October 12, 2007

Breaking: Ann Coulter is sometimes unintentionally ignorant too

209518~All-Dogs-Go-to-Heaven-Posters.jpg Ann Coulter might have just lost a ton of credibility with the last group she was counting on to support her: fundamentalist Christians. Yeah, it's mostly Jews, liberals and sane people who are upset with her right now, but there's nothing new about that.

Let me back up.

A lot of people are up in arms about Coulter's recent pronouncement that all Americans, including Jews, should convert to Christianity and that evangelicals "just want Jews to be perfected." Later she clarified, "that is what Christians consider themselves: perfected Jews."

To a limited extent, Coulter is indeed expressing a common evangelical belief. I've never heard the term "perfected Jews," but many evangelicals do refer to Jewish converts to Christianity as "completed Jews" (though the nearly as misleading "Messianic Jews" is still the most common term). As an extension of this belief, a minority of fundamentalist Christians have taken to thinking of themselves as completed Jews, often observing Christianized versions of Jewish holidays and rituals as a way of exploring their roots. There's a sizable market for Judaica in the Christian subculture of late.

Now, this does not mean that all these people would agree with Coulter that converting the Jews is a worthy goal. Most Christians I've met would be far more comfortable saying, "While it's true that the Bible says Jesus wants everyone to accept him, God has a special plan for the Jews that may be partly hidden from us, so the wisest and most Christian course is to leave them in God's hands." Certainly I was witnessed to now and again, but more often I heard sentiments like, "Jews and Christians are brothers and that's good enough for me."

On the other hand, Ann Coulter really steps in it when she tries to backpedal.

No, no, no, no, no. I don’t want you being offended by this. This is what Christians consider themselves, because our testament is the continuation of your testament. You know that. So we think Jews go to heaven. I mean, Falwell himself said that, but you have to follow laws. Ours is “Christ died for our sins.” [emphasis added]

Well, Ann Coulter may think Jews go to heaven, but to say that we think that — meaning all, most or even more than a tiny few evangelicals — is simply wrong, and shows as an astonishing ignorance of the theology that Coulter professes to hold deeply. Yes, many evangelicals are too polite to say this to a Jewish person's face ("God decides who gets to heaven," is the most common dodge), but if pressed, they will acknowledge that "no man comes unto the Father but by Me." That's Jesus 101.

So how could Falwell himself (what is he, the pope?) say such an ignorant thing? Simple: he didn't.

March 02, 2006: Earlier today, reports began circulating across the globe that I have recently stated that Jews can go to heaven without being converted to Jesus Christ. This is categorically untrue.

These false reports originated from a March 1 Jerusalem Post front page column which said: "An evangelical pastor and an Orthodox rabbi, both from Texas, have apparently persuaded leading Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell that Jews can get to heaven without being converted to Christianity...."

Before today, I had never heard of Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg or had any communications with him. I therefore am at a total loss as to why he would make such statements about me to the Post...

In this age of political correctness and diversity, the traditional evangelical belief that salvation is available only through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is often portrayed as closed-minded and bigoted. But if one is to believe in Jesus Christ, he must believe in His words: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). I simply cannot alter my belief that Jesus is The Way to heaven, as He taught.

Oh, snap, Ann: I think Jerry Falwell just reached out from beyond the grave to call you politically correct!

Update: Good timing! The current issue of the Christian magazine Charisma has an editorial warning that too much embracing of the Jews can lead to Coulter's heretical "dual covenant" theology: "To suggest that a Jew is given some type of free backstage pass to heaven is the most blatant form of deception. If we truly love Israel and want God's blessings for the Jewish people, we will unapologetically tell them the truth and urge them to believe it."

Related: From an article in today's NYT about bridging the Christian-Muslim divide: "Some analysts see the letter as being addressed as much to Muslims as Christians, although the chances of it influencing radicals is considered slim. Radicals often interpret 'love thy neighbor' as help thy neighbor find Islam, said Prof. Muqtedar Khan, director of Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware."

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Let me back up.

I'd rather you explain.

The allusion was intentional, I assure you.

Has anyone pointed out before that she is a scaggy, stupid cunt?

(I really don't like her.)

Aren't there also groups who consider themselves "true jews" who are nonetheless incredibly anti-semitic?

abe - You may be thinking of the Black Israelites. Louis Theroux did a hilarious segment on them for his old TV show.

