David Carr has a good article in week’s NY Times about Ann Coulter.
Tony Norman’s essay “If Ann Coulter’s a Christian, Then I’ll Be Damned” is also quite good. I don’t know anyone who actually likes her (the perils of an extremely limited social group: you think the whole world thinks like you), or thinks anything she says is more than spite, malice, and bile. But if you know someone who is a) christian and b) gives any credence to the ramblings of this mad-woman, you should have them read this essay.
I want to point out that I find the division of conservative/liberal to be increasingly meaningless while at the same time proponents of one side or the other have become increasingly vitriolic in their rhetoric. Conservatives do not own the monopoly on spewing stupidity, lies, and petty meanness.I think we need to be much more specific with our language in order to navigate, with any sense of usefulness, the political landscape of today. The most frightening people in this country are not “conservatives” in any real sense of the word. They are, like Coulter, zealots. There is a difference. Also, the so-called “base” of the Republican party is no longer “conservative” but, and let’s be honest here, “religious fanatics” who want to create a theocracy. What I don’t understand is how little attention is given to the apparent and growing resemblances between the religious fanatics of Islam and the religious fanatics of Christianity. When Pat Robertson calls for the assassination of another human being–and is not roundly denounced by Christians around the world, we have reached a point in time when Christ is no longer being taken seriously by many of his “so-called” followers. What are the moral or ethical differences between Islamic fundamentalists and Christian fundamentalists? Regardless of your religion, the moment you take action to deny full humanity to others based on their beliefs, you have lost all moral standing. Let’s be clear here as well: I do not accept moral relativism as an answer. If you are performing a clitorectomy on a 13 year old girl, you are wrong and I have no problem with opposing that cultural practice. If your religion says that others are less than human and should be killed or harmed for their beliefs, than your religion is, inherently, anti-human, anti-life, and just plain wrong. If you believe that non-believers are going to hell, or will be punished by your God, then fine, I have no problem with that. God can take care of his own. Render unto God what is God’s and render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Remember that we have our freedoms in large part because of the secular nature of our government, regardless of the inclusion of Christian rhetoric within our government. Theocracy is not what America stands for, and yet there are significant forces in this country who want to establish just such a theocracy. What is most frightening about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s letter is the end section where he urges Bush to work with Iran because both worship the same god. For all Bush’s talk about freedom, his government of zealots and fanatics is enacting a campaign of secrecy, anti-constitutionalism, religious fundamentalism, blind arrogance and spiritual bankruptcy. Pundits like Ann Coulter only exacerbate the situation, feeding a hungry populace a diet of fear and hatred. Not a particularly fulfilling diet, but one that, like most junk food, momentarily stops the hunger.