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Monday, October 15, 2007

Orthomom on Ann Coulter

As many of my readers know, I have never particularly cared for the woman - or her views, political or otherwise. That said, her latest doesn't offend me as much as some of her past shrill declarations did. Maybe I just don't need to hear Ann Coulter voice her approval of my religion - being as I already have no respect for the woman. Or maybe I don't even really care what the average Christian feels about whether Jews need to be "perfected" before going to heaven. I can think she's dead, dead wrong - and still not think her views are anti-Semitic per se.

I mean, consider this: I can imagine there are quite a few Hindus who would be offended that I was told, a few years back, to stop wearing my Sheitel until it is ascertained that the hair was not used in Hindu ceremonies before being sewn into a wig. I presume that some Christians might take issue with the fact that some of my children have been taught in school to avert their eyes when passing a church so as not to inadvertently look at Christian symbols of worship. My son came home talking about how Avraham "broke all of his fathers Getchkas because his father worshiped idols instead of Hashem and Avraham didn't want him to [sic]". Are those views worthy of denunciation by the ADL, as Ann Coulter's views apparently were? I don't think so.

In addition, Rav Soloveitchik made it very clear in Confrontation, his 1964 essay on interfaith dialogue, that he felt we should not attempt to interfere with the tenets of other religions, as we are certainly not willing to revise any tenets of our own:
Third, we members of the community of the few should always act with tact and understanding and refrain from suggesting to the community of the many, which is both proud and prudent, changes in ritual or emendations of its texts. If the genuinely liberal dignitaries of the faith community of the many deem some changes advisable, they will act in accordance with their convictions without any prompting on our part. It is not within our purview to advise or solicit. For it would be both impertinent and unwise for an outsider to intrude upon the most private sector of the human existential experience, namely, the way in which a faith community expresses its relationship to God. Non-interference with and non-involvement in something which is totally alien to us is a conditio sine qua non for the furtherance of good will and mutual respect.

Fourth, we certainly have not been authorized by our history, sanctified by the martyrdom of millions, to even hint to another faith community that we are mentally ready to revise historical attitudes, to trade favors pertaining to fundamental matters of faith, and to reconcile "some" differences. Such a suggestion would be nothing but a betrayal of our great tradition and heritage and would, furthermore, produce no practical benefits. Let us not forget that the community of the many will not be satisfied with half measures and compromises which are only indicative of a feeling of insecurity and inner emptiness. We cannot command the respect of our confronters by displaying a servile attitude. Only a candid, frank and unequivocal policy reflecting unconditional commitment to our God, a sense of dignity, pride and inner joy in being what we are, believing with great passion in the ultimate truthfulness of our views, praying fervently for and expecting confidently the fulfillment of our eschatological vision when our faith will rise from particularity to universality, will impress the peers of the other faith community among whom we have both adversaries and friends. I hope and pray that our friends in the community of the many will sustain their liberal convictions and humanitarian ideals by articulating their position on the right of the community of the few to live, create, and worship God in its own way, in freedom and with dignity.
It seems he felt that there should be an across-the-board policy of non-interference with each religion's right to maintain its doctrines. By extension, I think it would follow that we should not be addressing the propriety of the details of Ann Coulter's religious beliefs, even if we find them personally offensive or just plain wrong.

Now, all that having been said, is Ann Coulter a complete idiot for running off at the mouth? Always was. Really, what's the dif?

33 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree. I hate to defend Coulter but we have our own similar beliefs in Judaism. I am sure there are many Christians who are terribly offended by us not accepting Jesus as our savior. Tough on them. I believe what I believe. I am not personally announcing it on the news though.

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OM - first let me say that I appreciate your take on Coulter. As a political coservative I actually agree with most of Coulter's opinions - though her sensationalist methods of communicating these positions often does more harm than good.
In this case, I think she is simply speaking the language of a typical Evangelical Christian - who firmly believe that Jews must be converted and accept Jesus to be "saved".
These are the same people that some Jews love to point to and say are "pro-israel".
You can't love them for that aspect and hate them because they want to "perfect" you by compelling you love Jesus.
One word of caution to commenters - this is a VERY sensitive subject that can be easily misconstrued and used for hate. PLEASE be mindful that this is an open forum - choose your words carefully and respectfully.

