Most Christians to Left of Far Right

It should come as no surprise that a recent opinion poll among younger people shows great skepticism if not outright … Continued

It should come as no surprise that a recent opinion poll among younger people shows great skepticism if not outright resistance to Christianity. Given the preponderance of mainstream media reporting on a minority of U.S. Christians such attitudes make sense.

The research done by George Barna and released in September shows the younger generation, ages 16-29, views Christianity as judgmental, hypocritical, old-fashioned and too political.

Assuming the impressions of these young respondents are shaped by the media they would only know about the extreme ultra-conservative brand of Christianity. Most Christians in the U.S. are not that. Most Christians believe in an authentic, inclusive and welcoming gospel in the thousands of communities where they worship.

I suspect these young opinion poll takers are responding to what I call a political philosophy masquerading as gospel that is wrapped in religious rhetoric and painted red, white and blue.

One of its chief cheerleaders is Ann Coulter. She has dismissed most of the Bible and the words of Jesus defending the poor, the widow, the prisoner—the least among us—and spewed her venom that has little or nothing to do with orthodox Christianity. But Ms. Coulter and her ilk are the ones to whom the media gives most of its attention.

Recently on CNBC’s “Big Idea with Donny Deutsch”, Ms. Coulter said America would be better off if there were no Jewish people here and that Christians are “perfected Jews.” The whole conversation was offensive which, I suspect, is what the media loves about her. But there used to be a time when such words of hatred and intolerance were not given any public platform in the mainstream media.

No longer. Now we have newspapers and news channels giving extended coverage to those perverting the gospel with attitudes alien to its reconciling heart. The Wall Street Journal last year gave front page coverage to Christian Zionists. The recent “Values Voters” summit in Washington received great attention from the media not for the “Christianity” they represent but the political power at the ballot box they wield.

The majority of faithful Christians in the U.S. have nothing to do with James Dobson and his Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins and his Family Research Council or John Hagee and his Christians United for Israel.

Most American Christians struggle each week to apply Biblical truths in their daily lives. They seek to follow the words and actions of Jesus reminding his followers about taking care of the widow and the orphan, the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked and visiting the prisoner.

The National Council of Churches is made up of 35 diverse and differing Christian denominations — from Methodist to Orthodox, from Lutheran to Quaker — embracing 45 million American citizens. More than half of our member communions do not ordain women and their positions on human sexuality span the spectrum. Yet the NCC has been blasted over and over and over by the extreme religious right as being “leftist” and political. Sadly, much of the media has bought the image. We get very little notice, despite the fact that in the typical American community, it is these NCC-related churches who form the very backbone of local religious life.

What really threatens the extreme right is our member churches’ ability to disagree on many issues yet come together on such matters as living wage, racism, health care, justice for women, and an unjust war in Iraq. It is a multi-partisan organization that threatens those who are “triumphal dominationalists” such as Ms. Coulter. Those who are convinced they’re right and everyone else is wrong feel undermined when people who differ are able to cooperate and collaborate.

But isn’t that what America was supposed to be about? Weren’t we founded to offer freedom of religion and not be dominated by one particular group? There are some signs that the toxic message of the extreme right of American Christians may be faltering. I hope so.

It’s time we get back to celebrating the diversity this country has held up to the world for more than two centuries. It’s time to recover the American values of justice, freedom, forgiveness and reconciliation so that we may authentically hold those values up for the rest of the world to see.

Those American values happen to be Christian values. You can also find those values in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Koran and many other sacred texts of numerous faith traditions. Our country, our world, will be better off if we recover those values. And our young people would not be skeptical or dismiss Christianity as a negative part of America.

The Rev. Michael Livingston is president of the National Council of Churches USA and executive director of the International Council of Community Churches.

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  • Mobedda

    If this is all true, then may I ask how Bush was elected… TWICE?

  • Ken Pekie

    I don’t believe the media is the culprit. For so many years, “Christians” have allowed themselves to be represented by the Pat Robertsons, Jerry Falwells and James Dobsons of the world. Ann Coulter is but an extension of their views. I’m gratified that so many younger people are turned off by those messages and will ultimately find a more compassionate and loving faith

  • Orthodoxy

    As bad as Ann Coulter is, Mr. Livingston is no better. Try as he and his liberal colleagues at the National Council of Churches might, they can’t turn Christianity into a liberal religion, or Jesus Christ into a ancient incarnation of Al Gore.As far as Coulter’s remarks in this particular instance go, time was, all Christians were enjoined the evangelize anyone who was not a Christian, including Jews. Trying to bring the Gospel to the Jews is not anti-Semitic, regardless of what Livingston, Abe Foxman or anyone else says.Indeed, what occurred here was exactly the opposite: an anti-Christian attack from the kook left, including, now, Mr. Livingston.Again, I’m no Coulter fan, but she didn’t say anything offensive. All human beings, including Jews, are enjoined to accept Christ. Period.

  • Bill Wise

    What a wonderful commentary.

  • K

    As long as any of you are saying “this is a christian country”, found by christians and for christians, you’re going to get resistance from large numbers of people – not just the atheists.As long as this majority of christians you seek to describe here say nothing against Dobson and Robertson, say nothing about the revisionist histories being spewed by the Coulters and other vile right-wing barkers; as long as you say nothing it seems to the rest of us that you are agreeing with them.Further it seems this agreement is based on the fact that you do actually believe this is a christian country, not just a predominantly christian country. It seems you are willing to suppress your disagreements with the more vitriolic members on your side of the religious street as long as it helps to erode that wall of separation between church and state.Remember, this wall of separation protects you as well. How would you like it if Coulter and Dobson were to take over the Office of Apostasy and Blasphemy, do you think you would be protected any more than the atheists?Coulter and Dobson et al don’t exist as national nightmares because the unbelievers don’t like them, they exist because you have said nothing. Your silence is tacit support. We aren’t going to be able to stop them.

  • Bonnie Jackson

    Thank you so much for your comments. I’ve often felt that the religion (Christianity) that I grew up with has been hijacked in the last 15 years by some of the most mean-spirited people. Your thoughtful writing has encouraged me to remember that the Christianity I grew up with is alive and well. It just doesn’t get the media coverage so it’s easy to forget it is really there.

  • L

    It’s not the media’s fault, it’s the far right groups you mention that are determined to pull the country’s strings. Don’t you prove some of the impressions young people have of Christianity by touting your group’s unwillingness to ordain women to give you street cred with those right wing groups? I think the Christian community needs to clean its own house of these fringe elements before complaining that it’s the media distorting the image. Exactly what most of the world is asking the Muslim community to do right now.

  • Dave McManus

    Ah, orthodoxy…you’ve brightened my day. It’s always nice to be reminded of why I love being an american. Everyone is entitled to their own ideas, regardless of how extreme, absurd and intolerant they are. I wish I could be as sure of the “truth” as you apparantly are.Everyone is enjoined to Christ; so, those of us who don’t claim to be, or may still be on our journey (see Jacob’s story) are all going to hell. What a nice way to bring people to glory; fear.I eagerly await your condemnation and prayers for my damned soul…

  • L

    It’s not the media’s fault, it’s the far right groups you mention that are determined to pull the country’s strings. Don’t you prove some of the impressions young people have of Christianity by touting your group’s unwillingness to ordain women to give you street cred with those right wing groups? I think the Christian community needs to clean its own house of these fringe elements before complaining that it’s the media distorting the image. Exactly what most of the world is asking the Muslim community to do right now.

  • L

    It’s not the media’s fault, it’s the far right groups you mention that are determined to pull the country’s strings. Don’t you prove some of the impressions young people have of Christianity by touting your group’s unwillingness to ordain women to give you street cred with those right wing groups? I think the Christian community needs to clean its own house of these fringe elements before complaining that it’s the media distorting the image. Exactly what most of the world is asking the Muslim community to do right now.

  • Jim Welch

    Actually, the comments above reinforce the point that Livingston is making. Even when he does say something against the vitriolic Christians–the Robertsons, the Coulters, the Falwells–(as in his piece) the media pretty much ignore it and focus on the radical Christians. Liberal Christians haven’t been quiet, they’ve been actively working in their communities. It just doesn’t make for press that sells advertising, so the media ignore it, and the message that gets heard is that of the loud, obnoxious ones.

  • Dana Owen Still

    I’ve been wondering how long it might take for the more moderate Christian leadership to begin speaking out against the radicals who have highjacked their religion in the US. Now I have the answer.It’s taken too long is how long its taken.The damage has already been done and almost all of it will take many years to undo. Why has it taken so long? Is it a lack of courage? A crisis of faith? Or just inattention?It’s nice to see Rev. Livingston but it’s much, much too late.

  • Wayne Witherell

    Well, when the Republican blowhards haul her out all the time and think she has something useful to say, how can you ignore her? And how can you think other than she is a shill for Bush and the cretins who run this government. If you want the rest of us to ignore her, tell your Republican friends to shut her up.

  • Brad Buecker

    Absolutely dead on target. Unfortunately, it is the people who make the most noise that receive media attention. Meanwhile, millions of people who help the poor, believe that all people no matter what race were created equal, and who just generally care and pray for all in need are forgotten.

  • Diane Welch

    Thank you for stating what I have felt for years. I get very angry when these political groups claim to speak for all Christians.

  • Dana Owen Still

    I’ve been wondering how long it might take for the more moderate Christian leadership to begin speaking out against the radicals who have highjacked their religion in the US. Now I have the answer.It’s taken too long is how long its taken.The damage has already been done and almost all of it will take many years to undo. Why has it taken so long? Is it a lack of courage? A crisis of faith? Or just inattention?It’s nice to see Rev. Livingston but it’s much, much too late.

  • linclnprh

    she’s a comedy performer. treat her as such.

  • Rick

    Thank you for a great post.I showed my 24 yr old son a video of Max Blumental at a Hagee Convention in Wash.D.C. in July.He was totally stunned and the first thing he said when he saw Sen.Lieberman comparing Hagee to Moses was that Politics and Religion in this Country should never be that close.

  • L

    It’s not the media’s fault, it’s the far right groups you mention that are determined to pull the country’s strings. Don’t you prove some of the impressions young people have of Christianity by touting your group’s unwillingness to ordain women to give you street cred with those right wing groups? I think the Christian community needs to clean its own house of these fringe elements before complaining that it’s the media distorting the image. Exactly what most of the world is asking the Muslim community to do right now.

  • maddison66

    A number of posters have already made this point…Dobson, Robertson, Coulter and other Christian hacks do not speak and should not have the right to speak for “all” Christians.Many Christians do their best to remain faithful to the lessons Jesus taught and they do so without politicizing their faith or their beliefs. Dobson, Robertson and others have failed miserably in this effort, so why is it that they are looked upon as “leaders”?This happens because we as Christians allow it and that is unfortunate. Being a Christian is not political, it is a faith and it is a way of life. That is the message that needs to be and should be communicated. We need to spread the message of inclusion, not exclusion.

  • Grog in Ohio

    >>Unlike Ann Coulter, most Christians believe in an authentic, inclusive and welcoming gospel in the thousands of communities where they worshipUnfortunately, the preponderance of evidence indicates the opposite. Americans are VERY quick to complain that the mainstream Muslim society has not vocally condemned their radicals. The EXACT same comment can be made about American “christians” and their own Taliban.453 days till the end of the Bush administration.

