The thing to note about Ana Marie Cox’s apologia at the Daily Beast today is how old-school evangelical it is. Billy Graham has nothing on Ana Marie Cox.
She says, “I try, every day, to give my will my life over to God. I try to be like Christ. I get down on my knees and pray.” Not many daily-Mass Catholics talk in language like that.
Ana Marie Cox has been the bête noir of conservatives and Christians for some time. Go back to last September, and you can see her comparing the agenda of conservative Christians at the Values Voter Summit with the agenda of Islamists.
Except, if you look closely, you may see some discomfort. She stutters. She stammers. She hesitates. Watch how she closes her eyes for the longest time as she delivers the final barb. Her fastball is way off. It looks as if her heart is not entirely in it. That might have been different a few years ago.
In the Daily Beast column she says the evidence of her conversion has been there for all to see. She says she’s been tweeting out Bible verses and prayers. She says, “…it still feels subversive. But until now, I have avoided publically aligning myself with one of the most unpopular beliefs in the world.”
Speaking about her atheist parents in this fascinating column, she says, “I am not smart enough to argue with those that cling to disbelief.” She says, “Belief came when I stopped needing the answer [to the reason for the latest atrocity].”
“Here is why I believe I am a Christian: I believe I have a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior. I believe in the grace offered by the Resurrection,” she writes.
“To be clear, I don’t just believe in God. I am a Christian. Decades of mass culture New Ageism has fluffed up ‘belief in God’ into a spiritual buffet, a holy catch-all for those who want to cover all the numbers: Pascal’s wager as a roulette wheel and not a coin toss. Me, I’m going all in with Jesus.”
She doesn’t describe any particular conversion moment. She says her life changed as she left Washington, D.C. and not much more, except this explosion of religious faith.
She did have a life-threatening reaction to lentils on the Acela between New York and Washington, D.C. Perhaps miraculously, Greta Van Sustren was sitting nearby. Van Sustren suffers from allergies and always carries Benadryl and even an EpiPen epinephrine shot for serious emergencies. Cox said, “If she hadn’t been there, I don’t; know what would have happened.” She later thanked Van Sustren for “saving her life.”
There are few reactions so far.
Rod Dreher at the American Conservative is bowled over. He opens his column with the words of a friend, “Holy jamoley!”
Dreher points out that in her essay, Cox admits to still being pro-choice on abortion but then he explains who among converts has not struggled with specific beliefs and teachings of the Church. Indeed, for many evangelical converts to the Catholic Church, they struggle with the Virgin Mary, or Papal Infallibility and any one of a number of teachings that are difficult or mysterious.
Without a doubt, some will weigh in and explain how Cox cannot be a Christian because of some of her lingering political positions. It’s clear she expects this. Part of her essay is about conservatives questioning Obama’s professed Christianity. So, she’s at least thinking about that and perhaps a bit worried.
The landscape she walks today is fraught with difficulties. The progressive world she inhabits tends to view Christianity as shocking, dangerous, or simply creepy. But so far today, they are silent. The Huffington Post, for instance, hasn’t said a word.
On the other hand, her past and her politics may make it hard for some Christian conservatives to accept her conversion. Interestingly, Erick Erickson, who is named and at least vaguely criticized in her Daily Beast piece, said on Facebook, “This is the best thing you will read today.”
Today Cox Tweeted this, “Humbled by positive reactions to my DB piece. They prove how selfish my fears about “going public” were. Thank you everyone; thank you, God.”
Political differences can come later and perhaps sharply, too, but for today, at least for those of us at Breitbart, we say it is a good day, even a blessed day.
Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter: @austinruse