Posted by: smstrouse | April 3, 2016

The Theology of Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter 2In a recent video, I noticed the cross that Ann Coulter was wearing. So I was curious. What were the religious beliefs of this icon of the political right? I was watching the video in the first place because I was curious about the comments she made this past week about Donald Trump: “Our candidate is mental … I am a little testy with our man right now. It’s like constantly having to bail out your 16-year-old son from prison.”

I thought she’d finally seen the light and was ready to abandon her neo-con ways. But, alas, no. She’s decided that being a parent to a spoiled brat is better than having good government.

But back to matters of faith. Coulter is indeed a Christian. She has said, “Christianity fuels everything I write.”

Wow, I thought. How does she figure that?

“Being a Christian,” she explains, “means that I’m called to do battle against lies, hypocrisy, cruelty, and injustice, you know – all the virtues of the church of liberalism.”

I was with her up to the part about the church of liberalism. 

How can Christians be so polarized? What’s the theology underpinning the polarities of the religious right and the religious left?

Here’s Jesus according to Coulter: “People are sinful and need to be redeemed, and it’s your lucky day because I’m here to redeem you, even though I have to get the crap kicked out of me to do it.”

That’s the theology of God as the angry judge who has to send Jesus to pay for our original sin. The cross around her neck signifies the price Jesus paid for our “redemption.” It’s a theology held by many Christians. Jesus’ “sacrifice” is the main event, not so much his teachings. I can’t really blame them; the Nicene Creed skips right over Jesus’ birth to “crucified, died, and was buried.” 

But many of us have rejected theories of atonement like this one. For us the cross is a symbol of God’s unfailing promise to bring something life-giving out of any death-dealing situation. Crucifixion and resurrection are happening around us all the time. It was not a one-time event. I don’t even like wearing a cross because of the atonement associations. How can I convey a theology of a Cosmic Christ in any one symbol?

I don’t think that this explains everything about the widening gap between conservative and progressive Christians. But it’s got me thinking. Can we all claim the same symbol (the cross), the same language (redemption, salvation), the same Jesus? 

Wouldn’t it be fun to see a dialogue between an Ann Coulter and a John Shelby Spong?! Actually I think the late Marcus Borg would have been the best challenger. Maybe it’s now up to the rest us. 





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