yesterday, Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) unveiled their new Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act. Hailed as the product of years of blood, sweat, and tears of negotiating between different camps that support and oppose legal abortion, the bill gained the support of prominent religious figures as well as major reproductive rights organizations. The bill does not deal with abortion access, and reproductive rights groups pledged to continue to work to secure that access separately from the bill. As the Religious Institution on Sexuality Morailty, Justice, and Healing's Debra Haffner , who is pro-choice, wrote on her blog, "Ryan/DeLauro is a good piece of legislation that addresses many of the important issues, including comprehensive sexuality education, family planning, and support for pregnant and parenting women. Preventing unintended pregnancy, ensuring abortion access and funding family...

SOTOMAYOR AND CHURCH-STATE SEPARATION.

Despite prodding from church-state separation advocates, no member of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Judge Sonia Sotomayor about her views on the Establishment Clause or Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment during her confirmation hearings. Republicans, like Oklahoma's Tom Coburn , talked about the Second Amendment "hanging in the balance" -- a questionable jurisprudential assertion -- but no one brought up the more real threat posed to the Establishment Clause by the stated desire of the Court's more conservative wing to reverse 60-year-old precedent preventing the entanglement of government and religion. Because Sotomayor decided only a handful of cases implicating the religion clauses of the First Amendment, her views are not discernible from her judicial record. But that didn't stop Judiciary Committee members from prodding her on other issues on which she has a scant record, and at least getting her to uphold the principle of stare decisis (precedent). Religious...

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