  • Jill Cerino

    I’m afraid it is not the responsibility of the media, a profit driven business, to educate people about extremists using Christianity. It is up to the practioners themselves to condemn those that shame thier religion. Where are the voices within the Christian church condemning this woman for encouraging hate in their name? I have yet to hear one and the silence speaks volumes. Look in the mirror if you are wondering who to blame for so many young skeptics. Why should they follow such sheep? How can they possibly be inspired by such mealy mouthed blame shifting?

  • Maria Brazda

    Ann needs to know the Christ- she is in need of much prayer as many who say they represent him and don’t know him by the their actions. I encourage all to learn for themselves- reach out and read the Bible ask Jesus Christ to show himself to them and they will receive an answer. I was once like Ann- angry, mean and so sure of what I believed- what a miracle that the Lord has done in my life. He saved me from myself. I believe the Lord is the God of

  • Omar Bouderdaben

    I do agree that the majority of Christians are not and would not like Ann Coulter to represent them.However, being a Muslim, and being always asked to denounce the extrimist amongst us, I do not see the same directed towards the Christians to denounce the extrimists amongst them…God Bless

  • davew

    If Christians across the spectrum rose up and denounced the vicious hate that Ann Coulter routinely spews out, the media would report that. Until the day that Christians of good will are willing to go out on that limb and stand up to the Dobsons and Falwells, blaming the decline of Christians’ good standing, especially among young people, on the media will continue to ring hollow.

  • Dan Jarden

    Interesting comments. But I would suggest that if you don’t want Christianity to have a bad name, you do something about policing it.It’s the same advice I offer to Muslims concerned about how their faith is perceived.Don’t blame the media for not reporting what you’re not doing.

  • mcbride

    i think that the media certainly fuels the fire in terms of portraying ‘christians’ as the maniacal bible thumping engines of intolerance that are being discussed here. however, the aforementioned idea that christians were “enjoined to evangelize anyone who was not a Christian…” is kind of the crux of the problem here. even if you restrict media consumption you will still be evangelized to on the street, or with a knock on your door, whether you want it or not. being interrupted in your daily business to be told what to believe, or that what you do believe is wrong/sinful/the work of the devil etc. and that unless you change your belief system and concur with what the evangelizer preaches you will be going to hell – that is the sort of thing that turns many people away from christianity. if you are not a christian, being told your country is a “christian nation” despite our first freedom, compounds the frustration of evangelization, be it on the street, your doorstep or fox news.

  • Dan Jarden

    Interesting comments. But I would suggest that if you don’t want Christianity to have a bad name, you do something about policing it.It’s the same advice I offer to Muslims concerned about how their faith is perceived.Don’t blame the media for not reporting what you’re not doing.

  • Peter

    Thank you for the thoughtful post. I was a little startled by your statement that over half the NCC member denominations do not allow women to serve as clergy. I am about to join the Christian Reformed Church–in my forties, and the first time to join a church. My only regret is that the CRC is not (yet) a member of the NCC. If what you say is true, then the CRC is further along on one key church issue than half the NCC denominations. Let’s hope the others come around soon.

  • Joshua Abramawitz

    Though I understand how the commentator would be quick to distance himself from someone as disagreeable as Coulter, it is hard to deny that for a great deal of Christian history, Coulter’s comments directly reflected the “authentic message” of that religion. Ownership of the “authentic message”, if we are to take the author’s definition, belongs to the majority — silent or otherwise. One need only examine the period between the 8th and 16th Centuries for evidence of violent exclusion. It wasn’t until the significant pressure of the Enlightenment that Christianity necessarily evolved beyond its “barbaric ancestors”.

  • Gary Jackson

    Mobedda, you asked why Bush was elected twice. Actually, he wasn’t. But, I don’t want to raise the argument about the inherent unfairness of the Electoral College.Bush was elected in 2004 not by the power of the religious right but rather by rare combination of their votes with a number of other groups who don’t normally vote for GOP candidates. And It wasn’t because they love George W. Bush either. His favorable rating had already began to slide.In the waning days of the 2004 Presidential campaign, Osama Bin Laden released a video that plyed right into the GOP theme of democrats being weak on terrorism. That fear plus John Kerry’s shrugging off the infamous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads impugning his bravery and the medals he won, plus the collapse of the Bush National Guard story owing to the revelation that the story was based on documents that could not be authenticated all combined in a way that allowed enough voters among, security moms, African-Americans and Hispanics to be peeled off to combine with the so-called values voters who were energized that year to allow Bush to eke a victory that might not have happened at all if handfuls of voters in Ohio who normally vote democratic had not gone over to the GOP. To this day there are hot disputes over what happened in Ohio.In any case, it wasn’t just values voters who gave Bush the victory in 2004. It was this odd, once-on-a-lifetime fluke that made Bush a two term President. And a great may of people who were a part of that fluke and voted for the GOP are very unlikely to repeat that mistake.

  • Nan

    Of course Christians like Livingston have been rejecting the intolerance of political parrots like Falwell, Robertson, Coulter et al … for years! But the media prefer the simple expedient of calling on these extremists to create conflict and make atrocious, quotable comments. It’s lazy reporting, and it is contributing daily to the polarization of American society.It’s no fun to give attention to reasonable, quiet, tolerant persons who are working hard in their communities to help others. That doesn’t work on the TV shout shows.

  • jerry rubin

    The media has turned into a equal opportunity machine. It is like a mud fight who every is craving for on their TV or other news media. If you have someone giving one view you have to have a counter view point. I think it started with point – counterpoint.So let the mud battles continue to entertain and not inform. The reality is not theirs, it is the heartland of this country that just laughs on Jon Stewart’s program.The greater the extremes are shown the more the country moves to the middle. The problem now is we have no leadership with a humanistic mind. He caught in his own world and his follows are the ones who will burn in hell.

  • jerry rubin

    The media has turned into a equal opportunity machine. It is like a mud fight who every is craving for on their TV or other news media. If you have someone giving one view you have to have a counter view point. I think it started with point – counterpoint.So let the mud battles continue to entertain and not inform. The reality is not theirs, it is the heartland of this country that just laughs on Jon Stewart’s program.The greater the extremes are shown the more the country moves to the middle. The problem now is we have no leadership with a humanistic mind. He caught in his own world and his follows are the ones who will burn in hell.

  • Greg Stephens

    Sorry, I know a lot of Christians and her views are widely applauded by the Christian community. Who do you suppose her audience is? Secular humanists?I am an insurance adjuster and I go in a LOT of houses in Florida. Her book is always on the coffee table next to religious material. You Christian spokes people need to get out and meet some actual Christians. They are a vile bunch.

  • Dan Jarden

    By all means, blame the media for not reporting what you’re not doing: namely, policing your own community.I make the same response to muslims who are upset with the way their faith is characterized.

  • Sue

    I’ll have to agree with previous posters that the Christian community’s silence have given their more vociferous bretheren a more visable platform to the point that they’re perceived as the voice and face of Christianity in America. But then again, don’t all extremist scream louder than their more moderate counterparts? Mobedda:

  • Mike

    It’s nice to hear a Christian talking sense. You hear it so rarely.It’d be nice to believe that the majority of “faithful Christians” don’t buy Ann Coulter’s divisive act. But I live in a small town in middle America populated by faithful Christians who actually enjoy her outrageous claims. Although the few enlightened among them know drivel when they hear it, the majority of faithful Christians have common beliefs: They’re going to heaven and everyone else is going to hell, George W. speaks the truth, Hillary Clinton must be scorned in a non-explicit way, and the United States is the greatest country in the world (though few can explain what makes it that).I wish there were more of those Christians Mr. Livingston describes, but in my heart of hearts, I believe he’s delusional.

  • nate

    Stop Looking At Her! Meanwhile I’ll present her story on Washington Post. Maybe if you stop giving her ink, she’ll slink away, but the best way to assure that she gets attention is to tell people to ignore her.

  • nate

    Stop Looking At Her! Meanwhile I’ll present her story on Washington Post. Maybe if you stop giving her ink, she’ll slink away, but the best way to assure that she gets attention is to tell people to ignore her.

  • Bob Hackman

    Rev,Great article! I’m not religious but I do love this country and have been so dismayed at how its liberal foundations have been attacked by the religious right. I respect your comments and commend you for speaking out–do it more often we need you now.

  • Paul French

    Ha. What a joke. Who do you think is buying this woman’s books? Yes, ChristoFascists. Attention Values Voters – MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS and quit trying to impose your “values” on the rest of us. We’ve seen your values in action – Ted Haggard, Larry Craig and Mark Foley. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • Sean ONeil

    I am a Christian. I have been horrified by the “leaders” of the church, Dr. Dobson and Pat Robertson to name a couple. Whenever I tell someone that I am a Christian, I am always asked about these two morons. I cannot effectively witness to others about Christ because I am constantly trying to explain how these two idiots do not represent the love and peace of Christ and the church in general. These two and their ilk and the numerous people who support them make it very difficult for those of us who are trying to build bridges and not walls and follow the great commision. As far as Ann Coulter goes; I do not believe that she speaks for anyone but herself and perhaps a few facisists.

  • Paul French

    Ha. What a joke. Who do you think is buying this woman’s books? Yes, ChristoFascists. Attention Values Voters – MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS and quit trying to impose your “values” on the rest of us. We’ve seen your values in action – Ted Haggard, Larry Craig and Mark Foley. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • Paul French

    Ha. What a joke. Who do you think is buying this woman’s books? Yes, ChristoFascists. Attention Values Voters – MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS and quit trying to impose your “values” on the rest of us. We’ve seen your values in action – Ted Haggard, Larry Craig and Mark Foley. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Gosh, I was absolutely with you until your comment about all Christians agreeing about the “unjust war in Iraq”. In an instant I felt drawn into a political statement.

  • DoTheRightThing

    The NCC has been blasted for being leftist and political because, when it takes a position on any current issue, it is always on the same side as the leftists and the Democratic Party.

  • Tim Mac

    Stop blaming the media. It’s not the media- it’s the failure of moderate, rational Christian voices to step up and counter the extremists. For nearly three decades, moderate voices have abandoned the field to the extremists. Theologians have not vociferously contradicted the distortions of Christianity that Coulter and her ilk spew. I have heard Christian moderates even nod and wink at the antics of these people saying “well, if it brings more people to Christ then it’s a good thing in the long run.”Coulter and her kind are nothing more than the American version of the Taliban. Until moderate Christian voices unite to discredit the insanity that she and her cronies spew, Christianity will continue to be debased. The faith has been made, by Coulter & Co., into nothing more than a political tool to keep the Republican Party in power. God and Jesus have been placed into the service of the other master. That Christians find this tolerable is astonishing.

  • Gary Jackson

    Mobedda, you asked why Bush was elected twice. Actually, he wasn’t. But, I don’t want to raise the argument about the inherent unfairness of the Electoral College.Bush was elected in 2004 not by the power of the religious right but rather by rare combination of their votes with a number of other groups who don’t normally vote for GOP candidates. And It wasn’t because they love George W. Bush either. His favorable rating had already began to slide.In the waning days of the 2004 Presidential campaign, Osama Bin Laden released a video that plyed right into the GOP theme of democrats being weak on terrorism. That fear plus John Kerry’s shrugging off the infamous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads impugning his bravery and the medals he won, plus the collapse of the Bush National Guard story owing to the revelation that the story was based on documents that could not be authenticated all combined in a way that allowed enough voters among, security moms, African-Americans and Hispanics to be peeled off to combine with the so-called values voters who were energized that year to allow Bush to eke a victory that might not have happened at all if handfuls of voters in Ohio who normally vote democratic had not gone over to the GOP. To this day there are hot disputes over what happened in Ohio.In any case, it wasn’t just values voters who gave Bush the victory in 2004. It was this odd, once-on-a-lifetime fluke that made Bush a two term President. And a great may of people who were a part of that fluke and voted for the GOP are very unlikely to repeat that mistake.

