Saturday, October 13, 2007

A few notes on Coulter

The Ann Coulter/Donnie Deutsch kerfuffle has elicited a lot of comment in the JBlogosphere, with the battle lines seeming to mostly depend on the political leanings of the specific blogger. Right-leaning Jews tended to defend her, saying that her comments were simply a statement of her beliefs which coincides with that of many Christians. Left-leaning Jews tended to label her anti-semitic. At least one crossed party lines but then came back (although his viewpoint seems to be far more nuanced than most.)

While it appears that her "replacement theology" is not necessarily universal Christian thinking, I think we can safely make the assumption that she was espousing a set of personal beliefs that many other Christians share. For a Jew who is secure in his/her beliefs, this should not pose a problem - everyone who has a belief system, by definition, thinks that others are wrong.

Her comments were not anti-semitic by any means, but they were offensive.

Jews who grow up as a minority in a largely Christian nation often must fend off unwelcome but well-meaning attempts by Christians to embrace their beliefs, and, yes, to become "perfected." This can be considered a minor annoyance or a major offense, depending on the temperament of the receiving party, but in no case are these considered welcome. Religion is a personal thing and when others feel it is their right to try to enlighten you, they are by definition causing offense on some level. The fact that most religions condone proselytizing is no excuse for actually proselytizing in a multi-religious society - as with one's fist, the right to swing it ends at my face. Most Christians know this. Coulter cannot be unaware that while her beliefs are not offensive, describing them to a mass audience is offensive to Jewish listeners.

Coulter is a very intelligent woman. Unfortunately, as with most loudmouthed pundits, intelligence does not equal wisdom, and Coulter is far from wise.