Sarah Posner invites guests from across the ideological spectrum to discuss breaking news and three-alarm issues at the intersection of politics and religion.
Sarah brings Corey on The Posner Show to talk about the controversial “boycott, sanctions, and divestment” (BDS) panel recently held at Brooklyn College. Corey tells the story of the backlash against the panel, and the threat to academic freedom that it posed. Sarah and Corey debate the wisdom of the backlash, and Corey describes the BDS event itself. Would this type of event cause as much controversy at a different school? Finally, Corey argues that Brooklyn College is changing—and that this isn’t a bad thing.
On The Posner Show, Sarah talks to Gershom, who says that despite all the fireworks over whether Chuck Hagel is “pro-Israel,” Israelis really don’t care. Gershom breaks down last week’s election results, and hypothesizes about the next coalition government. Although many declared the results a victory for the center, Gershom point out that the only blocs that gained were from the left. Can Yair Lapid help push Israel back to the negotiating table with the Palestinians? Will a second-term Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry be able to change the dynamic? Gershom disputes the conventional wisdom in the US that Israeli society has moved to the right, and makes the case against despair about the peace process. Finally, what do the Hagel hearings reveal about America’s relationship with Israel?
On The Posner Show, Sarah talks with Katha on the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Is the term “pro-choice” passé—and if so, what should supporters of abortion rights use in its stead? Does it help to talk about abortion being complicated? A majority of Americans support upholding Roe v. Wade, but has anti-abortion activism at the state level effectively banned abortion in much of the country? Plus: Why Katha is happy that Todd Akin spoke from the heart about “legitimate rape.”
On The Posner Show, Sarah talks with Christian ethicist David Gushee about the Louie Giglio inauguration controversy. Giglio’s primary issue has been activism against human trafficking, which David calls “the ultimate consensus issue.” But the religious right’s litmus test for evangelicals forces them to choose between inclusion in their evangelical community and speaking their mind. Sarah and David discuss why the right’s persecution narratives are toxic, and David describes how conservative evangelicals have been “dethroned from cultural hegemony.” Should we even be having a public prayer at the inauguration? Will the Giglio incident make it harder for Democrats to reach out to white evangelicals? Plus: David’s challenge to his fellow evangelicals.
On The Posner Show, Sarah talks with Brent about how “pro-Israel” groups have dominated the debate over the Hagel nomination. Brent argues their dominance is due, in part, to the de-democratization of American Jewish organizations. Is the term “Jewish lobby” anti-Semitic, and is the term “Israel lobby” even accurate? Brent and Sarah discuss the role of Christian Zionists. What should we make of Rand Paul’s trip to Israel? Plus: Can we talk about the Palestinians?
On The Posner Show, Sarah and Denny discuss the election and the future of the evangelical alliance with the GOP. Denny predicts that by 2016 marriage will be off the table in presidential politics, but that it will continue to resonate as a “religious liberty” issue. How far will private companies push for religious exemptions from laws and regulations? Denny explains why, unlike many evangelicals, he wasn’t surprised that Romney lost. He also argues that the religious right will continue to support the GOP, but may find its role changing due to demographic shifts.
On The Posner Show, Sarah and Anthea explain how Mike Huckabee got his David Petraeus-King David analogy all wrong. Anthea says the Petraeus affair shows that evangelizing in the military doesn’t have its intended effect. Moving on to an analysis of religion and the election results: Did Ralph Reed exaggerate how many evangelicals he could bring out to the polls? Have the Republicans boxed themselves into a corner by catering to the religious right? Anthea challenges the Catholic bishops on immigration, but suggests that the LDS Church emerged from Romney’s campaign with its reputation intact.
On The Posner Show, Sarah and Katharine talk about religion and climate change. Katharine describes how climate change exacerbated the effects of Hurricane Sandy. They discuss questions addressed in Katharine’s book, co-written with her husband, on addressing faith-based issues in climate change. If God is in control, and the end is near anyway, why should humans do anything to mitigate climate change? How is climate-change denial like creationism? Has Sandy revived climate change as a political issue? Finally, Katharine explains why houses of worship should go green.
On The Posner Show, Sarah and religion scholar Sarah Sentilles discuss Richard Mourdock’s comments about rape and pregnancy. What would happen if politicians like Mourdock had to offer a non-religious justification for their views? How prevalent is the view that God controls everything that happens in the world? Sentilles argues that appeals to religion lets politicians off the hook. The Sarahs agree that Mourdock and Akin display a misunderstanding of rape. What should we make of the idea that Hurricane Sandy is God’s will? Finally: What happens when women talk about God?
On The Posner Show, Sarah and E.J. discuss the marriage equality referenda in Maryland, Maine, and Washington. E.J. explains why polling isn’t a good predictor of how people vote on this issue. Sarah asks what’s changed in Maine, and E.J. explains how voters are swayed by personal stories. Sarah discusses religious outreach in Maryland, as well as the role of the Baltimore Ravens. Why do marriage equality proponents need so much more money for their campaigns than opponents do? E.J. explains how leading private employers in Washington state have provided financial support for marriage equality there. Finally, E.J. recounts the revolutionary changes for LGBT equality in her lifetime.
On The Posner Show, Sarah and Grant discuss Catholics and the election. Why did the vice-presidential candidates get asked about their Catholicism only in terms of their views on abortion? They discuss the reasons the Obama campaign has scaled back religious outreach. Is there really such a thing as the Catholic vote, anyway? Sarah asks Grant about the “On All of Our Shoulders” letter, a critique by Catholic theologians of Paul Ryan’s economic policy. Does Catholic doctrine support the conservative conception of smaller government? Grant sheds light on an effort by a Republican political operative to claim that the Obama campaign is calling voters with an anti-Mormon message. Plus: Lightning round on the baseball postseason.
On The Posner Show, Sarah speaks with Emily about Republican efforts to win over Jewish voters. Michele Bachmann offended some congregants at a Chicago synagogue when she showed up for Yom Kippur services. Emily argues that Jews have become a “set piece” in the presidential campaign. As Sheldon Adelson’s millions are being spent on persuading a tiny fraction of Jews to vote for Romney, who are Republicans really talking to when they talk about Israel? A new poll of American Jewish opinion confirms once again that Jews are overwhelmingly liberal—but do they support Obama’s Israel policy? And why doesn’t the poll ask about the occupation? Plus: Emily reminds us that Israel is real.