Sarah Posner invites guests from across the ideological spectrum to discuss breaking news and three-alarm issues at the intersection of politics and religion.
On The Posner Show, Sarah speaks with Matthew about Pope Francis’s impact on American Catholicism. Is the pope turning his back on conservative Catholics? Matthew explains why Francis is shifting focus, not ideology—the church isn’t changing its stance on social issues. Sarah brings up the election of Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, and Matthew describes the church’s financial crisis. Is Francis’s unscripted nature good or bad for the church? Plus: What the pope has in common with the honey badger.
On The Posner Show, Sarah talks with Geoff, author of the book Rule and Ruin. Geoff argues that we are living in a new era of a far-right Republican Party. They discuss the role of the John Birch Society in the GOP’s rightward tilt in the 1960s, and its legacy of attacking conservatives for betraying its view of American ideals. Geoff breaks down what last year’s Republican National Committee “autopsy” says about the death of moderation in the GOP. Can Mike Lee or Chris Christie be the moderates of the future? Plus: Why the conservative movement has no pope anymore.
On The Posner Show, Sarah talks with Brent about the new Pew survey of American Jews. They discuss the central question of the survey: Who is Jewish? Is “Jewish atheist” an oxymoron? Brent busts some myths about the Orthodox being the fastest-growing segment of Jews. Brent explains why he thinks the Israel question is overrated and overstated. Who, exactly, do mainstream Jewish organizations represent? Plus: How much should Israel worry about what American Jews think of it?
On The Posner Show, Anthea explains why she thinks Pope Francis is a great diplomat. She and Sarah discuss the growing doctrinal gulf between the Vatican and many bishops. Anthea predicts that the church would permit non-celibate priests before it would ordain women. Why does Jon Stewart love the Pope, but American bishops don’t seem to be showing the love?
On The Posner Show, Sarah and Betsy talk abortion politics. Does Texas’s passage of a twenty-week abortion ban spell a resurgence for pro-choice politics in the Lone Star State? Is the law a ploy to burnish Rick Perry’s presidential ambitions? Moving on to another Texan, Betsy makes the case that Ted Cruz is not on the fringe of the Republican Party. They discuss Cruz’s and Rand Paul’s recent visit to Iowa to speak to evangelical pastors. Can Paul keep his libertarian base while pandering to the religious right?
On The Posner Show, Sarah talks with Anthea about religion and the acquittal of George Zimmerman. The verdict made Anthea think of a book she read in seminary, Is God A White Racist? They discuss how appeals to religion differ on the right and the left. What does Juror B37′s interview with Anderson Cooper reveal about the racial biases jurors brought to the case? Sarah and Anthea strongly critique Richard Cohen’s column on the trial. Finally: How should President Obama talk about the case?
On The Posner Show, Sarah and Denny analyze the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decisions. Denny was surprised by Justice Kennedy’s decision against the Defense of Marriage Act, and argues that the opinion puts opponents of same-sex marriage in the same category as racists, while Sarah argues the opinion says religion and morals can’t be used as an excuse to discriminate. Is US v. Windsor the Roe v. Wade of marriage equality? Do younger evangelicals even care about this issue anymore? Denny argues that evangelicals have themselves failed to promote a culture of marriage. Plus: Why Denny thinks conservatives reacting hysterically to these decisions isn’t helpful.
On The Posner Show, Sarah discusses the protests in Turkey with Haroon, who just returned from Istanbul. Haroon talks about why the protests are not as the American media has portrayed them, and how he got tear-gassed and saw Man of Steel on the same weekend. They discuss the lack of an effective political opposition to Prime Minister Erdogan. Haroon recounts his surprising discussions with conservative and religious Turks, and explains why the protests in Turkey are not like the Arab Spring. Is Erdogan going for the political “death blow“? Plus: What it feels like to be tear-gassed.
On The Posner Show, Sarah and Betsy talk about the political fallout from this week’s revelations about NSA communications surveillance. Will Rand Paul‘s pledge to reform the security state be a political asset for him, or will it damage his credibility with the GOP base? They then turn to the House GOP turmoil over immigration reform, and the role that evangelical support for immigrants might play. They also discuss Betsy’s piece on E.W. Jackson, the controversial GOP nominee for lieutenant governor in Virginia, and in particular his preaching of the prosperity gospel.
On The Posner Show, Sarah talks to Eric about Town of Greece v. Galloway, a case the Supreme Court just decided to hear in which two town residents challenged as a violation of separation of church and state Christian prayers that have opened the town council’s meetings. Eric says that Supreme Court precedent on the subject of legislative prayers has created “chaos” and adopted a “pernicious” historical test. Eric argues that a moment of silence is the best solution. They discuss how the case is likely to play out before the Supreme Court. Plus: What about the Texas cheerleader case?
On The Posner Show, Sarah talks with Sigal about last week’s violence at the Western Wall by ultra-Orthodox men opposed to the activities of the group Women of the Wall. They discuss the background of this controversy, including the arrest of the group’s leader a month ago. Sigal argues that last week was a watershed moment for Israeli feminism. Are mainstream Israelis following this story closely? Sarah observes that women from fundamentalist backgrounds often find secularism to be a major challenge to their identity. Will American Jews be able to play a role in resolving this issue?
On The Posner Show, Sarah talks with Wajahat about Islamophobia in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. What does it mean when press accounts describe Tamerlan Tsarnaev as an increasingly “devout” Muslim? Wajahat explains the vast gulf between the perception and the reality of American Muslims. Why are some terrorists described as “lone wolves” but, without organizational links to an international terror organization, the Tsarnaev brothers are described as “self-radicalized” terrorists? Wajahat explains the Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck dynamic to Americans’ reaction to terrorism. Plus: Why aren’t we talking about the Tsarnaevs and gun control? UPDATE: Reaction to the AP’s reporting on Tamerlan’s radicalization and the mysterious “Misha.”