  • Phillip Moss

    Scripture says “By their fruit shall ye know them.”

  • Gary Jackson

    Mobedda, you asked why Bush was elected twice. Actually, he wasn’t. But, I don’t want to raise the argument about the inherent unfairness of the Electoral College.Bush was elected in 2004 not by the power of the religious right but rather by rare combination of their votes with a number of other groups who don’t normally vote for GOP candidates. And It wasn’t because they love George W. Bush either. His favorable rating had already began to slide.In the waning days of the 2004 Presidential campaign, Osama Bin Laden released a video that plyed right into the GOP theme of democrats being weak on terrorism. That fear plus John Kerry’s shrugging off the infamous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads impugning his bravery and the medals he won, plus the collapse of the Bush National Guard story owing to the revelation that the story was based on documents that could not be authenticated all combined in a way that allowed enough voters among, security moms, African-Americans and Hispanics to be peeled off to combine with the so-called values voters who were energized that year to allow Bush to eke a victory that might not have happened at all if handfuls of voters in Ohio who normally vote democratic had not gone over to the GOP. To this day there are hot disputes over what happened in Ohio.In any case, it wasn’t just values voters who gave Bush the victory in 2004. It was this odd, once-on-a-lifetime fluke that made Bush a two term President. And a great may of people who were a part of that fluke and voted for the GOP are very unlikely to repeat that mistake.

  • Stax

    She may not speak for all Christians, but she does speak for a significant segment of them. If you don’t see that, you are not paying attention.

  • Silence Dogood

    Michael Livingston,The bio does not indicate whether you are a Pastor or I would have addressed you as Pastor Livingston.As a Disciple of Jesus and a Gideon, I witnessed what Ms. Coulter said to Mr. Deutsch and I wrote to him the following day to apologize and to cite the scripture that addresses the terms “perfect” and “Christian Perfection.”With this forum, you have a wonderful opportunity to enlighten us to the research John Wesley did on the oxymoron “Christian Perfection.” It is an oxymoron because all good Christians know that Romans says that “all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” and “None are perfect, no not one.” So these passages are basic tenants of Orthodox Christianity.Yet my friends at Jews for Jesus refer to themselves as “Completed Jews.”Why don’t you, if you are an ordained Christian, use this forum to explore these two topics: “Christian Perfection” [Be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is Perfect] and “Completed Jews” [Saul of Tarsus, later Paul; Stephen, Peter, Moshe Rosen, founder of Jews for Jesus]?

  • Bill

    The author, the Rev. Michael Livingston is president of the National Council of Churches USA, the numbers of which are and have been in steep decline for some time now. Meanwhile, more orthodox denominations(those who also tend to hold more “conservative” political views on moral issues)are growing. As the spokesman for the shrinking denominations, does Rev. Livingston really find no irony in his lecturing the growing denominations on what is turning people away from Christianity? As to his observation that people may be turned away from Christianity by the negative media coverage it receives, would this not be a classic case of what liberals like to call “blaming the victim?” Rev. Livingston’s little hit piece on his political opponents is of a piece with the biased coverage of orthodox Christians generally expressed by the media. To express shock that such steady biased and hostile coverage has sunk into the opinions of America’s youth is so naive as to seem contrived. And for the religious left to blame conservative Chrisitians for the biased, twisted caricature of them depicted in the mainstream media reveals them as the partisans that they are.Rev. Livingston, how about listing evangelism, or the Great Commission, or preaching the saving love of Jesus Christ, as the unifying mission of your churches? Would that not be the most wonderful expression of unity? As the pews of your members churches grow ever emptier, might that not also be an inspired act of self preservation?

  • Duane

    I do not recognize the Jesus I pray to in so many of today’s religious leaders.Then again, we have always had Pharisees, no? :)There will always be a still, small voice enjoining us to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, spread the Word, love our God and love one another. The rest is just sound and fury, signifying … nothing.

  • Bill Boyd

    Ms. Coultier is an entertainer, not a philosopher. She makes “outrageous” statements to coincide with publishing a new book of her somewhat limited thoughts. The notoriety boosts sales of what would otherwise be a “worst seller.” Within her circle (as in buzzards circle) of fiends at Fox News, she is always welcome; everyplace else, she has to watch out for pies.

  • Dublin Traveler

    As someone who falls into the upper age range of the group polled that found “Christianity as judgmental, hypocritical, old-fashioned and too political”, I have to say I agree with the majority in the poll. And despite the comments to have Christians “police themselves” and denounce the Coulters, Dobsons, etc., I can say the battle is already lost for those of us who are 16-29. It’s too late to change our minds; we’ve seen how bad it can be and even if there was a mass uprising and Dobson et al disappeared, we’d always remember what happened and therefore what could happen again. Perhaps the next group (those under 16 now) will be the beneficiaries if there really was some kind of denouncement and the majority of Christians suddenly began to “take back their faith” but as I don’t see that really happening, I doubt the next set of Americans to come of age is going to see things any differently than those of us right now.

  • Pilotice

    If a person’s faith has him or her believe that “all human beings, including Jews, are enjoined to accept Christ,” and if this person happens to be holding office, I see an inherent conflict of interest between this person’s faith and his or her ability to maintain separation between church and state in office. The word church (as in church and state) is not always synonymous with faith, but in this case, I would think that the person’s faith would necessarily render most of his or her actions a breach of this constitutional principal.I was raised catholic, am in my 20s, and am essentially on the right side of the coin politically, but my vote would never go to the right because I have a very, very strong distaste for our current president and freedom curbing policies he has pursued (along with others) in the name of religion. In my young life, I have had the fortune of living on 3 other continents. In my personal experience, I feel less freedom to act in the US than in any of the other countries in which I have lived. Without these real life experiences, perhaps I would be voting with/for Mr. Bush, I a world that he paints as black or white. I apologize for introducing Mr. Bush into this commentaries section, but given that the article is directed at young people, perhaps even younger than myself, I thought it incumbent upon me to explain how a regular young person views are molded by the role of religion in public discourse. I am American btw.

  • Chad

    Blame it on the media! As long as Christians keep looking for faults outside, they will never clean house. I for one am glad the the younger generation has seen through the so called moderate christians who nevertheless support extremist views.

  • Robert

    I agree, Ann Coulter is indeed a hypocritical godless person herself. Just ignore her, let her remain full of herself. There is nothing I want my Christian, Republican family to emulate in her at all.

  • Chaotician

    Well, I would certainly celebrate the recovery of the Christian Faith Cults from the likes of Coulter, Dobson, Bush, Hannity, Roberts, O’Reily, Coleson, Haggard, Bishops, and Evangelicals in general; the lay participants spew the same venom, show the same ignorance, and have the same bigotry and tolerance as these miscreants masquerarding as church leaders. It is way past time for Christians to take a really look at the nonsense they claim is the “true” words of their God, to really reflect on whether they believe that celebrating the torture and murder of their God is the true expression of any God, that any “true” God would select some tribal group as being the “chosen” ones and the rest suitable only as fertilizer, ETC.

  • Robert

    I agree, Ann Coulter is indeed a hypocritical godless person herself. Just ignore her, let her remain full of herself. There is nothing I want my Christian, Republican family to emulate in her at all.

  • NParry

    “Empty Vessels Make Much Noise” – just ignore Coulter and not give her any platform in the public domain and she’ll go away whimpering. She’s just a nobody who thrives on cheap comments and publicity tricks!

  • F. Parkhurst

    I am affraid that not only young people are alienated by the “Christian right”. I think a significan number of adults in the United States as well as the rest of the world are repelled by “Conservative” American Christianity because of their involvement in politics. When I read the bible I find absolutely no support for any of their positions, on the contrary I find support for “judge least ye be judged”. The number of Christian leaders that have stood up to Ann Coulter and may I say Bill O’Reiley is negligable. Rick Warren is the only person that comes to mind. The Christian Right has done enormous harm to a worldly tolerant religion.

  • Avvorio

    Yes, her views do exemplify the views of most of the conservatives, I see and hear. They are selfish, greedy, attention-seeking, unloving, war-mongering, scripture perverse and without the qualities of mercy and compassion. Have you noticed they will attack children, threathen to expose to anyone where someone lives, works, where their kids go to school with impunity? No evangelical has gone on national tv to call Limbaugh, O’Reilly to account. I don’t see them (the so-called national Christian leaders) on tv saying war is not the answer. I don’t see them crying for the families destroyed, homelands dessimated by our bombs, the children here in the US in substandard schools, unsafe neighborhoods, the homeless, the helpless, the infirm. Do you see them as capable of resolving the situation like the woman at the well with an internal look at themselves? They don’t want to give to dead soldiers families, least of all regulars widows and orphans. Coulter looks and sounds like Dobson, Land, Bauer, Robertson, the Baptists and their alliances with some Catholics and Jews, and of course, their corporate allies who believe it is their right to dominate, belittle, willfully misinform, and discount some lives and people as worthless and expendable (usually people of color or other cultures). Ms. Coulter needs to worry about her own perfecting. I look at the “values voters” and ask myself – whose values are these, I don’t see Christ anywhere – just the small, self-professed and self-concocted values of their leaders and mouthpieces.

  • RAS

    Ann Coulter has legions of supporters who are as rabid as she is. (For proof, look at how well her books sell.)These legions of supporters are invariably, a) “Christian”,b) “Conservative”,c) vocal.These vocal, so-called Christian conservatives are tarring Christianity with a brush and an image which is alienating the mass of moderate Christians — and disgusting those who are neither Christian nor conservative.It’s ironic that the most vocal and committed of the “Christian” movement are the ones who are doing it the most damage — and who will, eventually, make it socially unacceptable for normal people to admit that they are either Christian or conservative.

  • FableVayne

    Reading this piece reminds me of how people often defend Communism: the doctrine is sound, but the practice is not. How easy it is to blame the extremists for distorting any gospel.

  • henry wallace

    ALL Republican Christians worship Mann Coulter..Jesus who?

  • Mark

    My thanks to Rev. Livingston. His words were truly refreshing. I left the church many years ago, and as a result, have not often interacted with people of faith who express moderation. Frankly, over the past 10+ years of radical religious domination on our country’s political Right, and the lack of a moderate religious voice sounded by either the American or international Muslim community, I was resolved that moderate religion simply no longer exists. I’m glad to hear Rev. Livingston confirm that all is not lost. I pray his moderate voice can gather momentum and play a constructive role in American and global politics.

  • notashill

    American Christianity has defined itself as ignorant, hateful and violent. The moderates would matter if they had managed to stop this process, but they didn’t and they now have no power or influence. You can’t reasonably argue that because there were some Nazis who didn’t want to exterminate jews the Nazi party is therefore misrepresented by a shallow media. All we know of Christianity is what we’re shown by the majority of Christians. So you help out at a soup kitchen? Great! But what percentage of American Christians cast votes in favor of the liberal social policies that could help relieve poverty for millions of people? And what percentage of American Christians supported the war in Iraq? We know you by your deeds. Mainstream American Christianity is ethically bankrupt. When moderates decide to actually fight for what they believe in–and win–then maybe moderates can credibly claim to be the true face of American Christianity.

