“The secret to becoming a successful right-wing columnist,” quipped Canadian conservative Kevin Michael Grace, “is to echo the mob while complimenting yourself on your daring. That’s all there is to Ann Coulter’s craft, the rest is exploitation of the sexual masochism of the American male—he just can’t get enough of the kitten with claws.”
The non-retractable claws were out again as the leggy, one-trick Coulter (“liberals this; conservatives that”) took on the verbose Donny Deutsch, during the latter’s big bore of a television show, “The Big Idea.”
Deutsch suffered a petit mal after Coulter answered the following in the affirmative: “You said we should throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians.” Deutsch then promptly leapt to the next “logical” conclusion: Coulter was striving to be like “the head of Iran,” and wanted to “wipe Israel off the Earth.” Coulter’s come back: “No, we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say. … That’s what Christianity is. We believe in the Old Testament, but ours is more like Federal Express.”
As expected, the un-Mosaic Ms. Coulter parted the sea of commentators, who obediently divided along ideological lines. Rightists, reflexively, supported her because she jigged for Jesus; leftists denounced her because she excluded competing faiths. Self-anointed Jewish leaders shouted anti-Semitism; the dimmest of Christian misleaders obliged them. As predictably, they all missed the point. Instead of merely pledging loyalty to their Queen Bee, the adoring idolaters (and fuzzy thinkers) who are Coulter’s acolytes ought to have labored a point of theology.
Although some Christian denominations have watered it down, a general filament of the Christian faith is the belief that salvation is predicated on accepting Christ. If Coulter were more than a brash, bonny (if bony) babe, she’d have explained that doctrine: To get past the Pearly Gates, Christians believe one has to accept Christ.
“But is belief in ‘perfection’ or ‘completion’ through Jesus tantamount to hostility to Jews?” asked Gabriel Sanders of the Jewish daily “Forward.” And he replied, quoting Yaakov Ariel, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a specialist in Jewish-Evangelical ties: “A conservative, Jesus-oriented faith doesn’t mean, in and of itself, that people are anti-Jewish. Some of the more favorable attitudes toward Jews have developed in Evangelical circles.”
With some variations, the centrality of Christ to Christianity is an immutable doctrine. Since Christians don’t urge orthodox Jews to ditch their maddening dietary laws so as to make people of other faiths feel less excluded, Jews should return the favor.
Still on the topic of Coulter’s crudely articulated catechism: her 9/11 call to arms was particularly memorable. For exhorting that “we should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity,” Coulter was even banished from National Review. This was a puzzling purge, considering neoconservatives promptly adopted her recommendations, invaded Muslim countries, and killed their leaders.
The neocons have adopted all of Coulter’s recommendations, save the peaceful one. So long as it’s voluntary and doesn’t involve The Rack, I think that unleashing an army of missionaries on the Islamic patrimony would be far more effective than the military offensives currently underway. In fact, I’ve always suspected that an aversion to Christian conversion was at the core of the “girlie boys'” horrified response to Coulter’s cri de coeur.” Extended to the Deutsch dust-up, Coulter’s professed belief that salvation comes only through Christ is no more than a conventional declaration of faith.
Far more interesting to me was the manner in which Ms. Coulter clung to the instant clemency Christianity offers: “[The New Testament] is more like Federal Express,” she lectured Deutsch. Jews, on the other hand, “have to obey laws. As you know from the Old Testament,” Coulter sermonized, “God was constantly getting fed up with humans for not being able to live up to all the laws. What Christians believe—this is just a statement of what the New Testament is—is that that’s why Christ came and died for our sins.”
Indeed, a Jew can’t expect to go to heaven if he whoops it up for an unjust war, and pimps for a president like Bush. In Judaism, your actions determine your fate on earth and in the hereafter (the first being far more important than the last).
Nor can a rabbi wave a wand and absolve the wicked, as a priest does following confession. A Jew must obey certain imperatives toward the Almighty and toward his fellow earthlings. In other words, a Jew has to live uprightly and do good deeds.
So, yes: I can see why amnesty express à la Christianity is so crucial to Ann Coulter.
©2007 By Ilana Mercer