I might consider myself a Conservative, but that doesn’t stop me from finding conservative commentator Ann Coulter to be utterly offensive.
Media Matters has drawn my attention to an interview from the October 8 edition of CNBC’s The Big Idea (with Donny Deutsch) , in which Coulter espouses some rather vile views about Judaism and Jews.
DEUTSCH: Let me ask you a question. We’re going to get off strengths and weakness for a second. If you had your way, and all of your — forget that any of them —
COULTER: I like this.
DEUTSCH: — are calculated marketing teases, and your dreams, which are genuine, came true having to do with immigration, having to do with women’s — with abortion — what would this country look like?
COULTER: It would look like New York City during the Republican National Convention. In fact, that’s what I think heaven is going to look like.
DEUTSCH: And what did that look like?
COULTER: Happy, joyful Republicans in the greatest city in the world.
DEUTSCH: No, no, no, no, but I’m talking about this country. You don’t want to make this country — it’s not about Republicans. I’m saying, what would the fabric of this country look like? Forget that the Republicans would be running the show.
COULTER: Well, everyone would root for America, the Democratic Party would look like [Sen.] Joe Lieberman [I-CT], the Republican Party would look like [Rep.] Duncan Hunter [R-CA] —
DEUTSCH: No, no, no, I don’t want — I’m not talking about politically the landscape. What would our — would we be safer? Would people be happier? Would they be more —
COULTER: We would be a lot safer.
DEUTSCH: Would there be more tolerance? Would there be — would women be happier, would the races get along better? The Ann Coulter subscription — prescription. What — tell me what would be different in our fabric of country, because —
COULTER: Well, all of those things.
DEUTSCH: — I can give — I can give you an argument there would be more divisiveness, that there would be more hate —
COULTER: Oh, no.
DEUTSCH: — that there would be a bigger difference between the rich and the poor, a lot of other — tell me what — why this would be a better world? Let’s give you — I’m going to give you — say this is your show.
COULTER: Well, OK, take the Republican National Convention. People were happy. They’re Christian. They’re tolerant. They defend America, they —
DEUTSCH: Christian — so we should be Christian? It would be better if we were all Christian?
DEUTSCH: We should all be Christian?
COULTER: Yes. Would you like to come to church with me, Donny?
DEUTSCH: So I should not be a Jew, I should be a Christian, and this would be a better place?
COULTER: Well, you could be a practicing Jew, but you’re not.
DEUTSCH: I actually am. That’s not true. I really am. But — so we would be better if we were – if people — if there were no Jews, no Buddhists —
COULTER: Whenever I’m harangued by —
DEUTSCH: — in this country? You can’t believe that.
COULTER: — you know, liberals on diversity —
DEUTSCH: Here you go again.
COULTER: No, it’s true. I give all of these speeches at megachurches across America, and the one thing that’s really striking about it is how utterly, completely diverse they are, and completely unself-consciously. You walk past a mixed-race couple in New York, and it’s like they have a chip on their shoulder. They’re just waiting for somebody to say something, as if anybody would. And —
DEUTSCH: I don’t agree with that. I don’t agree with that at all. Maybe you have the chip looking at them. I see a lot of interracial couples, and I don’t see any more or less chips there either way. That’s erroneous.
COULTER: No. In fact, there was an entire Seinfeld episode about Elaine and her boyfriend dating because they wanted to be a mixed-race couple, so you’re lying.
DEUTSCH: Oh, because of some Seinfeld episode? OK.
COULTER: But yeah, I think that’s reflective of what’s going on in the culture, but it is completely striking that at these huge megachurches — the idea that, you know, the more Christian you are, the less tolerant you would be is preposterous.
DEUTSCH: That isn’t what I said, but you said I should not — we should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians, then, or —
COULTER: Well, it’s a lot easier. It’s kind of a fast track.
COULTER: Yeah. You have to obey.
DEUTSCH: You can’t possibly believe that.
DEUTSCH: You can’t possibly — you’re too educated, you can’t — you’re like my friend in —
COULTER: Do you know what Christianity is? We believe your religion, but you have to obey.
DEUTSCH: No, no, no, but I mean —
COULTER: We have the fast-track program.
DEUTSCH: Why don’t I put you with the head of Iran? I mean, come on. You can’t believe that.
COULTER: The head of Iran is not a Christian.
DEUTSCH: No, but in fact, “Let’s wipe Israel” —
COULTER: I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention.
DEUTSCH: “Let’s wipe Israel off the earth.” I mean, what, no Jews?
COULTER: No, we think — we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.
DEUTSCH: Wow, you didn’t really say that, did you?
