Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ann Coulter - Jews need to be perfected

What I don't understand about Ann Coulter is in what way is she actually a Christian? She claims to be a Christian, and says that Jews (and presumably everyone else) should convert to Christianity - but what does she think Christianity is? I don't see any way in which she is following the example of Jesus. When I open up the New Testament, the emphasis I see in the teachings of Jesus is love of neighbor, the principle of non-retaliation, concern for the poor and the weak - not at all the agenda that Coulter is pushing.

That aside, her comments are interesting because they echo the message of Jews for Jesus and other Messianic Jewish groups that converting to Christianity does not mean one is leaving Judaism, but has become a "completed Jew."

No, we think - we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say....

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 - 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....

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.

It's also interesting that she says "we think Jews go to heaven," when people Falwell specifically denied that Jews (or any other non-Christian) would go to heaven.


  1. Christians believe that if everyone converted the world would be a better place. What's wrong with believing that if all people believed like you do, everyone would be better off? Most religions believe that. (Its very different issue to force or torture people to believe like you. But to simply believe that it would be better for them to believe like you, is perfectly okay.)

    Judaism believes that if all people believed in monotheism the world would be a better place. That means we believe that Hinduism or any form of idol worship should cease to exist.

    This has nothing to do with Ann Coulter. This is about tolerance for peoples religions and personal beliefs. Not allowing her to have her beliefs is being intolerant of her religious views.

  2. Huh? Do you think that I'm capable of forcing Ann Coulter not to have her own beliefs? Is the mere fact that I've stated my opinions mean that I'm not tolerant of her religious views? That's called free speech, and it cuts both ways. If she's saying that all Jews should convert to Christianity, I'm perfectly free to disagree with her and state my views. I'd love it if she'd change her mind, but that doesn't mean I'm intolerant of her.

    The problem I have with Ann Coulter's comments is that they express a very old tradition of Christian supersessionism, which says that Judaism does not have any legitimacy as a religion, and that we all have to convert to Christianity. Now, her brand of Christianity (as far as I can tell, evangelical) also says the same thing about everyone who isn't their kind of Christian. Other Christian churches have moved beyond this kind of exclusive theology (for example, the Catholic church) and see continuing legitimacy in Judaism.

    And as for Judaism believing that everyone should be monotheists - "Judaism," as an abstraction, doesn't believe anything - it's Jews who believe this or that or the other thing. As I Jew, I happen to disagree with this part of my religious tradition - I feel no need to try to make Hindus into monotheists. Another aspect of this is that at least some Hindus would argue that they actually are monotheistic - that beyond the many gods, there is actually one divine principle that encompasses everything - Brahman. There's a great deal of diversity in Hinduism too.

  3. Rebecca,

    I did not mean that you specifically did not allow her to have her beliefs. You are correct you just voiced your opinion in disagreement. Others on the Internet have been intolerant of her beliefs. You simply disagreed and I apologize for implying differently.

    I find it interesting that you would say:

    "they express a very old tradition of Christian supersessionism, which says that Judaism does not have any legitimacy as a religion"

    Judaism doesn't recognize the legitimacy of Christianity (their events and mythology) at all, while Christianity does believe in our legitimacy and origin. Between the two of us we are much less receptive to them then they are to us. Supersessionism is a far greater recognition then what we give them.

    You wrote:

    ""Judaism," as an abstraction, doesn't believe anything - it's Jews who believe this or that or the other thing."

    Hmmm... Let's see. If you remove the Torah from Judaism (whether you believe it was given by G-d or by multiple authors) do you still see a Judaism? Based on what? What would be the ties that bind us as a group without central tenets that sets us apart from other groups?

    One of those central tenets is monotheism. That's why I state that Judaism's central belief is Monotheism. Otherwise we don't exist as a distinct group.

    I am not sure I follow you about Hinduism (which I know very little about). How is one divine principle equal to believing in one Being? My point wasn't specific to Hinduism but rather any religion that actually practices idol worship.

  4. Traditional Jewish theology certainly does not accept the religious validity of Christianity in itself, but some medieval figures (like the Rambam) saw a certain positive value to Christianity in spreading the stories and values of the Torah. In any case, whether or not Jews accept the validity of Christianity as a religion, we do not go around trying to convert Christians to Judaism. The Jewish conviction that we are correct has not led to Jewish campaigns to convert Christians and to denounce those who have not converted to Judaism.

    As a Jew, I am a monotheist, I do believe in one God - but I don't feel the need to try to convince other people that a) there is one God and that b) God must be worshipped. This goes along with the fact that Judaism is not a proselytizing religion.

    I think I misunderstood what you said about Hinduism - now that I reread your comment I see that you're referring to Hinduism as idol worship, not as a polytheistic religion. I'm also not an expert on Hinduism, but I think it might be interesting to find out what Hindus really think about the use of images in worship - is it the same as what we define as idol worship?