By now you've heard of Ann Coulter's remarks on the Donny Deutsch show. I read them a couple of days ago but didn't want to blog on her because doing so makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth. But now that it's big news, here we go.
If you haven't heard, Coulter said that Christians were Jews who have been "perfected." Plus some other stuff that's equally annoying. You can read it all here:
So. What to say about this. Well, on the one hand, she's not exactly lying. It is a poorly-articulated way of saying that Christians believe in the New Testament, that they have a new covenant with God that the Jews don't subscribe to. In my Presbyterian Church growing up, I think I was pretty much aware of the belief that having Jesus as your Lord and Savior was the more evolved way of thinking, theologically speaking. So I'm not sure I can take issue with what she said exactly. What I can take issue with is the ease with which she said it to a Jewish person and the complete obliviousness to the potential offense such a statement might cause. Hellooooo??!! She told a Jewish guy (and his potential Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Jain listeners) that Christians are "perfected," and then got all wide-eyed at Deutsch's reaction to her statement.
My second thought is this: Where does Ann, this perfected Christian, worship? I have never heard her speak of her church or her pastor/priest. For a person who purports to speak for Christians and Christianity, I'm interested to know her worship commitments and religious community ties. Does she attend a church? Do her fellow parishioners mind her calling people f*gs and 9/11 widows "harpies"? How is she received among her Christian brethren?
My third thought is this: At one point in the discussion she says to Donny, "You're not a practicing Jew." Donny objects and says that he is, that he takes issue with her characterizing his Jewishness. What I find telling in her remark is that she clearly comes from a religious tradition that sees fit to stratify fellow believers. Certainly, based on previous remarks, she feels that some people are not real Christians, but now she's moved on to deciding which people are real Jews! Ann Coulter as the arbiter of Yiddishkeit! Whatever it's called in a Methodist church, in a temple that's called "chutzpah."
My fourth and final thought is this: the reason I cherish the separation of church and state is because it makes our democracy possible. How else can so many people of different faiths and religious traditions come together to keep the Good Ship America afloat? If we are constantly having these discussions, who is a "real" whatever, how my religion is more perfected than yours, how my God could kick your God's ass, there is little hope for our democracy. We all know that Christians do not believe Jews are "saved." We all know that Jews don't care to be saved, not believing it to be fundamental to their salvation, if there is even such a concept in Judaism at all. We all know that Hindus and Jain and Buddhists do not subscribe to our Western notions of religion (monotheistic, hierarchic, etc). Knowing that, I see it as a necessity that we put those specific beliefs somewhere off the front burner so that we can work together as one nation. If every discussion in Congress got mired in, "Well, we can talk about child health care as soon as you let me witness Jesus Christ with you" nothing could ever get done. Less (if you can imagine such a situation) would be accomplished and the wheels of our Republic would grind to a halt. I'm not saying that we leave our religion at the door, but a civil society requires that we not rub each other's noses in the differences of our beliefs, even if one of those beliefs is that I'm going to hell unless you take immediate and critical action to "save" me.
So, once again, not surprisingly, Ann Coulter has generated a debate that is unnecessary, unpleasant, and unproductive to our democracy. Now if only the media would practice excommunication...