  • Sue

    Mike,Where is your faith? Ann Coulter simply figured out what FOX figured out years ago, appeal to that emotional side of us that wants to act like a complete ass but is too afraid to. None of it is based in reality and that’s what you have to keep in mind. As much as I can’t stand the woman she’s a genius. She realized she could capitalize on stupidity by saying anything to piss people off and doing it loudly. You’d be surprised as to how many are “hip to her game.

  • Dana Owen Still

    The hard reality is that religions that emphasize proselytizing can quickly make themselves incompatible with societies that claim to value universal liberty.

  • K Smith

    The problem is not wholly with the media but must be shared with the audience. The media has a responsibility to give coverage to issues and newsworthy items. They must, if truly desirous of remaining as objective as possible, responsibly determine the level of coverage they give. If Ann Coulter, however, and others like her with extremist views had no audience feeding from their venom-soaked offerings there would be no media coverage. Media coverage goes to what gets the ratings and ratings come from numbers of people watching or listening. If people turned TVs and radios away from these programs the media market would dictate that offensive programming be dropped.

  • smarty

    I don’t care for Anne Coulter, she is the right’s shock queen. However, I have read enough about the NCC to know that they have a very left leaning liberal agenda, including supporting ideas/actions of communist groups/countries in the past. They support this agenda by altering scripture for their own purposes. The Christian religion is what it is- there should be no apology for believing in Christ or in witnessing to other people. There is no excuse and there should be an apology for condemning a group of people like Ann did, no doubt about it.

  • Joshua Abramawitz

    I disagree with the assertions that this is the fault of the media and that ignoring her will make her go away. She is not wildly popular among the drooling classes because she is vilified by reasonable people. She is popular because she appeals to their basest desires. Ignoring her will do nothing to change that and everything to tolerate it. This phenomenon will not change until there is a collective shouting down of her vitriol by the mythical moderate Christians the author states are actually in the majority.

  • Thomas V. Parkson

    Isn’t the real issue here the political orientation of those “Christians” in the government?Just a few can cause a lot of damage.You know the group that’s one verse short of a rapture.

  • raisin mountaineer

    This is a great article. I am struggling with how to continue to define myself as a Christian, while every day I see people on the right who are opposed to much of what I believe in, and people on the left who tar me with the same brush as those right wingers. Jerry Falwell’s heirs on one side, and Sam Harris on the other. Love God, love your neighbor as yourself. “On this hangs all the law and the prophets.” Jesus’ message is very simple– it’s the living of it that’s hard. Thank you, Rev. Livingston, for some sense in the middle of the rhetoric.

  • OlavVI

    Several commenters have opined that the Christian mainstream has failed to speak out against the right wing so-called Christians – that it isn’t the media’s fault. Wrong. The media indeed have been at fault. I’ve been in the ministry for years and have heard on many occasions my Christian brethren express their deepest concerns – but they were always rebuffed by the media, ignored on the back pages with the death notices at best. Honesty just doesn’t seem to sell, and of course that’s what the media are in the business for. Hype, fear-mongering and outright lying is the stuff of today’s media – from buying the lies of the Bush Administration on war (Watch out! Iran is next!) to the screaming of Coulter and Limburg and the smarmy muckers like Falwell and Robertson. The 4th Estate has abandoned its post.

  • monika

    has anyone seen jesus camp? it was more frightening to me than the goriest horror movie- in it i saw people preying on the ignorance of others. i saw children blindly believe what their parents told them; ten year olds trying to convert strangers in a bowling alley. these isolated children have no grasp of reality and then they grow up. american education has to change before the situation can get better. make children read, observe and analyze the world around them instead of feeding them rhetoric and CREATIONISM. because if children don’t learn to think for themselves, they will accept as true whatever you tell them, no matter how crazy/inaccurate/harmful it might be.

  • Keith

    Haven’t the vast majority of conflicts in the world since time began had their basis in religion and the inability of the religions to coexist? I’m guessing this is why the founding fathers wanted to separate church and state. A narrow-minded and a ‘let’s not let the masses know what we don’t want them to know’ attitude seems to have been religion’s position through the ages and things don’t seem to have changed much lately. Organized religion just doesn’t seem to be as effective at stifling dissent as they were in the past.

  • monika

    has anyone seen jesus camp? it was more frightening to me than the goriest horror movie- in it i saw people preying on the ignorance of others. i saw children blindly believe what their parents told them; ten year olds trying to convert strangers in a bowling alley. these isolated children have no grasp of reality and then they grow up. american education has to change before the situation can get better. make children read, observe and analyze the world around them instead of feeding them rhetoric and CREATIONISM. because if children don’t learn to think for themselves, they will accept as true whatever you tell them, no matter how crazy/inaccurate/harmful it might be.

  • Ed Mahan

    It may not represent the view of all or even most Christians, but it very well may represent the views of most or a significant percentage of Republicans and also “Christian” Right believers. I would like to see a lot, and I mean A LOT more of those Christians she does not represent disavow her views clearly and publicly, even from the pulpit. As I recall, in 2000 and 2004 a lot of so called “Christian” ministers used the pulpit to tell their congregations to vote republican and specifically of the evils of the democratic ticket. Their and your supposed moral high ground has sunk out os site in the Bush muck because of your and their silence in the face of torture, corruption, racism, war and et al.

  • Jack

    Ann Coulter is a hateful, spiteful person who believes her existance is simply to antagonize and spread lies and rumors about people who simply disagree with her so that she can make a living.I realize this is not a Christian belief, but does anyone really “like” her. I think more people “despise” her more than anything else. People simply believe she has the right to say the things she does.

  • Anonymous

    I appreciate the effort, Reverend, but there’s no use. Those who hate Christianity are going to hate it regardless — the world could be populated with Mother Teresas, and they would complain about her anti-abortion beliefs or her general devotion to God. There is a spirit of anti-theism in the air, not unlike the years preceding the French Revolution.

  • Ken Bley

    People tend to create the religions they need to cope with lives that they cannot otherwise manage.The question that the decent people who make this world function need to investigate and answer is:Why are millions upon millions of damaged souls across the globe addicted to the Distilled Hate poured for profit and pleasure by the ilk of Anne Coulter, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Meir Kahane, Sean O’Malley, Uma Bharati, Osama bin Laden, and too many more religious demagogues to even recount?

  • Goldie

    Christians dont strap bombs to their backs and go into market and blow up everybody in the market. That honor is reserved for Muslims. How can muslims criticize anything? LOL

  • jag

    I think until we begin to see churches publicly taking stands for basic human rights issues, such as non-discrimination in housing and employment for the GLBT population, we will not begin to see their image change. Currently, the publicly stated resistance to these issues or simply abstinence from them, supports the notion that there is bigotry in the ranks. The terribly unscientific organizations like Exodus International (which claim to make the gay turn straight) don’t help either. Also, it seems we see similar patterns to same-sex marriage in the church as we’ve seen historically to interracial marriage and the women’s rights movement. The same churches that were progressive then, seem progressive now. The same ones that supported slavery then, are the same that continue to hold resistence to progressive social issues. I’m disappointed in this, not just because I’m a scientist and academic, but because I’m also a Christian. I hope that we, as a movement, can see the science for what it is – see people for what they are – and not become the pharisees we read about. Frankly, it’s embarassing.

  • Gary Jackson

    Look. I don’t know whether Ann Coulter is serious when she makes the incendiary, outrageous and bigoted comments that she makes. O wheter like Steven Colbert she is doing some sort of bizarre imitation of a raging, bile soaked bigot. But I do know this: Mr. Livingson is spot on in his critique of the media. And it isn’t just Coulter that they fawn over. Nearly every one of these uber-right wing talk show hosts–Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck–have made comments of late that have been caught up in controversies having to do with their caustic commentaries.And in every single instance, this toxic, insulting rhetoric has been preceded by this seething anger apparently brought on by the failure of the Bush Presidency. Of course, they do not acknowledge this failure, but they instead direct their fire at the most consistently targeted objects of their anger and hatred–the media, liberals, democratic leaders, democratic Presidential contenders, anyone–including apparently even children–who voice any sort of critique or disagreement with them or President Bush.What is driving their hatred and anger is not anything specific that any of these groups have done other than the normal back and forth political dissent one always hears, but rather that their high hopes and dreams for a successful conservative Presidency that vindicated their belief system have been shattered by the failure of this conservative President. So now, all manner of apologia, excuses, accusations and flat out desperate commentary is being lashed out at opposition groups as the next election looms and opinion surveys indicate the possiblity of huge losses for the GOP.This may seem off topic but it is not. Coulter’s fumings fall right in line with the fumings of these other right wing dcarps who are absolutely terrirfied of losing the Presidency. Dr. Livingston’s pointing to the opinion surveys of young people are matched in other opinion surveys of other voting blocs. The values voters are losing ground and they know it. And so do their feathered relatives on the punditry circuit know it as well, which accounts for their deranged behaviour.

  • Kurt Cannon

    These so-called Christians, I say so-called because I doubt Jesus would embrace these folks, have always had spokespeople like Coulter, willing to spew hatred and prejudice in the name of the Lord. one was a devout Catholic name Adolph Hitler. The Catholic church actually excommunicated people who would not join the Nazis. These folks, Coulter, Dobson, et al sound alarmingly similar.

  • IGiveUp

    Don’t confuse Ms. Coulter’s schtick with her beliefs. She, like mr. Limbaugh, has found a market for her talents. That market is not composed of Christians, particularly, but of a narrow slice of very scared people. These people are at the top of the pile and are worried that the rest of the world is going to topple them from their roost. She can’t afford to be rational. Her market would walk away from her in seconds.I might be fun to sit down with her over a cup of coffee and talk about what she really believes and about the contempt she has for the intellects of her readers.

  • Campbellite

    As a left leaning Christian, I want to apologize for the Jerry Falwells and Ann Coulter’s of the world. I’m sorry.I agree with everyone who said it’s the responsibility of Christians to counter the fascist right wing nutjobs who have taken the pulpit. I am only this year returning to the church. I was also turned off by Jerry Falwell. I grew up in the Baptist church and watched the so-called Moral Majority take over in the 1980’s. I left the faith out of moral outrage. It was a mistaken tactic.Now that I’m an adult I realize that more of us need to step forward and reclaim the faith away from the extremists. I’m working on it. That’s why I’m here.I’d like to state that while the right wing biblical-literalist nutjob minority are uying Ann Coulter’s book, the moderate too-silent majority are still trying to do Christ’s work on earth – feeding the poor, healing the sick, comforting the broken hearted, etc. We’re quiet, but we’re working.

