In Defense of Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter’s most recent column calling Kent Brantley, the Christian missionary/doctor suffering from Ebola, “idiotic” for going to Africa in the first place, has produced a ton of blowback.  Much of that blowback has come from her fellow conservatives — some of it thoughtful, some not so much.

In her usual blunt and humorous way, I found Coulter’s column quite thoughtful, especially since she touched on a dilemma I’ve been grappling with for quite some time. Here’s the gist of Coulter’s primary point:

Can’t anyone serve Christ in America anymore?

No — because we’re doing just fine. America, the most powerful, influential nation on Earth, is merely in a pitched battle for its soul. …

So no, there’s nothing for a Christian to do here.

If Dr. Brantly had practiced at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles and turned one single Hollywood power-broker to Christ, he would have done more good for the entire world than anything he could accomplish in a century spent in Liberia. Ebola kills only the body; the virus of spiritual bankruptcy and moral decadence spread by so many Hollywood movies infects the world.

What Coulter believes is that without America, the world is doomed. She also believes America is close to being doomed, so all hands need to be on deck to save her. If Christians are running around saving the rest of the world as America withers and dies, she argues, doesn’t that eventually doom the world and therefore count as misguided and “idiotic?”

The tortuous beauty of our faith is that sometimes there are no simple answers; Christianity is big enough for these kinds of debates. Part of being a Christian is forever grappling with what is the right thing to do.

Coulter is looking at an ethical and moral dilemma in a way that’s difficult and complicated, but certainly no less compassionate or Christian than those who disagree. It’s reasonable to disagree with her, but sometimes doing the right thing isn’t simple; it’s a little more complicated than quoting a piece of scripture — and sometimes pointing that out is unpopular.  

It’s also not misguided nationalism or patriotism on Coulter’s part, as some on the Left have suggested.

I’m grateful Coulter wrote what she did. Her point is a legitimate one and should be part of our national spiritual and political debate (especially with respect to the border),  and the debate we all have within ourselves when it comes to our own choices.