Friday, October 12, 2007

In Defense of the Icky

I'll be honest: despite being a hard-core arch-conservative on just about every issue, I find Ann Coulter to be unpleasant, and have never really read much of her stuff (I also fail to understand the physical attraction many conservative males feel for her -- ok, she's leggy (in an awkward way) and blonde (in an artificial way, I assume). She's also got a horseface and an adam's apple. Is that attractive?). She's a classic "bomb-thrower" for the Right, and frankly, I think the coarseness she brings to the table in her rhetoric far outweighs any benefits that might be gained from such an aggressive approach. Particularly insulting was her insistence after 9/11 that, of the perpetrators, "we should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." Invade their countries? Sure. Kill their leaders? Absolutely! Convert them to Christianity? Okay, Torquemada, you seem to have misunderstood the nature of faith in the same way the Islamofascists do -- faith cannot be coerced, and the only being that might arguably (if you're a Calvinist, which I am not), transitively convert anyone is the Holy Spirit.

And yet, in light of recent events, I find myself compelled to speak, however futilely, in her defense. The "crime"? On CNBC's "The Big Idea" with Donny Deutsch (who?), she declared, inter alia, that "it would be better if we were all Christian" (Donny's accusation, which Ann affirmed with a simple "yes", to be fair), that "we should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians" (same as before -- Donny's accusation, Ann's affirmation), and (here's the big bombshell) that Christians "just want Jews to be perfected" (her own words, this time).

Now, of course, liberals are incensed by all this, with cries of "Anti-Semitism" and "religious discrimination" and "offensive hate-speech" being leveled all around. First of all, before drawing any conclusions, take the time to read the entire transcript of this exchange, provided in the link above. It is clear from the fragmented back-and-forth of the talk-show format that Ann actually has a reasonably solid understanding of the theological relationship between Jews and Christians, at least according to a Dispensationalist outlook.

First, the notion that we would all be "better off" if we were all Christian: an adherent to any religion which preaches that it is the sole source of salvation must, logically, believe this, or quit the religion altogether. This is especially true with orthodox Christianity, in which our Founder declares "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light; no one comes to the Father but through Me." This, and many other scriptural sources, indicate that our very fundamental beliefs require us to profess that Jesus Christ is the only source of salvation. If salvation is a Good Thing, then how could the world possibly be worse off if everyone were saved? And for everyone to be saved, they must be Christ-followers.

As for the notion that we should "do away with Judaism": read Ann's comments about Christians being on the "fast track". It seems clear that she subscribes to a theology in which the Covenant between God and the Jews still holds; this view (and, frustratingly, the opposite view, that the first coming of Christ wholly superseded and obsolesced this covenant) is indeed supported scripturally. She merely points out, in her own uniquely blunt way, that Jews still must observe the entirety of the Mosaic Law in order to be made righteous, whereas Christians are made righteous simply by faith in Jesus Christ, "like Federal Express", as she says (she doesn't even delve into a logical discussion that such required obedience to Mosaic law is, technically, currently impossible so long as the Dome of the Rock stands where the Temple is supposed to be, but I digress...).

Finally, the one thing she is a little bit guilty of is speaking "Christianese" to an aggressively secular audience, when she declares that Jews should be "perfected" by becoming Christians. A non-Christianese-speaker would probably assume this means that she views herself, solely by virtue of her Christianity, as "perfect", in a secular sense -- blameless, flawless, etc. Even some Jewish conservatives take it this way, incorrectly. The "perfection" of Judaism, here, refers only to its completion, that is, the arrival of the Messiah for the salvation of all manking, Jewish and Gentile. Jews are made complete by taking their faith to its logical, consistent, and scriptural end in Christ Jesus. Us Gentiles merely get to "opt in" at the eleventh hour.

You know, if she had not spent the last several years cultivating a persona in which liberals can tell that they are meant to take offense at her merely by determining whether or not her lips are moving, this wouldn't be an issue. This message is no different than the message presented by any orthodox Christian in the last 2000 years. Then again, sometimes the Truth is the most offensive thing to say.

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Anonymous Marty said...

I get guilty pleasure watching or listening to Coulter, though none of it from her looks. She's right about a lot of what she says, but her style is very inflammatory. OTOH, her column never should have been axed from many newspapers (including the CDT). It had a decent readership and was no more inflammatory that some the crap from Molly Ivans and the what's-her-name stamped from the same mold that is Ivans' replacement. It has the virtue of not being ignorant of fact and logic.

8:36 AM  

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