Thursday, June 8, 2006

Note to Blond Banshee: I'm Not a Christian

First, the Shriek of Hate by Ann Coulter (aka the Blond Banshee):
In Ann Coulter's world -- as described in her new book Godless: The Church of Liberalism (Crown Forum) -- Jews are Christians, but apparently Episcopalians are not.

A footnote on Page 3 of the book reads: "Throughout this book, I often refer to Christians and Christianity because I am a Christian and I have a fairly good idea of what they believe, but the term is intended to include anyone who subscribes to the Bible of the God of Abraham, including Jews and others." [emphasis added]

Yes, you read that correctly. As far as Coulter is concerned, Jews are Christians. Mazel tov!

As for Episcopalians, they might be disheartened to learn that they will not be welcoming their newly Christian Jewish friends into the brotherhood of Christ, because they don't quite measure up as a church. Coulter writes on Page 5, "Howard Dean left the Episcopal Church -- which is barely even a church -- because his church, in Montpelier, Vermont, would not cede land for a bike path." [emphasis added]

The millions of Episcopalians in America -- among whose numbers have been many presidents, including George Washington, James Madison, Franklin Roosevelt, and George H.W. Bush -- might be interested to know Coulter's view of their faith.

A story for you. Many years ago (think early Eisenhower Administration), in the loving, bucolic heartland (Omaha to be precise), my mother, after informing someone that she was not Christian, but, in fact, Jewish, was told, "We're all Christians. You're just a Jewish Christian." This was the same Omaha where one high school (Omaha Central) did not have a prom. Why no prom? Because at one dance, a black boy danced one song with a white girl. Obviously, it was necessary to cancel school dances after that. Definitely an era worth conserving (kidding).

Does Coulter even comprehend the words coming out of her mouth? In a different context (the 'blastular holocaust'), I wrote:
The other major point is that Christian conservatives gloss over the history behind the Holocaust. I rarely claim to speak for others, but I'm going to go out on a limb and do so. In my opinion, many Jews think that 1500 years of religiously based anti-Semitism based in Christian doctrine was a significant factor that led to the Holocaust. This not to say that other factors weren't important: obviously, they were. But the Holocaust was not solely due to generic Acme 'man's inhumanity to man' spontaneously arising in 1933. There was a long history of brutal oppression based on Christian doctrine predating the Holocaust.

This creates a lot of problems for conservative Christians when they speak to Jews: we see their religious fanaticism, and at some basic level, many of us recoil. Not only did most Jewish families in the country lose members in the Holocaust, but their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents often fled brutal mistreatment (not to mention rape and murder) that was spawned by religious bigotry and fanaticism. There's a reason Jews reacted so vehemently against the movie The Passion of the Christ: many pogroms happened around Easter as 'revenge' for the death of Jesus. There is a basic problem here for Christian conservatives, which is, that in the Jewish mind (and I think any honest history of the Holocaust), Christianity is not 'guilt-free.' To date, American Christian conservatives have not addressed the role Christianity played in creating the necessary preconditions for mass murder (on the other hand, Catholicism has addressed this issue rather well).
While most Jews would be polite and not bring this up, doesn't she realize that it is insulting to be called Christian, and that phrase does not fill us with warmth and fuzzy feelings? Leaving aside stark dogmatic and ideological differences, there's a lot of bad history there.

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

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