  • Adam

    Wow, did I just read what I think I read?Michael Livingston laments the acceptance of “words of hatred and intolerance” in the mainstream media, and then provides some examples.Christian Zionists?Wait a minute. Since when did support of Israel pervert biblical beliefs? Since when did solidarity with a democratic country, founded legally by a U.N. mandate, but finds itself under relentless and savage attack by murderers who declare that they want to “drink the blood of Jews”, become hatred and intolerance?Livingston decries Ann Coulter’s comments about Jews, yet his correspondence of Zionism and hatred signifies, hopefully unintentionally, an equally dark spiritual malaise which lies under the surface in corners of the NCC and finds its expression in such actions as the Presbyterian USA Church’s (a member of the NCC) divestment from Israel: a view that Jewish blood is cheap, and the murder of Jews doesn’t matter.For centuries, adherents of Christian churches have persecuted and murdered Jews, simply because they were Jews and not Christians. These actions were fueled by a theology similar to that spewed by Ann Coulter, and permitted by an attitude similar to the knee-jerk anti-Zionists in the NCC. I don’t see how either point of view is any less repulsive or anti-biblical than the other.This, by the way, is coming from an Orthodox Jew who is pro-life, pro gun control, registered Democrat, and who does not agree with the Iraq war rationale, opposes the death penalty, but supported Jeb Bush’s efforts to save Terri Schiavo’s life, in other words, out of the political box. I disagree with some of Israel’s policies and agree with others. I speak as a human being who values all life, Jewish and non-Jewish, not as a mouthpiece for the supposedly insidious “Jewish lobby” of Jimmy Carter, Mearsheimer and Walt, which itself is a resurrection of the old “Protocols of Zion” libel that came from Christianity’s dark past.

  • Adam

    Wow, did I just read what I think I read?Michael Livingston laments the acceptance of “words of hatred and intolerance” in the mainstream media, and then provides some examples.Christian Zionists?Wait a minute. Since when did support of Israel pervert biblical beliefs? Since when did solidarity with a democratic country, founded legally by a U.N. mandate, but finds itself under relentless and savage attack by murderers who declare that they want to “drink the blood of Jews”, become hatred and intolerance?Livingston decries Ann Coulter’s comments about Jews, yet his correspondence of Zionism and hatred signifies, hopefully unintentionally, an equally dark spiritual malaise which lies under the surface in corners of the NCC and finds its expression in such actions as the Presbyterian USA Church’s (a member of the NCC) divestment from Israel: a view that Jewish blood is cheap, and the murder of Jews doesn’t matter.For centuries, adherents of Christian churches have persecuted and murdered Jews, simply because they were Jews and not Christians. These actions were fueled by a theology similar to that spewed by Ann Coulter, and permitted by an attitude similar to the knee-jerk anti-Zionists in the NCC. I don’t see how either point of view is any less repulsive or anti-biblical than the other.This, by the way, is coming from an Orthodox Jew who is pro-life, pro gun control, registered Democrat, and who does not agree with the Iraq war rationale, opposes the death penalty, but supported Jeb Bush’s efforts to save Terri Schiavo’s life, in other words, out of the political box. I disagree with some of Israel’s policies and agree with others. I speak as a human being who values all life, Jewish and non-Jewish, not as a mouthpiece for the supposedly insidious “Jewish lobby” of Jimmy Carter, Mearsheimer and Walt, which itself is a resurrection of the old “Protocols of Zion” libel that came from Christianity’s dark past.

  • Mike

    If she doesn’t represent Christians views, then who is buying her books?

  • David Sites

    I see very little ‘christ’ in their version of ‘christianity’….

  • Will

    While I agree that the young people who were polled were likely influenced by the media coverage of the Christian right, I doubt that their negative responses can simply be explained away by saying that news coverage only focuses on the loudest and least tolerant. We all live with, work with, and/or are related to tolerant as well as intolerant Christians. Those experiences no doubt shape our views as much if not more so than media coverage.While it may be true that the media is drawn to points of view that cause offense or outrage, I seriously doubt that this is the only reason why these people continue to get so much coverage. The more likely reason that we hear their loud voices is that they are just that, loud. They are also proactive and highly organized, and they are on a mission, literally. The fact that they may represent a minority of Christians is irrelevant. Just look at the NRA. Their members represent a minority of Americans and yet their highly motivated and organized campaign has successfully blocked gun control legislation, even though 61% of Americans favor stricter gun control laws (according to a recent ABC poll).This internal struggle to define American Christianity is nothing new, and unless moderate Christians stand up to the Christian right, their positions will continue to be drowned out. The biggest problem that they face is that in order to oppose the intrusion into politics of absolutist, intolerant, Christian right principles, they risk the further politicizing Christianity.

  • Adrasteia

    I disagree with much in this piece. I believe extreme speech like Ms. Coulter’s has always found an audience with those who live in fear that someone “different” will get what they have. I also believe that Ms. Coulter’s word on The Big Idea reflect exactly what a majority of Christians believe. In my experience most American Christians (especially the ones too lazy to spend much time thinking about their faith) believe they are the chosen. They are special and they have an obligation to ensure the less perfect are reminded of it every day. I believe we, unfortunately, have a lot of Christians in this nation who are like the uber-Patriots. They do not look critically at what they believe and why they believe it, preferring to simply believe.

  • Christian for liberty

    Most of you have got it all wrong. Including the author. I will wager thatmost of those commenting about ‘Christofascists’ have NEVER listened to Dobson et. al. They pick up snippets of what their other leftist friends say at parties on the east coast (where I live BTW). Dobson has dedicated his life to helping families function and helping people lead happy fullfilled lives. What a fascist!The essential problem is this: you see this big push by the evangelical movement, but it is really a push BACK. We are fighting for our rights to hold to what we believe is the truth. Now, I can’t stand Coulter b/c I think she is just a provacatuer and I have trouble believing she is an evangelical Christian (though I cannot judge her heart, I can judge her actions and they look to me like one who is exploiting certain feelings for financial gain). The point is, that because of America’s classical (read libertarian) liberal roots, we have the right to believe and say what we want. The left would take that away from us. They are trying to make pastors who say that homosexuality is wrong (as the Bible clearly and unambiguously says) liable for ‘hate speech.’ The left would want to force churches to ordain women, which is also clearly forbidden by the text we believe is the inspired word of God.And the left generally calls us biggots for asserting that what we believe is true, while out of the other side of their mouths stating that it is NOT true. This is every bit as much of an absolute normative statement as ours. What is the difference? If you don’t like what we say don’t listen. But it is a serious logical fallacy to believe that you yourselves do not think that you are in fact ‘right’ and that others should believe as you do. Otherwise you would not bother to say anything. Christians are like every other single person in the world. What they want is to be able to believe what they believe without suffering for it. Bush has been in power for nearly 8 years. Do any of you suffer through compulsory religious services? Are you forced to pray? Can you no longer look at porn on the Internet? Can you not ‘hook up’ with anyone you want? Is sodomy illegal? What example can you even give of the government forcing some Christian belief on you? Oh right, that you can no longer take a child in the third trimester induce its birth and then slice open its head and suck its brains out with a vacuum. Right because the only reason we have laws against murder is because of meddlesome Christians.

  • John Carter

    Ann Coulter is a moron, perfected! The likes of her, Rush, Sean Hannity, Michael Reagan, and countless others of their ilk have done nothing more than destroy civil discourse in this country, and “Christian leaders” have been their biggest enablers. Shout media has taken over the airwaves because too many Americans are intellectually lazy and incompetent to find out anything for themselves, kind of like fundamentalist. Is it any wonder that the current administration with it’s “born again” CEO continues to lead the way towards utter chaos in the world. Christian conservatives deserve a warm place in hell for empowering this crowd. The way things are going, we’ll all be living there soon enough!

  • Michael

    It may be true that most Christians don’t hold views as harsh as Coulter and Dobson, but, unfortunately, their “ilk” have had great sway over this president and many on the right in Congress. As for Coulter herself, people read her books in droves. (Though why, I don’t know) If a “popular” author makes disgusting comments like these, of course the media is going to cover it.

  • chinquapin

    Great Article!!It’s not just youngsters. I’m 64, retired Navy, and have always cherished both my patriotic and religious (Roman Catholic) traditions. As such, I am heartbroken to see both traditions sullied and blasphemed by the extreme religious right. And, sad to say, it is not just the Coulters of the world. As Catholics, we have been deemed unworthy to take communion for not voting pro-life, even though so doing means voting for draconian policies that violate the most basic of Jesus’s teachings. So fine. I,like many others, simply don’t go to mass anymore.Nothing will change until many more Christians have the courage to speak out as Rev. Michael Livingston does in this article. Thanks go to him for actually being Christian, not just a Christian.

  • Rily

    Reverend Livingston, it is the message you give hereSince Christians and Christianity are so wonderful it can’t be their fault that people view them negatively, so it must be the media.While you may be right that most Christians are not

  • Anonymous

    By their silence ye shall know the truth.

  • I B Lieve

    Neither Mr. Livingston, Ann Coulter, President Bush, nor any other man/woman has been given authority to be the sole representive for Christianity. Only one man has ever been given that authority, and that man is Jesus Christ. The teachings of Jesus Christ can only be spoken through the words of Jesus Christ. The Bible is the ONLY word. Those who wish to discredit Christianity must first start at the source, witch is the Bible, not some human being. A man/woman is almost certainly going to apply a degree of bias when attempting to convey the message of the Bible, therefore you should only view his/her teachings as an opinion. After evaluating these opinions, go back to the Bible, and from there, the Bible clearly states that it is up to you to choose who you will serve.

  • Caesar Gott

    Coulter makes her living, a very good living, by choosing to be a provocateur: she riles people , for a living. What’s the big deal?! I avoid watching & listening to her, NOT because I might find her statements disagreeable (or, agreeable) but because I judge her as neither an authoritative information source, nor, a good entertainer. Let’s not just single out Coulter, this entire pop culture is boring, pre-digested.

  • Ken

    Thank you! When Islamic leaders don’t loudly and quickly criticize the their radicals many people say that it makes Islam parters with the likes of Osama bin Laden. I’m happy to see at least a few reasonable Christian countering the words of this unhappy woman.

  • Will Jones

    Ann Coulter’s spew, employing Replacement Theology: “Christians are perfected Jews,” and euphemistically insisting “the Jews need to be perfected,” is the perfect replication of Nazism. Read Hochhuth’s “The Deputy,” and Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.” It is only her Fifth Column candor that should surprise us when the truth of the matter is Rome got away with Nazism and the Holocaust (Goldhagen “A Moral Reckoning”). Perhaps after 60 years, and Hitler’s banker’s grandson, appointed to the White House by only the Roman Catholics on the Supreme Court having yet to be brought to justice for 9/11(“The New Pearl Harbor,” Griffin, PhD), their minions believe they can “justify” and replicate Rome’s past “activities” with impunity.This Whig believes otherwise. The Constitution specifies punishment for treason. Those merely convicted of Misprision of Treason should also be fully expropriated and simply banished.

  • Xtopher

    By their silence ye shall know the truth.

  • eed017

    There is a common thread througout the comments here — by our silence, we tacitly support the right-wing whack-jobs. One part of me thinks we need to find a way to out-shout these shrill hate-filled ranters, but the other part thinks that our churches should not waste our energies on trying to match the PR machines of the Coulters, O-Reillys, Hagees and Dobsons. We have more than enough of the Lord’s work at hand. However, it is a shame to see so many taken in by them. I truly think that their followers are the lost souls that were are enjoined to save. But, dear God, how?

  • moondog52

    Wrong assumption, it’s not the media that brought me to think Christians are judgmental, hypocritical, old fashioned and too political, its personal observations. Ann is just entertainment, like Al Franken.

  • Jane C.

