Godless or Jesusless

July 06, 2006

The Martin Marty Center has featured a couple of insightful articles about the over-the-top rhetoric of Ann Coulter. First, Jerome Eric Copulsky, Assistant Professor and Director of Judaic Studies at Virginia Tech, has a piece comparing Coulter's antics to The Da Vinci Code. He argues:

Coulter's inflammatory rhetoric, proclivity for constructing straw men, and reliance on specious and ad hominem argumentation obscures the fact that her convictions aren't new. ... Given that the argument of the book is so derivative and so littered with malicious half-truths and insipid humor, the book's popularity might seem perplexing.

... This esoteric reading of Godless is, of course, preposterous, but no more so, in my opinion, than the book's actual argumentation — and that's the point. I'm afraid that the big secret revealed in Godless is that when it comes to the depths and complexities of actual religion, Ann Coulter doesn't know what she's talking about.
The second piece is by Robert S. McElvaine, who history at Millsaps College. His column makes the argument that Coulter's conservatism is "Jesusless: The Church of Mammon." He writes:

In Godless, her latest and most ill-tempered book-length rant, Ann Coulter asserts that liberalism is a "godless" religion. In fact, however, the most fundamental problem in Christianity in America and the world today is that the "fundamentalist" religion that most loudly proclaims itself to be "Christian" is Jesusless.

Coulter demonstrates how Jesusless she and her cohort who have co-opted the name of Christianity are when she identifies "Americans' Christian destiny" as "jet skis, steak on the electric grill, hot showers, and night skiing." For some reason, she fails to cite her source in the Gospels for her definition of Christian destiny, which amounts to: Jesus died for our jet skis.

... If Jesus had remained in his grave, surely he would be spinning in it to hear such evil venom being spit out in his name.

... Like many others in the increasingly dominant and totally misnamed "Christian Right," Coulter has a persecution complex.

... In my opinion, those who complain about a "War on Christianity" are right. The generals conducting that war include, in addition to Kill-a-Muslim-for-Christ Coulter, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ted Haggard, James Dobson, and the whole Unheavenly Host of televangelists and megachurch moneychangers and wolves in sheep's clothing who have expropriated the moral assets of Jesus and turned them to their own purposes. They never met a dollar they didn't like. They prefer profits to prophecy and pretend that Jesus did, too. They favor the rich over the poor and invert Jesus to contend that he did, too. They favor war over peace and lie by saying that Jesus did, too.
Amen! McElvaine also rewrites the Beatitudes to be the "Be-Ann-itudes," which is great read.

Both pieces do an excellent job of tackling the inappropriate and un-Christ-like rhetoric of Coulter. Rather than allow her to take control of the debate and who is godly or not, these individuals tackle her arguments head on. It is important that we do not allow a political activist have the definitional power to decide who is spiritually right or wrong.

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