Sarah Posner

South Carolina Governor Requested Exemption to Allow Foster-Care Agency to Discriminate Against Non-Christians

In an unusual move, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, a long-standing ally of President Donald Trump, has personally intervened with the Department of Health and Human Services to secure a religious exemption from federal nondiscrimination laws for a Christian foster-care-placement agency in his state. Without the exemption, the placement agency, Miracle Hill Ministries, of Greenville, is at risk of losing its license because it refuses to place foster children with non-Christian families. Like other such agencies that participate in state foster-care programs that receive federal funds, Miracle Hill would normally be barred from discriminating on the basis of religion.

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How Trump Is a Kind of Miracle for the Religious Right, Previously in Decline

Donald Trump’s conquest of the White House, buoyed by the overwhelming support of white evangelicals, has, for the moment at least, quelled the semi-regular pronouncements of the death of the religious right. As the numbers of non-white and non-religious Americans have increased, the demographic weight of white evangelicals has fallen. But rather than withering away, the religious right in its 2017 version seems poised to capitalize on unexpected access to power—a miracle, if you will. They are ecstatic over Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, and what they see as his steadfast protection of religious liberty and opposition to abortion. They also see trusted longtime allies in Vice President Mike Pence and at the helms of the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services; a co-religionist, climate-change denier as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency; and an opponent of public schools, long the movement’s “secular humanist” bogeyman, as secretary of education.

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How Trump Beat Cruz at His Own Game

Here’s a key reason why Ted Cruz lost the Republican presidential nomination to Donald Trump: Evangelicals don’t like him as much as Cruz imagines they do, and Trump possesses a diabolical savant’s grasp of how to push Republican base voters’ buttons—and Cruz’s.

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How Trump Smashed the Religious Right’s Recipe to Sway the GOP Primaries

Donald Trump’s stump speeches are not, as most are, the product of careful tweaking and calibration, a search for the sweet spot between animating one’s supporters and drawing in new ones. Instead, his speeches are a desultory, malicious accounting of winners and losers, and a call to often violent action against the latter. His rallies are, by design, a feedback loop of self-validation.

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How a Fringe Theocratic Movement Helped Shape the Religious Right As We Know It

Christian Reconstructionism is a twentieth-century theo-political movement whose influence—on the contemporary religious right, in particular—is little understood. Moreover, when Reconstructionism does come up in public conversation it is often in the context of some of its most extreme (and alarming) tenets: think biblical defense of slavery, the stoning of homosexuals.

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Why Right-Wing Evangelicals Are Infatuated With Donald Trump

The Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody wants to tell you why evangelicals like Donald Trump. It’s a good try, but it’s not very convincing.

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Why Conservatives Refuse to Believe Obama Is Christian

Alex Theodoridis, a political scientist at the University of California, Merced, conducted a survey last fall of Americans’ understanding of President Obama’s religious beliefs. Remarkably, he found that in response to the question, “Which of these do you think most likely describes what Obama believes deep down? Muslim, Christian, atheist, spiritual, or I don’t know,” 54 percent of Republicans said Obama is Muslim. Only nine percent said he is Christian.

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Fascinating Journey: How a Former Texas Conservative Operative Left the Religious Right

If you met interior designer and business consultant Joyce Elaine White, you’d never guess she was once the lobbyist for the group that formed the leading edge of the religious right’s takeover of the Republican Party in Texas; that she was once in the inner circle of political power in the second-largest state in the nation. Then a crisis of faith changed all that.

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Israel's Controversial Palestinian Policy Polarizes American Jewish Community

The following is reprinted with permission from Religion Dispatches. Follow RD on Facebook or Twitter for daily updates.

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Christian Megachurch in Foreclosure After Preacher Paid Himself Millions in Donated Cash

A headline caught my eye this morning: “Indiana’s Largest Megachurch Faces New Foreclosure Proceedings.” It made me think of Steve Munsey, an Indiana prosperity preacher I watched in a Decatur, Georgia television studio in 2007, pleading for audience members and viewers to give their money to the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

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