Coulter follies

The Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee are out with statements condemning Ann Coulter’s recent interview on CNBC with Donny Deutsch. Both groups focus in on her assertion that Jews should be “perfected” by dumping Judaism and becoming Christians.

But the real zinger, I think, came a few moments earlier in the interview, when she responded to a question about her “dream” American, by saying: “It would look like New York City during the [2004] Republican National Convention. In fact, that’s what I think heaven is going to look like. … People were happy. They’re Christian. They’re tolerant. They defend America.”

So Ann Coulter is a Christian who thinks Jews should become Christian. That’s her religion. Fine. It’s not as if she’s launched a conversion crusade. Watch the interview, and it’s clear that Deutsch was the one pushing to get to the religion point, not Coulter.

Her comment about the GOP convention, however, was not just about her own personal theology. It speaks more directly to her understanding of America and the contemporary Republican Party. She essentially described the GOP convention as an all-Christian club (guess she missed then-RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman).

Again, the irony with all of the fuss over this Coulter outrage is that this time around it was really Deutsch pushing her toward controversy (usually she has her own offensive agenda item that she’s pushing – i.e, Democrats are traitors).

Deutsch says he wants to know what she hopes America will look like. First she says she wishes everyone was Republican. Deutsch pushes. Then she wishes that all of the Democrats would be like Joe Lieberman (!?!). Deutsch pushes some more. Only after a few more prods does she find religion.

Judge for yourself…

I had a similar take watching the video of John McCain’s “America is a Christian country that needs a Christian president” interview.

To my eye he seemed stilted and contradictory the whole way through. He wants a president who will uphold Judeo-Christian values. He wants a Christian, not a Muslim. Well, maybe a Muslim would be okay. But maybe not. Mormon, that would be just fine.

All that said, it’s hard to see how Coulter’s or McCain’s remarks could be interpreted as a “Non-Jews welcome” sign. And it’s hard to ignore that its supporters/lawmakers of the party with no blacks and just three Jews in Congress who keep saying these sorts of things (yes, yes, Democrats have their own patterns to worry about, but that’s for another post).

Senate GOPers are tripping over themselves to run out Larry Craig, but what about his fellow Idahoan over in the House of Representatives, Bill Sali. Here’s a quote of his from last summer:

“We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes – and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers. The principles that this country was built on, that have made it great over these centuries were Christian principles derived from Scriptures. You know, the Lord can cause the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike.”

Throw in the fact that the Hindu in question was actually heckled (see video) during his prayer, and you’d think this sort of talk might be a bit higher on the agenda of congressional Republicans than Larry Craig’s wide stance.

Sali tried to backtrack from the impression that he was saying Muslims shouldn’t be congressmen. But he wasn’t the first Republican to wander into such territory.

After Ellison’s victory in 2006, a Republican House member from Virginia, Virgil Goode, sent a letter to constituents complaining about the Minnesota Democrat’s decision to take his private oath on the Koran:

“I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.”

Jeez, even Iran has a token Jew in its parliament.

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