    All these comments in the aggregate illustrate perfectly the subtitle of Christopher Hitchens’s book, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

  • Jane C.

    All these comments in the aggregate illustrate perfectly the subtitle of Christopher Hitchens’s book, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

  • Jane C.

    All these comments in the aggregate illustrate perfectly the subtitle of Christopher Hitchens’s book, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

  • Bill

    The comments of Ann Coulter on the show of Donny Deutsch are taken out of context by Mr. Livingston. In the midst of repeated interruptions by Mr. Deutsch, Ann was simply trying to explain the basic message of the New Testament of the Bible. That message is that if you believe in Jesus Christ as your savior, then you go to heaven; if you do not believe in Jesus Christ as your savior, then you stand condemned already. (See John 3:16-18). Here is what Paul said in the Bible: “We proclaim him [Jesus], admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” Colossians 1:28-29. So those who believe in Christ are viewed by God on judgment day as “perfect.” God forgives their sins because they believe in Jesus, and they are allowed entrance to heaven because of their belief.This is an uncomfortable message for those who do not believe in Jesus. It should be uncomfortable. But the message is nevertheless true, and we ignore it at our peril.

  • dana from winston salem nc

    I think it’s about time some one in today’s media had the integrity to say these things! I am from D.C.( born and raised), although now I am married and live in Winston Salem N.C. with my husband who is a United Methodist Pastor and Youth Minister. Everyday I feel I’m defending my faith to everyone around me who believe this woman’s propaganda. Not a day goes by that I am trying to show these kids the things Jesus actually said and that no matter what anyone says, Jesus was not a Christian, Jesus was a Jew! This article gives me a bit more hope that we do have some people out there that still know the true meaning of Christianity!

  • mm

    Ann Colter is a perpetually menopausal loud mouth fool, her and Rush Limbau should make babies together so we can all see how evolution will reverse and go back to being apes.

  • Ken Bley

    “Christian for liberty” incorrectly asserts that during its term in office, the Bush Administration has not imposed its fundamentalist religious beliefs upon others. Among other things, the Bush Administration has:1. Obstructed stem cell research, blocking advances that the vast majority of medical researches believe are within reach and could save the lives of millions of victims of Parkinsons, Alztheimers, spinal injuries, diabetes and on and on.2. Imposed “abstinence only” education on millions of students, depriving them of essential knowledge about their reproduction and sexually transmitted diseases.3. Funneled tens millions of dollars into putative “faith based charities” that then abuse the funding to proselytize, sometimes coercively.4. Imposed an Manichean “good versus evil” foreign policy that already has cost hundreds of thousands of lives.5. Through highly sectarian appointments to the Supreme Court is dismantling decades of jurisprudence separating church and state, protecting rights of privacy, and generally keeping Grand Inquisitors out of Americans’ bedrooms.”Christians for Liberty” seems to be advocating liberty for [fundamentalist] Christians – at the expense of other peoples’ liberties.

  • mm

    Ann Colter is a perpetually menopausal loud mouth fool, her and Rush Limbau should make babies together so we can all see how evolution will reverse and go back to being apes.

  • dano

    You seem to think that the views of the NCC are the Holy Grail of faith. They are NOT.There is ONE WAY to God , His name is Jesus, and you get angry if any one asks you to consider the total of His words, not just a few select phrases.Many of the tenets you express, such as Universalism, though they sound so sweet and nice are tantamount to blasphemy.Get a grip. dano

  • Jenny

    My Christian upbringing taught me that Jesus preached love, NOT war. He told us to feed the hungry and care for the sick. He told us to judge not, lest we be judged.So if you are Christian, shouldn’t you be:As just a few examples?Christianity does not seem consistent with the Republican platform to me.

  • Ken Bley

    “Christian for liberty” incorrectly asserts that during its term in office, the Bush Administration has not imposed its fundamentalist religious beliefs upon others. Among other things, the Bush Administration has:1. Obstructed stem cell research, blocking advances that the vast majority of medical researches believe are within reach and could save the lives of millions of victims of Parkinsons, Alztheimers, spinal injuries, diabetes and on and on.2. Imposed “abstinence only” education on millions of students, depriving them of essential knowledge about their reproduction and sexually transmitted diseases.3. Funneled tens millions of dollars into putative “faith based charities” that then abuse the funding to proselytize, sometimes coercively.4. Imposed an Manichean “good versus evil” foreign policy that already has cost hundreds of thousands of lives.5. Through highly sectarian appointments to the Supreme Court is dismantling decades of jurisprudence separating church and state, protecting rights of privacy, and generally keeping Grand Inquisitors out of Americans’ bedrooms.”Christians for Liberty” seems to be advocating liberty for [fundamentalist] Christians – at the expense of other peoples’ liberties.

  • Chris

    The more people *know*, the less they are going to embrace conservative religions. The internet has given everybody the freedom to learn for free, if they so desire. That’s is why Christianity, and other conservative doctrine is failing. Try though you might, you can’t fight time and evolution.

  • P E Mulholland

    As long as people continue to watch her and the shows she appears on she and her ilk will continue to contribute to polarization and disgust with “Christians” I learned long ago that when Ann Coulter’s face appears, change the channel. I also have learned to avoid those programs who have her a a regular guest.

  • E. Goldman

    The Rev. Livingston’s measured words are nice enough, but one must ask him the same question one asks Muslims who insist the radicals do not represent the majority: where’s the beef? If your membership is so overwhelmingly opposed to the radical Christian right, why don’t you speak up? Why do you remain silent, allowing those people to give the impression they speak for all Christians?

  • Jim Crozier

    Reverend Livingston:I applaud the sentiments you expressed in this essay, though I must, at the same time, make my applause to you with some caveats.You are not the only Christian I know who has said, essentially, “don’t blame all Christianity for the actions of a few nutcases.” Many good and true people that I know express the same sentiments. Indeed, my wife is the daughter of a Swedish Lutheran minister and she tells me the exact same thing.The only problem is that, while I agree with your message and applaud you for stating it so publicly and with such obvious good intentions, I’m not certain that you are correct. You claim that people such as James Dobson represent a very vocal minority, but a minority nonetheless. Yet, in 2004 President Bush, whose actions during office are not, in my opinion, consistent with a truly Christian message, was reelected largely because people who self-described themselves as religious and/or evangelical Christians voted for him in overwhelming, record setting numbers.More offensive to me personally was the tactic that was used to bring these self-described evangelical Christians to the polls in record numbers. Christians came to the polls in overwhelming numbers at least in part because of the many referendums on state ballots across the country on gay marriage. Essentially, a minority of Americans who want nothing more than to be able to express their love for one another by agreeing to spend the rest of their lives together was demonized by Christian leaders in order to get Christians to come and vote in the polls overwhelmingly for an inept, corrupt and power-hungry president.So what am I left to do when faced with, on the one hand, your obviously heartfelt words in the support of Christian tolerance, but on the other hand, the fact that the Christians that seem to be active in pushing an agenda these days are only pushing an agenda of intolerance and hate? How do I reconcile the two?Was it not Christ who said, famously, “By its fruits will you know them?” Alternatively, the more secular version, “Actions speak louder than words.” If Christians want to disavow some of the people you mention, like Ann Coulter, then they need to show this by their actions. If the Christianity of Pat Robertson is not the Christianity of the majority of America’s Christians, then let’s see more being done to oppose it rather than most of the major Christian churches in the U.S. appearing to be, more and more, nothing more than an activist arm of the Republican party.Best regards,

  • tim

    For me, Christianity translates primarily to:- hatred of gaysWhy would I want to be part of it?

  • ateve ahsayn

    i dont know what bible this guy reads but its not the one i read he reminds me of the latest madonna video. he wants to justify homosexuality he wants to emrace others at the expense of Jesus’ words “No man comes to the Father but by Me.” that sounds pretty exclusive. these liberal “christians” wrap themselves in mushy left wing platitudes that they regard a legitimate replacement for the real gospel which says many are called but few are chosen and wide is the way that leads to destruction and many there be that go that way. this guys line will bring better offerings because there is no requirements to follow his brand of christianity except to love the sin as much as you love the sinner. this is Bill Clinton type of Christianity and it hates intelligently and with supreme leftist arrogence that sees itself as embracing “all” but has lost sight of the true call to love the sinner and hate the sin. Jesus did say , Let he that is without sin cast the first stone,” but He then told the woman whose life He saved, “Go and sin no more.”

  • Jim Crozier

    Reverend Livingston:I applaud the sentiments you expressed in this essay, though I must, at the same time, make my applause to you with some caveats.You are not the only Christian I know who has said, essentially, “don’t blame all Christianity for the actions of a few nutcases.” Many good and true people that I know express the same sentiments. Indeed, my wife is the daughter of a Swedish Lutheran minister and she tells me the exact same thing.The only problem is that, while I agree with your message and applaud you for stating it so publicly and with such obvious good intentions, I’m not certain that you are correct. You claim that people such as James Dobson represent a very vocal minority, but a minority nonetheless. Yet, in 2004, President Bush, whose actions during office are not, in my opinion, consistent with a truly Christian message, was reelected largely because people who self-described themselves as religious and/or evangelical Christians voted for him in overwhelming, record setting numbers.More offensive to me personally was the tactic that was used to bring these self-described evangelical Christians to the polls. Christians came to the polls in such large numbers at least in part because of the many referendums on state ballots across the country on gay marriage. Essentially, a minority of Americans who want nothing more than to be able to express their love for one another by agreeing to spend the rest of their lives together, was demonized by Christian leaders in order to get Christians to come and vote in the polls overwhelmingly for an inept, corrupt and power-hungry president.So what am I left to do when faced with, on the one hand, your obviously heartfelt words in the worthwhile cause of Christian tolerance, but on the other hand, the fact that the Christians that seem to be active in pushing an agenda these days are only pushing an agenda of intolerance and hate? How do I reconcile the two?Was it not Christ who said, famously, “By its fruits will you know them?” Alternatively, the more secular version, “Actions speak louder than words.” If Christians want to disavow some of the people you mention, like Ann Coulter, then they need to show this by their actions. If the Christianity of Pat Robertson is not the Christianity of the majority of America’s Christians, then let’s see more being done to oppose it rather than most of the major Christian churches in the U.S. appearing to be, more and more, nothing more than an activist arm of the Republican party.Best regards,

  • Vincent

    Here we go again… blame the media. Perhaps “moderate” or apolitical Christians should do more to promote their faith and actions instead of allowing the bigots, blowhards, and hypocritical extremists to hijack their religion. If young people are turned off by Christianity, perhaps its because Christianity to many now appears to belong to the GOP, and is associated with endless unprovoked war, torture, hypocritical anti-abortion screeds, homophobia, and a total disdain for the poor in favor of tax cuts and free market forces. Don’t blame CNN, blame yourselves.

  • Kofi

    I am a Christian and I dont agree with Coulter, never have and never will. I do believe in what the Bible says though. People need to start accepting truth as truth and stop looking at it as condemnation. If somebody speaks truth its better to be offended by the truth and change that truth rather than be offended by the speaker. The truth about life is found in the Bible, read it sometimes and find out how it plays the most important role in your life. I am not against other religions, we all have the right to believe what we want to believe. The greatest value Christ taught us was love, and not just by his words, but by his final action asa flesh on this earth, when he accepted his fate of crucifixion for the remission of our sin. If that is not love, than I dont know what is. So that is the greatest lesson, giving ourselves for others so that they can see the glory of God.