11:38 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

One word of caution to commenters - this is a VERY sensitive subject that can be easily misconstrued and used for hate. PLEASE be mindful that this is an open forum - choose your words carefully and respectfully.

I appreciate your comments, and agree completely. Let me make clear that I respect everyone's right to practice their own religion, as Rav Soleveitchik seemed to feel we all should. I expect all commenters to this post to do the same.

12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Christian as well as a political conservative, I can really appreciate the way you wrote this. I disagree with you regarding Ms. Coulter's politics but I agree with you on this topic. I think we can all have certain views about whether our religion is the right religion without getting offensive or offended about it. But I also think Ms. Coulter didn't do any Christians or Jews any favors by phrasing herself the way she did.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Soccer Dad said...

Your comment reminded me of a recent article by Meir Soloveitchik in Commentary that is nicely synopsized here.

12:46 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Good post. I said much the same when I was told about it in an e=mail, and at work where a (non-religious) co-worker was offended by it. I don't think she was being anti-Semitic, unless you consider Christianity in and of itself anti-Semitic. She was giving her honest opinion of what her religious beliefs were - not saying "...and therefore we should do ___". Would a frum Jew hoping a non-frum Jew became religious be hateful? I don't think so.

Her stupidity was only in saying it out loud.

5:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OM, I think you got this one correct. Ms. Coulter was simply stating a point of theology. In her view (and as I understand it -- bedrock fundamentalist doctrine), Christianity is the perfection of Judaism. As I understand the doctrine, one can achieve salvation by exactly following the taryag mitzvot, but since that is so difficult (if not impossible) a more perfect way to salvation is achievable through faith in Jesus. Ms. Coulter did not call for the forced conversion of Jews or even imply that Jews were inferior (other than prhaps in doctrine). While Ms. Coulter talks way too much, never met a camera she didn't like, sells herself way too much, is insensative, and has political views I often find offensive, I think she unfairly took a lot of hits on this one.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Observer said...

Oops, hit publish too early. 11:42 was posted by Observer should anyone care.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I can imagine there are quite a few Hindus who would be offended that I was told, a few years back, to stop wearing my Sheitel until it is ascertained that the hair was not used in Hindu ceremonies before being sewn into a wig."

Oh. And that they're pagan worshipers condemned to hell. That might offend them too.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh. And that they're pagan worshipers condemned to hell. That might offend them too.

Crap. No Hindus in heaven? Who's going to wash the dishes and stroll our kids to Cedarhurst Park?

2:50 PM  
Blogger DAG said...

Need I remind that the Jewish opinion on whether Christians can go to heaven is far from universal?

9:08 PM  
Anonymous He Who remembers said...

See Dan's comment on Crosscurrents.

3:25 PM  
Blogger -suitepotato- said...

She's a ditz for saying in public what is usually left in private for the humanitarian sake of social peace. I justify that keeping quiet on things like that from a position of humility before G-d. Until He personally shows and says it, I have to err on the side of social peace and avoid inter-religious strife. It is not dishonesty by omission if we all have documented our beliefs openly for anyone who cares to read.

Jews have, Muslims have, Christians have, and we don't need to say it openly again. She's a ditz.

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Religious debates contemplating a particular divinities superiority over another is akin to children fighting over who has the strongest imaginary friend.

12:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OM -

Right on target on this one, though IMHO you cannot go wrong quoting the Rav.

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Crap. No Hindus in heaven? Who's going to wash the dishes and stroll our kids to Cedarhurst Park?
" -that may be the funniest thing i've ever heard, go to a hospital. Chances are your doctors is Indian. Go to an Ivy League campus I would say 30 percent are of Asian descent. In fact every Hindu I know has a masters degree; I doubt you know what that stands for. Funny how someone could talk shit on one of the most peaceful religions on the planet.

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