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


James Dobson is right about one thing: Fred Thompson can't speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail. This was Thompson's grand opportunity to show this audience more than his Senate record, more than his affection for John Roberts or Tom Coburn , more than his dedication to the institution of marriage (twice), and more than his moment of awe when he saw his daughter's sonogram. That's baseline stuff for this crowd; they're looking for catchy phrases drawn on scripture and rhetorical venom for perceived enemies. Thompson delivered none of that. He doesn't know what he'd do in his first hundred days, he said, but knows that in his first hour, he "would go into oval office, close door and pray for the wisdom to do what is right." He might think that's a sufficient blueprint for a presidency, but even this audience appeared unmoved, and gave him only polite applause. --Sarah Posner


The world according to Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Jean Schmidt (panelists for "The 'Right' Women of the House"): Good: abstinence education. Bad: Gardisil. Good: Cord blood. Bad: Embryonic stem cell research. Good: Family Research Council. Bad: Emily's List. Good: Us. Bad: Nancy Pelosi. Really. There's not much more to it than that. -- Sarah Posner


Expected to drop out of the race later today in his native Kansas, Sam Brownback came to the Values Voters Summit this morning to give not a stump speech but a call to action. Without a mention of his expected withdrawal -- or the presidential race at all -- Brownback was a striking counterpoint to John McCain, who preceded him with a lackluster, passionless speech. McCain, who got a stony reception for his inclusion of war on terror detainees in his call to treat all life as sacred, seemed uninspired and even bored with his own overtold stories of being tortured as a POW. Brownback, who has been criticized by movement insiders for his own lack of passion on the campaign trail, was full of emotion on the stock anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage rhetoric and the comparison -- standard fare by now -- of "Islamo-fascism" to "atheistic communism." But it was his closing call to action that was intended to get his followers to vote -- even if not for him. “Thi s is our time. This is...

The FundamentaList (No. 5)

"Values Voters" flirt with Romney, Third Way debunks the myth of the "evangelical monolith," and Ann Coulter's remarks create some strange bedfellows.

1. Signs Point to an Evangelical Revival for Romney; Prince of Darkness Thinks Christians Heart Giuliani With the Family Research Council/Focus on the Family "Values Voter" Summit just days away, FRC President Tony Perkins hinted to reporters that Mitt Romney's Mormonism isn't such a big deal after all. Perkins' cult-shmult conference call came on the heels of evangelical public relations guru Mark DeMoss sending a five-page letter of support for Romney to evangelical leaders. (DeMoss, who has worked with many major evangelical figures, including the late Jerry Falwell, has volunteered for Romney's campaign since last year.) In the letter, DeMoss invoked Falwell, suggesting that his old mentor never would have sat out an election (i.e., voted for a third-party candidate) when two, and possibly four Supreme Court appointments were on the line. "I believe we can make a difference -- the difference in this election," wrote DeMoss, "and if Mitt Romney should become the 44th president of...

The FundamentaList (No. 4)

Dobson courts Pentecostals, scandal rocks Oral Roberts University, a Christian men's organization tries to regroup, and does shalom mean peace to Christian Zionists?

1. Third Parties and the Fourth Estate Would James Dobson or Tony Perkins have had as many Google News hits this week had the press not fallen for the story that the dynamic duo was ready to dump the GOP in favor of certain failure and irrelevancy? Out of the circus that ensued after the Salt Lake City meeting last week, they got a massive, free get-out-the-vote drive. If Perkins and Dobson can't get their message out through their e-mail lists, radio shows, newsletters, and church networks, they surely can shout their significance from the rooftops of CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN. Their intended audience was their own constituents and the Republican Party as a whole: Take us seriously, or the White House will once again be occupied by a Clinton. There's no better way to motivate this crowd than by threatening them with insignificance. But before that narrative veered out of their control and became conventional wisdom, Perkins quickly reined it in with an appearance on Face the Nation...