  • M. Richard

    It is refreshing to see the ‘religious right’ disavow Ms. Coulter. No she does not speak for people of faith, or people of sense, or people of reason, or people who believe in our nation over their own self interests. Ms. Coulter has long made it clear that she will leave no shrill comment – regardless of how offensive – unuttered if it helps her sell books, get interviewed and persist in the spot light. The issue I would like to raise is this. If Coulter were as left as she is right, she would be dismissed as part of the lunatic, left wing fringe. We would never hear of her or her absurd comments in the main stream, so-called ‘left leaning media’. She would be relegated to the furthest periphery. Unfortunately she is considered by far too many to be smack dab in the middle of the current right wing mentality, a place inhabited by the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage and so many others who either care not about the truth or who are truly detatched from reality. Coulter is carnival hawker, nothing more. She is a spokesperson of neither those of religion nor any other reasonable and responsible segment of today’s society. She should be ignored.

  • M. Richard

    It is refreshing to see the ‘religious right’ disavow Ms. Coulter. No she does not speak for people of faith, or people of sense, or people of reason, or people who believe in our nation over their own self interests. Ms. Coulter has long made it clear that she will leave no shrill comment – regardless of how offensive – unuttered if it helps her sell books, get interviewed and persist in the spot light. The issue I would like to raise is this. If Coulter were as left as she is right, she would be dismissed as part of the lunatic, left wing fringe. We would never hear of her or her absurd comments in the main stream, so-called ‘left leaning media’. She would be relegated to the furthest periphery. Unfortunately she is considered by far too many to be smack dab in the middle of the current right wing mentality, a place inhabited by the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage and so many others who either care not about the truth or who are truly detatched from reality. Coulter is carnival hawker, nothing more. She is a spokesperson of neither those of religion nor any other reasonable and responsible segment of today’s society. She should be ignored.

  • M. Richard

    It is refreshing to see the ‘religious right’ disavow Ms. Coulter. No she does not speak for people of faith, or people of sense, or people of reason, or people who believe in our nation over their own self interests. Ms. Coulter has long made it clear that she will leave no shrill comment – regardless of how offensive – unuttered if it helps her sell books, get interviewed and persist in the spot light. The issue I would like to raise is this. If Coulter were as left as she is right, she would be dismissed as part of the lunatic, left wing fringe. We would never hear of her or her absurd comments in the main stream, so-called ‘left leaning media’. She would be relegated to the furthest periphery. Unfortunately she is considered by far too many to be smack dab in the middle of the current right wing mentality, a place inhabited by the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage and so many others who either care not about the truth or who are truly detatched from reality. Coulter is carnival hawker, nothing more. She is a spokesperson of neither those of religion nor any other reasonable and responsible segment of today’s society. She should be ignored.

  • Alex

    fr Orthodoxy:>…Again, I’m no Coulter fan, but she didn’t say anything offensive…I find coulter to be EXTREMELY offensive. She needs a lesson in preschool manners, a nap, and a bottle of milk.

  • Alex

    fr Orthodoxy:>…Again, I’m no Coulter fan, but she didn’t say anything offensive…I find coulter to be EXTREMELY offensive. She needs a lesson in preschool manners, a nap, and a bottle of milk.

  • Scott L.

    The writer might as well be a Muslim who is too much of a wimp to stand up and speak out against those who have highjacked their religion. Sound familiar? Instead, he attempts to blame the media. Shame on those on buy into this lame allegation.What ever happened to the credo “live and let live?” Why can’t Christians live their life their own way, according to their own beliefs, and quit trying to shove their way of life and morals down everyone else’s throat? This is why young people see them as they do.You don’t believe in abortion? Great, more power to you. But do not attempt to take that right away from the vast majority whom won’t relinquish the right. It really is that simple.

  • Bill174

    You people who truly believe that those who do not believe in Christ are condemned, are truly scary. Who the hell do you think you are? You are 100% sure of your position because your parents believed it. That’s insane.

  • Lawrence

    OH!! Now that most decent Americans are turning against the far right we get these little

  • Becky

    The mere fact that we use ‘far left’, ‘far right’, ‘moderate’, ‘center right’, ‘extremist’, …, to describe Christians tells a great deal about the current state of Christianity in America. It has become another political party and that’s pretty much the way Christians want – they claim it to be their country. Ann Coulter, as well as all the other activists, are their most effective admen. The only problem this time is that Ann has stated ‘in full view of millions of viewers’ something that Christians have been saying all along. The Jewish people, who have been benefiting from the Christians’ belief in the form of America’s support of Israel, has no choice but to respond ‘ferociously’. It’s all a show.

  • Kofi

    I am a Christian and I dont agree with Coulter, never have and never will. I do believe in what the Bible says though. People need to start accepting truth as truth and stop looking at it as condemnation. If somebody speaks truth its better to be offended by the truth and change that truth rather than be offended by the speaker. The truth about life is found in the Bible, read it sometimes and find out how it plays the most important role in your life. I am not against other religions, we all have the right to believe what we want to believe. The greatest value Christ taught us was love, and not just by his words, but by his final action man on this earth, when he accepted his fate of crucifixion for the remission of our sins. Thats correct, sins can be forgiven by God. Nobody is saying you have to go to hell because there is a way out. But as Jesus said, he is the ONLY way to the Father. So the choice is yours. So that is the greatest lesson, giving ourselves for others so that they can see the glory of God.

  • Bryan

    Apparently few of you actually read what Coulter said most recently. None of it was offensive. And if you find it so, then you bought into the media characterization.

  • reza

    “do not attempt to take that right away from the vast majority whom won’t relinquish the right”Scott- You support honour killings too. Its really only an “older” abortion.. Its our right too.

  • lorenzo sonobuono

    Ms Coulter is a sad, pitiful individual, and she is also a symbol of the moral decay that hides itself under the banner of patriotism and God. Her only goals in life are to fill her pockets, just like the personalities whos shows she appears on. She has no consideration of what is morally right or wrong because she has sold her soul. She is an individual whose appearance is that of a wraith, a literary figure of a moaning spirit with no substance. Let her wallow in her dollars, who cares. Her audience is at best, narrow-minded fools who shill what their false idols tell them. Can anyone imagine being influenced by Coulter or Limbaugh? What kind of inividual is that? Certainly not Christian. She must be akin to Lucifer. The commandment of the Lord is He shall not have false idols put before Him, and Coulter is one of the many false idols that have worked to take the spotlight from the Lord and His message of helping the least, and shining it onto themselves. Again, history, even biblical, repeats itself.

  • Namanee

    Becky above: (11:22a) I believe strongly that you are correct.

  • Namanee

    Becky above: (11:22a) I believe strongly that you are correct.

  • michael

    Just as it’s important for moderate Muslims to respond to the “deformed teachings” of radical Islam, so it is with moderate Christians. Just as the silence of moderate Muslims suggests sympathy with extremists, so your silence is read as covert approval.

  • bill174

    Some of you people ask us to take as a given premise that the Bible is truth, and the word of God. What could possible explain your certitude? Such sloppy, lazy thinking. I know it’s comforting to “believe” – so many issues just go away. And you’re welcome to it. but how dare you impose your fantasies and rationalizations on others? And with such sanctimony. Mind-boggling.

  • Robert

    Organized religion truly shames god. You have a lefty Christian, Mr. Livingston, trying to disavow the actions and words of the Robertsons, Dobsons, and Coulters. To Livingston, these people are not true christians.But you can’t really pull that off because they are true christians. They are true christians just as how Ahmadinejad and bin-Laden are true muslims and just as how zionists believe that that small piece of land was an endowment from god (never mind that they were born and raised in Brooklyn, Moscow or even Miluawkee as Golda Mair was). All of these fanatics truly believe with all their heart that they are doing god’s work on this earth.God truly help us from these savages of all faiths.

  • Josey23

    Ha-ha. I guess it never occurred to me to think that Anne Coulter was a Christian. Is there any evidence that she is? Is there an official arbiter who decides these things?

  • Hank

    Ann Coulter is a stone in the shoe of america as are all of her ilk. One day she may die in a car crash or plane wreck, and the majority of americans will breath a quiet sigh of relief, just like when we take a stone out of our shoe.

  • Hank

    Ann Coulter is a stone in the shoe of america as are all of her ilk. One day she may die in a car crash or plane wreck, and the majority of americans will breath a quiet sigh of relief, just like when we take a stone out of our shoe.

  • J Rhinehart

    BRAVO!! BRAVO!! BRAVO!! Finally, someone religious who doesn’t spout dogma that’s hateful and self-righteous. Jesus did not tell people to be arrogant and exclude everyone who is not in agreement with them. I read a portion of a book recently in which the author said he believes the movement to focus America’s political attention on gay marriage & abortion has an ulterior motive: an attempt by a political group to divert people’s attention away from economic issues by riling up people’s fears & telling them they’re feeling righteous indignation. He makes a good argument. If he’s right, their motive was to pass tax cuts for the rich. I hate to think we’re so gullible as to fall for that, but we have allowed politicians to vote in measures that work against the economic well-being of average Americans. All the talk recently has been about abortion, or gay rights, & issues like the cost of living & a living wage are being ignored. You’re right, the issues that really need attention are not the ones Ann Coulter & her ilk are talking about. We shouldn’t let her kind of publicity-seeking vitrol matter at all.

  • Anonymous

    “Most Christians believe in an authentic, inclusive and welcoming gospel in the thousands of communities where they worship.The unfortunate fact is that Christianity (and most other religions) are exclusive by their very nature. Even most liberal Christian denominations adhere to the basic tenet that you must accept Jesus Christ as your saviour in order to be “saved”. Otherwise, what is the point of calling oneself a Christian in the first place? In other words, either there is one path to salvation, or there are many. If there is one path, then any religion claiming to be that path is by nature exclusive. If there are many, then all religions are inconsequential, and only earthly deeds have any real significance.Make your choice. Ann Coulter has.Wish the Cuttlefish

  • bill174

    “Even most liberal Christian denominations adhere to the basic tenet that you must accept Jesus Christ as your saviour in order to be “saved”. Otherwise, what is the point of calling oneself a Christian in the first place?”Precisely.

  • steven murphy

    Mr. Livingston, I hope I am not standing next to you during a LIGHTNING storm!!

  • steven murphy

    Mr. Livingston, I hope I am not standing next to you during a LIGHTNING storm!!

  • Scott L

    Reza – you are a prime example, plugging in you view into what you claim I support. Just like Dobson and Coulter. Re-read my comments, Live and let live. Continue your way of life, because no one really cares. You have that right and I’ll do what I can to make sure you never lose it. But the arrogance in your words is what young (and may I add, old) people see, read, and strongly have no connection with. Get it?

  • tiredofit

    Happy to know that there are some Christians that actually read and follow the Bible. No where in the Bible did I see where it was all right to be judgmental, actually just the opposite. People like Ann Coulter, who professes to be a Christian, are giving Christianity a BLACK EYE and should be stopped. Just goes to show you though, that given enough press/media time nasty people can get attention. Not to worry though because come judgment day, she will be judged as she has judged others. YIPEE!!

