Saturday, October 13, 2007

Misstep


This guy was mesmerized by his own publicity too.

Looks like the noxious Ann Coulter may have talked herself into an "Army versus McCarthy" moment. Back in 1954, the Republican Senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, had had a good run, stirring up hysteria about phantom communists undermining the country and getting teachers, actors and writers fired for leftist sympathies, real and imagined. But then he claimed the U.S. Army was a hot bed of communism and allowed his aide Roy Cohn to demand preferential treatment for a drafted friend/former lover? Hearings pitting the Army against McCarthy were broadcast on TV and the weight of public and establishment opinion moved to repudiate the drunken inquisitor.

Coulter's been making a good living selling hatred against easy targets like "fags" and Muslims -- but last week, she stepped over a line and woke up a much more dangerous foe. According to the Los Angeles Times' TV critic Tim Rutten:

Earlier this week, Coulter went on "The Big Idea," a talk show aired on CNBC, the cable channel devoted to business news. Its host, Donny Deutsch, is a preternaturally affable businessman who invites successful people on to talk about how they turn their ideas into money. Coulter was there to describe how she had -- in our vulgar commercial argot --"branded" herself. At one point, Deutsch asked her what an ideal country would be like, and she replied that it would be one in which everyone was "a Christian." Deutsch, who happens to be Jewish, protested that Coulter was advocating his people's elimination. She responded that she simply hoped to see Jews "perfected" through conversion to Christianity. ...

Perhaps the best response came from the Anti-Defamation League, which called Coulter's comments "outrageous, offensive and a throwback to the centuries-old teaching of contempt for Jews and Judaism. The notion that Jews are religiously inferior or imperfect because they do not accept Christian beliefs was the basis for 2,000 years of church-based anti-Semitism. While she is entitled to her beliefs, using mainstream media to espouse the idea that Judaism needs to be replaced with Christianity and that each individual Jew is somehow deficient and needs to be "perfected" is rank Christian supersessionism and has been rejected by the Catholic Church and the vast majority of mainstream Christian denominations. Clearly, Ann Coulter needs a wake-up call about the power of words to injure others and fuel hatred. She needs an education, too, about the roots of anti-Semitism."

That she does. As the league points out, "supersessionism," the theological notion that Christianity "completes" or "perfects" Judaism is, along with the deicide libel, anti-Semitism's major theological underpinning.

For once these folks are confronting real anti-Semitism, not the phony stuff that amounts to questioning the behavior of the state of Israel. Christians do need to be reminded often about the terrible consequences of bad theology.

Coulter needs to shut up.

UPDATE: Coulter has her rightwing Jewish defenders. In the Jewish Daily Forward, Yaakov Ariel, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, discounts her remarks.

“A conservative, Jesus-oriented faith doesn’t mean, in and of itself, that people are anti-Jewish,” said Ariel, a specialist in Jewish-Evangelical ties. “Some of the more favorable attitudes toward Jews have developed in Evangelical circles, though perhaps in a way that makes some Jews uncomfortable.”

... “People who don’t care about Jews don’t care about their conversion,” he said. “Enemies of the Jews in the late-19th and early-20th centuries certainly did not try to convert them. The more you know about the Other, the better the ties. Relations between Jews and Evangelicals are better today than ever before.”

May I say, oy vey?


2 comments:

sfmike said...

Ms. Coulter went way over the line many outrages ago, but a lot of people have been making money off of her manufactured controversies so we were somehow not supposed to care or take it seriously. It's interesting how this time we're supposed to be REALLY outraged. As you point out about the anti-defamation societies, they've been crying "anti-semitic wolf" for so long about so many people who aren't even remotely anti-semitic, that when the real thing arrives, their protests sound a little hollow. And it doesn't help that they happily let Ms. Coulter slime Muslims, homos, 9/11 widows, and Godless Liberals all these years on national television. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Ginger Mayerson www.hackenblog.com said...

First she wants to disenfranchise all women, now she wants Perfected Jews.

Perfected Jews...

You know, silly me, sometimes I just completely forget that I'm living in the 14th Century.

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