Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Nothing Else Matters

In his column this week for World Magazine, Marvin Olasky, the magazine's editor in chief and a professor of journalism at the University of Texas, comments on the sometimes-caustic conservative columnist and political pundit Ann Coulter: . . .

Ann Coulter spoke in May at the University of Texas; I was still in New Jersey, but a perceptive Christian student I've taught, Amy McCullough, was there.

Amy reports that the first question to Ms. Coulter was, in essence, "couldn't she be a little nicer? Ms. Coulter said people don't respond to subtle reasoning; one has to 'bop them over the head' and use humor to make people see the light." She's probably right: Earnestness on TV shows and during after-dinner speeches doesn't turn people on, and Ms. Coulter's rapid-fire attacks do.

But Amy also noted a rare, slow-motion answer: "When a young, conservative woman asked how Coulter could stand the awful things people said about her because of her stand on abortion, she hesitated, messed with her hair, and said: 'Well, it's the same way I don't care about anything else: Christ died for my sins and nothing else matters.' I think my jaw hit the floor."

Ms. Coulter is impressively right: It doesn't matter what people think about us. We know that those apart from Christ will often view Christians as fools unless God changes hearts, so the advice offered by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is good and right: "Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world."

Hat tip to the Christianity Today Weblog.


At Wednesday, August 10, 2005 9:38:00 AM, Blogger Roch101 said...

Justifying very bad behavoir with Christ. Impressive.

One cannot laud Coulter's methods and bemoan this at the same time without hypocricy.

At Wednesday, August 10, 2005 7:45:00 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

I really don't read Coulter. Does she advocate violence and murder against those who disagree with her?

At Wednesday, August 10, 2005 10:19:00 PM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

Roch, I'm not lauding Ms. Coulter's methods. In fact, at times I think she goes a bit too far. However, I have to admit, she does make me laugh out loud when I read her columns. And I completely understand that people who don't agree with her point of view, like you, don't find her humorous at all. (I believe we covered this ground in another post a few weeks ago.)

My reason for posting this excerpt from Dr. Olasky's column was two-fold. One, it was the first time I've seen anything about Ann making a public profession of her faith. And two, I thought Dr. Olasky's point and his inclusion of Justice Scalia's quote about Christians having the courage to stand up for what we believe no matter how we're perceived by others was worth sharing.

And when Ann said "nothing else matters," she wasn't justifying her behavior; she's merely pointing out that what Christ did for her is more important than any hurtful things anyone might say about her and her beliefs.

Roch, whenever I am a hypocrite, I encourage you to point it out to me. I try my best to be consistent in my faith and practice, but I don't always succeed. So it helps to have someone like you out there holding me accountable.

At Thursday, August 11, 2005 1:58:00 AM, Blogger Roch101 said...

Mickey, I make a distinction between an act of hypocricy, which all of us imperfect beings commit, and seeing someone as a hypocrite, which I think requires repeadeted contradictions of action and belief. You, in my opinion are not a hypocrite; Coulter is.

Reframe your observation just a bit, and I think you'll see what I mean. Nothing other than her faith matters when she feels she's being attacked, but clearly something else matters when she attacks others. She hardly emmulates Christ in her behavior.

And, Alex, to answer your question. Yes, she does:

"When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors."

Here is a collection of quotes from Coulter. You tell me? Is she walking the walk?

At Thursday, August 11, 2005 6:21:00 AM, Anonymous Alex said...

Thanks for the quotes roch101.

At Thursday, August 11, 2005 10:16:00 AM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

I'd say that Ann Coulter definitely has a problem with following 1 Peter 3:15 (one of my favorite verses, btw). I believe that most of the outrageous things she says is hyberbole. It's meant to grab attention and not be taken literally. However, I have to admit that she would probably be a much more effective witness if she'd tone down the caustic rhetoric a bit and let the truth speak for itself.

At Thursday, August 11, 2005 10:43:00 AM, Blogger Roch101 said...

"I believe that most of the outrageous things she says is hyberbole. It's meant to grab attention and not be taken literally."

Don't you think the same is true of the Planned Parenthood cartoon, or are we more accepting of the hyperbole from ones with whom we agree?

At Thursday, August 11, 2005 10:58:00 AM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

As I said before, Roch, I think she sometimes goes too far in making her point. So do you think the Planned Parenthood cartoon is harmless hyberbole?

At Thursday, August 11, 2005 11:11:00 AM, Blogger Tim said...

Roch -
I reviewed the collection of quotes by Ann Coulter, and I have read one of her books. I would like to offer the following observations:
First - Was Christ following Christian teaching when he called the Pharisees "a brood of vipers"? Was he being "Christ-like" when he picked up a flail and went after the money changers? How about when he suggested that certain sinners would be better off thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their necks?
Second - your moral equivalency argument carries no weight with me. There is a clear difference between the Planned Parenthood cartoon and Coulter's comments. The PP cartoon clearly advocates violence against those who would protect the innocent. Coulter has no problem with organized violence (IE the military) against enemies of innocents. Many of Coulter's statements are blunt, brash and forceful. Please point out the ones that are based on falsehood. The quotes I read all seemed to be based on factual information about the people or groups referenced. Do her statements make me uncomfortable? Sometimes. However, so do some of the things I read in the Bible. I am not saying that Coulter's statements should be taken as Scripture. Only that often, the truth hurts.
Lastly, do you criticize Howard Dean as much as you criticize Coulter (or other conservatives / Christians)? "I HATE Republicans" (capitalization mine), "So many of them (republicans) have never done an honest days work." And so on. Dean, and many of the liberal, non-Christians are filled with as much venom as the Muslims are. They just don't have the intestinal fortitude to blow themselves up for their cause. That does not stop them from spreading the hate.
You may not like Coulter (no one says you have to). But trying to excuse PP's cartoon as hyperbole is either willfully blind or woefully tragic.
If you, Roch, are a Christian, I would suggest that you look to your own walk, as we are encouraged to do in 2 Corinthians 13:5. If you are not, please at least examine you r motives before condemning a person who professes to be a Christian. Coulter answers to God, not the rest of us.

At Thursday, August 11, 2005 12:30:00 PM, Blogger Tim said...

A PS to Roch -
I was just re-reading some of the previous posts. Coulter is not advocating wanton violence against those who disagree her. The John Walker comment obviously refers to the idea that those who become traitors - in the very legal sense - used to be subject to the death penalty. The message from the Walker case is that treason no longer carries that worry. (Remember, Coulter is a law school grad). An honest reading of the comment would give this sense - "Liberals can now get the message that they can be traitors to the country without fear of the death penalty". I do not see how that is advocating violence against those who disagree with her.

At Thursday, August 11, 2005 12:44:00 PM, Blogger Roch101 said...

Tim, your commentary speaks for itself. Good to know where the "Christian" right stands. Thank you for the enlightenment.

At Thursday, August 11, 2005 5:56:00 PM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

Marvin Olasky posted a link to his column on the World Magazine Blog yesterday, which has generated more than 100 comments.

Today he follows up with a post titled "Coulter and civility."


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