COULTER: Yes. That is what Christianity is. We believe the Old Testament, but ours is more like Federal Express. You have to obey laws. We know we’re all sinners —
DEUTSCH: In my old days, I would have argued — when you say something absurd like that, there’s no —
COULTER: What’s absurd?
DEUTSCH: Jews are going to be perfected. I’m going to go off and try to perfect myself —
COULTER: Well, that’s what the New Testament says.
DEUTSCH: Ann Coulter, author of If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans, and if Ann Coulter had any brains, she would not say Jews need to be perfected. I’m offended by that personally. And we’ll have more Big Idea when we come back.[…]
DEUTSCH: Welcome back to The Big Idea. During the break, Ann said she wanted to explain her last comment. So I’m going to give her a chance. So you don’t think that was offensive?
COULTER: No. I’m sorry. It is not intended to be. I don’t think you should take it that way, but that is what Christians consider themselves: perfected Jews. We believe the Old Testament. As you know from the Old Testament, God was constantly getting fed up with humans for not being able to, you know, 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. Christians believe the Old Testament. You don’t believe our testament.
DEUTSCH: You said — your exact words were, “Jews need to be perfected.” Those are the words out of your mouth.
COULTER: No, I’m saying that’s what a Christian is.
DEUTSCH: But that’s what you said — don’t you see how hateful, how anti-Semitic —
DEUTSCH: How do you not see? You’re an educated woman. How do you not see that?
COULTER: That isn’t hateful at all.
DEUTSCH: But that’s even a scarier thought. OK —
COULTER: No, no, no, no, no. I don’t want you being offended by this. This is what Christians consider themselves, because our testament is the continuation of your testament. You know that. So we think Jews go to heaven. I mean, [Rev. Jerry] Falwell himself said that, but you have to follow laws. Ours is “Christ died for our sins.” We consider ourselves perfected Christians. For me to say that for you to become a Christian is to become a perfected Christian is not offensive at all.
Update: A number of commenters and other bloggers do not see the big deal with Coulter’s comments, nor why I should find them offensive. I find them offensive because they are offensive to any non-Christian. She has every right in the world to believe what she wants. But she deserves to be criticized for uttering such insensitive things.
Even if what she said is an accurate representation of Christian theology, saying this in a public forum is no less insensitive or offensive to non-Christians.
Don’t get me wrong. The Ann Coulters of the world are not the big threat to our freedoms and way of life. But that fact does not preclude her being deserving of criticism. After all, there’s a difference between feeling offended and feeling threatened.
Update: Thank you for the comments, even though I disagree with most of you so far.
My point is rather simple: Coulter degraded my religion, and this is offensive to me. Does it offend me that most Christians believe what she said? No, because they don’t rub my face in it, like Coulter did.
I am not offended by Coulter because of her Christian beliefs. I am offended because she showed a complete disregard for the feelings of others, those others beings practioners of other religions. In fact, one could argue that her disregard for other people’s feelings contravened the teachings of JC.
Why wouldn’t I be offended that someone went out of their way to publicly disrespect what I believe in?
She made a point of expressing her views on a television show, knowing many Jews would be watching, and that the liberal host would likely take her to task on it. Saying this is her style does not exonerate her.
I have a lot of respect for religious Christians, even though I reject many of their beliefs. We share a belief in the G-d of Abraham, and Christianity is based on many of Judaism’s moral principles. So don’t construe my comments as an attack on Christianity, or an attempt to stifle theological debate.
LindaSoG: “I am not going to toe the party line here. She was not just talking “shock” to sell her books or get attention and she was not misquoted or misunderstood. Ann said what she meant and she meant what she said.”
Omri: “This week’s manufactured Media Matters scandal is now online. The Jewish blogs and Democratic organizations are all over it. And wow, it is totally f***ing retarded. It combines the best elements of liberal sophistication: the banality of multiculturalist tolerance, the humorlessness of scolding identity politics, and the blubbering of righteous indignation.” [Aussie Dave: I don’t agree with Omri here, but he certainly has a way with words].
Roger Simon: “Coulter is a cross between some nutcase passing out Jews for Jesus literature on Hollywood Boulevard and the Islamists she says she hates.”
The Anchoress: “This is a discussion best left to someone with a gift for diplomacy, a deft tongue and a loving, civil and collected mien. It is is absolutely not a discussion that should be undertaken by someone who has the deftness of a hammer and the mien of a German Shepherd.”
Ace: “It’s fairly standard for religions to assert their metaphysical rectitude and superiority, but we only seem to have these controversies when a Christian expresses it.”
LGF: “From my reading, Coulter was simply stating standard Christian doctrine—with a little extra edginess to get Deustch wound up. Looks like it worked, and now she’ll sell some more books as a result.”
See my latest update here