They don't really figure in this conversation.

Also, I forgot to mention that Hebrew Christian and Christian Hebrew are also common terms for converted Jews and/or Judaized Christians.

Jews for Jesus is the name of the most famous organization of "messianic Jews," but is not a generic term.

Besides the black group, there are the British Israelites. Mormoms, too, maybe?

I understand this is different, but I think there is a relationship: those thinking of themselves as Jews who still don't really like ashkenazim, sephardim, etc.

What about my observation about Ms Coulter? Am I the first?

Most evangelicals I know do have an abstract fondness for Jews, but I suspect it has less to do with the fact that they're all going to heaven together and more to do with the fact that Jews protect the Holy Land so they don't have to. I think all the other reasons are sort of made up on the fly whenever they meet one, and those reasons are almost always preceded by, "No no no no no. I don't want you being offended by this..."

This will be in my book, obvs, but I think the affection (abstract is a good word for it) is actually fairly well grounded in the sense of kinship I mentioned. Equally, God says quite clearly that he loves the Jewish people, so Christians generally feel obliged to do the same. The apocalyptic/geopolitical stuff plays a role, but in my experience it's over-emphasized. And I've seen all this in writing/preaching aimed at Christians, not justifications offered on the fly.

abe - You're far from the first to call her a cunt or a stupid cunt. But scaggy, stupid cunt? That's all you.

Thanks. This is a case of someone who might otherwise be all right looking.

Many times during, say, pogroms, Jews have brought up this God says that he loves us thing...

Well, the system ain't perfect.

Do "completed Jews" get their foreskins reattached? 'cause they're kind of incomplete without them.

And I've seen all this in writing/preaching aimed at Christians, not justifications offered on the fly.

You know a lot more about it than I do. But most people, even those who go to church, know almost as much about theology as Miss Teen USA contestants know about Heidegger. I was probably being a little flip--I do think most evangelicals (and probably all Christians to some degree) think of themselves as being sort of "descended from Jews" and that gives them a little warm and fuzzy feeling when watching Seinfeld or reading about secret missile strikes into Syria.

Kevin - Yes. I endorsed your use of the word "abstract" not because they don't really mean it, but because they have little first-hand experience with Jews (and therefore don't understand that what they consider affection is often a little creepy).

I endorsed your use of the word "abstract" not because they don't really mean it, but because they have little first-hand experience with Jews (and therefore don't understand that what they consider affection is often a little creepy).

Ha! Yeah, that's well said.

I appreciate the analysis and discussion of these tricky theological points. But I wonder if Ann Coulter even cares, or remembers, what she said by now. (It's been one whole day after all). Her remarks sounded exactly like heard them once out of the corner of her ear while drunk at a hideous right wing cocktail party; and that when asked about Jews and Christianity she dredged up these half-remembered fragments out of her brain and flung them out there hoping that they would be offensive enough to stick.

I don't think that she *knows* what she's talking about, that she *believes* what she says, or that she even *cares* about her words five seconds after those words leave her mouth ...

But I've enjoyed the discussion anyway...

anon - That's at least half true, but, as I indicated in my fist sentence, I think AC has been making an effort for a while now to pass herself off as a Bible-believin' Christian, ever since she was shunted aside by the more elite conservative movement.

I don't think she really believes this stuff (the way most of the people I met do), which is why she sometimes gets it wrong, but she has seriously tried to learn it and incorporate it into her shtick.

Well, this is where I kind of disagree with you. She certainly has a "shtick", but if you have watched her over the years, you can see that she has deteriorated quite a bit in terms of actually knowing or caring anything about the topic she is discussing. She has become quite reckless and appears to be going for the maximum controversy and offensiveness - when she is coherent of course. She often sounds confused nowadays - her remarks on anorexia the other day for example, were both controversial and incoherent...

So I disagree that she has some reason or agenda for saying what she says. If she is making an effort, it isn’t much of one, and that effort certainly does not include researching and presenting positions and opinions that make sense or are tailored to a specific group.

I think that she has degenerated to a point where she has almost no organized support – I suspect that people have her on their shows because she is a train wreck, period.

I'll cop to not following her career as closely as all that.

One last thing about AC: A google experiment.

Search "Ann Coulter", record hits


Search "Ann Coulter" bitch
record and compare hits

("cunt" is less satisfying but still decent...)

...or, to put it another way: indecent.

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