  • Dean Kagawa

    Michael – thank you for an enlightening and “common-sense” post. This is EXACTLY what I and my friends have been saying since W was elected. Most of my friends call themselves “moderate Republicans” or “right wing Democrats” or “libertarians”. I think what we all mean is we are what you state in your post and we are all disgusted with ANY religious extremism. So the solution? Just ignore the extremists and do what you can do in your daily life to make your life and the lives of the people you touch a little better.Thanks

  • DFC

    Ann Coulter ought to be an embarrassment to the people who hear her, but they either embrace her loudly or tolerate her silently. Her message isn’t really about Christianity or politics. It’s simply about the joy many people take in hating someone else, bigotry as its own end, cloaked in self-righteousness. That’s what sells. How is it that so many self-proclaimed “Christians” find this acceptable? They’re watching their most treasured and challenging beliefs get blended with poison. And they make her a best-selling media darling for it.

  • PGK

    From what I hear from my fellow parishioners every Sunday and from what I hear from Cardinals, Bishops, and a lot of priests come election time, the views of the rank and file Catholic Church are quite in line with the Far Right. To my dismay I would add.The old main stream Protestant Churches are dying and the culture is being driven by southern Evangelicals. Rev Livingstone seems to have as much clout as the minority of Moslem’s who denounce the hijacking of Islam by a small group of thugs. They have remained silent in the face of brutal injustice and criminality for so long they have thus become tacit abettors of the crimes carried out in their names.

  • Al

    I grew up in a Catholic third world country. Even though back then I was already an agnostic, ‘Christian’ meant compassion for the poor, defending the weak and calling out the powerful and abusive. Having lived in the U.S. twenty years, I have learned to associate ‘Christian’ with intolerance, racism, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, war-mongering and scorn towards the poor and powerless simply for being poor and powerless. Maybe most Christians are not like that but the most vocal ones, those who most noisily proclaim ‘I am a Christian’, certainly are. Christians have given Christianity a bad name.

  • artmann11

    Ann Coulter is the perfect representative of American Republican evangelicals. She is revenge oriented, full of hatred and bile, militant, hostile, VICIOUS, greedy and a war mongering torture lover. I’m glad that she is out there to show exactly what the religion has become since joining with the Republican party. I was an evangelical in the early 80s and the movement was nothing like it is today.

  • fcsanders

    The National Council of Churches is known by its apostasy.You have hyped and spun christianity from its core and your organization in reality is not true christianity based on its 2000yr history.

  • reza

    “Live and let live”Thank you Scott. I agree with you. Why should you pass judgment on how my people choose to live?

  • E

    Goldie says “Christians dont strap bombs to their backs and go into market and blow up everybody in the market. That honor is reserved for Muslims. How can muslims criticize anything? LOL”Let me see: “Christians” of the W variety use much more sophisticated technology, and much bigger armies, to blow up those they deem evil, and so are superior? God bless you, as soon as he’s done making your wallet as empty as your head.

  • Dean

    It is an undeniable fact that Jesus was perhaps the most liberal person to have ever lived. Fundamentalists who use the name of Christ to support the sins of racism, homophobia, and misogyny are NOT Christians and are committing blasphemy against Him. Thanks for the article; true Christians need to rise up against the fundamentalists who are pushing people away from Christianity and hurting millions of people. The Bible says ‘There is neither male nor female; there is neither slave nor free. There is no Jew and no Greek to God, we are all one.’ To God, Americans and Iraqis are equal and men and women (and obviously same-sex and different-sex marriage) are the same. These right-wing ‘Christians’ judge other people (even saying that other people are going to hell), which is condemned by God.

  • DrBear

    This writer has hit upon the thing that keeps me an agnostic. I cannot help but believe that God, if there is one, would be smart enough to keep the fools who claim to represent him, or who do so in a hateful manner – Coulter, Ann Phelps, Islamic and Jewish terrorists, greedy televangelists, Catholic and Protestant terrorists in Northern Ireland, those of the Inquisition, King Arthur and the crusaders – from being able to do what they have done. If I were running anything and had such people claiming to represent me, I would have taken care of that long ago. Religion has caused more death, hatred and war than anything else in history. How can it be supported?

  • Alex

    Maybe, these so-called moderate Christians should do a better job of denouncing the winger nuts, and therefore do a better job of rejecting the wingers’ Christianity v. the Godless Liberals meme. Most of these Christian persecutors actually believe that they are the ones being persecuted because they can’t push their beliefs on everyone else.If these so-called moderates would do a better job of fighting these wingers, I would have more respect for Christianity as a whole. As long as you allow the Christian nuts to speak for you, I have no respect for you.

  • syzito

    Most christians[in name only]are not true christians based on its necessary core and its 2000yr history by your definition.I love you left wing liberals that re-define scripture using spin and hype to fit your world view with no regard for the truth.

  • frank burns

    One more religioius person just enabling the religious far right. Once you accept those old books as sacred pronouncements of the Almighty, anything goes.

  • Anonymous

    “More than half of our member communions do not ordain women” this pretty much says it all–your group is extreme right.

  • Mike Lakewood

    Reverend,I don’t disagree with your view of Christianity. But I do disagree with making media the cause. Jerry Falwell certainly didn’t need the media’s help in spreading his brand of vitriol — unless your including the PTL Network as media. The media didn’t create Ted Haggard or Mark Foley or Tom DeLay. There are far too many so-called Christains actively spreading a doctrine of bigotry and intolerance, even if they are still in the minority and this is not the media’s fault. Need I recall, even within the last year or so, that the Pope declared that homosexual men should not be allowed to become priests — in response to all the child molestation issues with the Catholic church. Apparently without any regard for the fact that the overwhelming majority of men who molest young boys are heterosexual? American Christian leaders need not look far for the cause of the coming crisis Christianity will face in America — the mirror should suffice.

  • iB

    “Most American Christians struggle each week to apply Biblical truths in their daily lives. They seek to follow the words and actions of Jesus reminding his followers about taking care of the widow and the orphan, the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked and visiting the prisoner.”I’d like to believe that too, but that isn’t how they vote: *They vote for tax cuts (for themselves) and smaller government, both of which mean that the government is less able to help the needy. *They seem to believe that “the needy” would be more appropriately called “the lazy”*There is no sign whatsoever that “Do unto others as they would do unto you” and “The meek shall inherit the earth” mean anything to modern Christians, much less provide them with a sense of moral guidance.*Most importantly, modern Christian’s focus is on the afterlife, not this one. If half of them invested as much time and resources to actively improving the world around them as they do in protesting abortion clinics/fundraising for the Republicans/blasting anti-war or anti-Bush critics/promoting Christianity, the world would be a tangibly better place. Leaders would not be afraid to follow their hearts and do the “right” thing. No one would vote for torture of any kind based on the teachings of the Bible. If they would spend more time tending to the earth and their fellow man, they would not have the obvious PR problem they have now, which is what they believe it to be. They see it as a crisis of perception, not a spiritual crisis, which is what it really is.In that same vein, imagine if just 1000 modern Christians truly endeavored to live like Jesus–his walk, his talk, poverty, “love,” the whole bit…The saddest part is that I consider myself to be one of the best Christians I know, based on my efforts to follow the teachings of the Bible. And I’m an athiest.

  • Campbellite

    Nope, that’s a Fundamentalist tenet, not broad band Christian. To be a Christian means to be Christ-like, to do the work of Jesus. Our own bible tells us what Jesus wants us to do: For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me. … whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.If you read the gospels and see what they actually say, as opposed to what the whackjobs *say* they say, there’s a world of difference. there are many quiet Christians who are trying to do the above, so please don’t judge us all by what Rush Limbaugh says and does. “Even most liberal Christian denominations adhere to the basic tenet that you must accept Jesus Christ as your saviour in order to be “saved”. Otherwise, what is the point of calling oneself a Christian in the first place?”

  • Robert Dickerson

    Thank you, Reverend Livingston,

  • Jim Carlson

    As a non-believer I guess I don’t have a dog in this fight. However, I do appreciate that moderate voices in the Christian community are starting to speak out a bit more now in condemnation of extremism. I continue to hope for a similar response one day from my Muslim brothers and sisters.Peace.

  • Bill W.

    Let me preface my remarks by saying that I am not a Christian, but doesn’t the New Testament say that those who don’t accept Jesus Christ as the son of God are going to hell? In a nutshell?You can dance around it all you want, but a strict interpretation of the New Testament MUST bring you to the conclusion that Jews (and Muslims for that matter) are going to hell because they don’t accept Jesus as the son of God.It that’s simple. And that’s, it effect, what Ann Coulter was saying. Don’t get me wrong–I think she’s a vile, toxin-spewing, conservative bomb-thrower. But I think her arguement is consistent with fundamentalist Christian dogma.

  • Joseph Hanania

    Michael Livingston hits on a good point, that Ms. Coulter and her likes are an extremist element, rather than representative of Christianity. My only question is when – and why – did the media decide to roll over and become a platform to broadcast such obnoxious views? Perhaps in the short term, they get a bump in the ratings – but over the long term, they destroy their own credibility by allowing such extremists such pervasive platforms. There is a huge difference between free speech – which I fully support and which would allow Ms. Coulter to stand on a soapbox and spew her venom – and promoting (by giving air time to) hate speech, political division, and so forth. I truly wonder what it would take to turn downMs. Coulter’s media microphone. Would she have to say, for example, that she supports nuclear bombing Iran? Nuclear bombing New York? At what point does she pass beyond the realm of common sense and constructive dialogue, into the role of destructive demagoguery? And I say this as a reporter and frequent contributor to the NY Times and the LA Times. She defames Americans – and journalism.

  • Joseph Hanania

    Michael Livingston hits on a good point, that Ms. Coulter and her likes are an extremist element, rather than representative of Christianity. My only question is when – and why – did the media decide to roll over and become a platform to broadcast such obnoxious views? Perhaps in the short term, they get a bump in the ratings – but over the long term, they destroy their own credibility by allowing such extremists such pervasive platforms. There is a huge difference between free speech – which I fully support and which would allow Ms. Coulter to stand on a soapbox and spew her venom – and promoting (by giving air time to) hate speech, political division, and so forth. I truly wonder what it would take to turn downMs. Coulter’s media microphone. Would she have to say, for example, that she supports nuclear bombing Iran? Nuclear bombing New York? At what point does she pass beyond the realm of common sense and constructive dialogue, into the role of destructive demagoguery? And I say this as a reporter and frequent contributor to the NY Times and the LA Times. She defames Americans – and journalism.

  • KEastman

    Why aren’t all of these moderate Christians making their voices (and their votes) heard?Why aren’t they taking a stand against those that have more or less hijacked their faith for political gain?If millions of Christians believe that their religion can coexist with progressive concepts like tolerance and environmentalism, why are we still a country in retrograde?

  • Joseph Hanania

    Michael Livingston hits on a good point, that Ms. Coulter and her likes are an extremist element, rather than representative of Christianity. My only question is when – and why – did the media decide to roll over and become a platform to broadcast such obnoxious views? Perhaps in the short term, they get a bump in the ratings – but over the long term, they destroy their own credibility by allowing such extremists such pervasive platforms. There is a huge difference between free speech – which I fully support and which would allow Ms. Coulter to stand on a soapbox and spew her venom – and promoting (by giving air time to) hate speech, political division, and so forth. I truly wonder what it would take to turn downMs. Coulter’s media microphone. Would she have to say, for example, that she supports nuclear bombing Iran? Nuclear bombing New York? At what point does she pass beyond the realm of common sense and constructive dialogue, into the role of destructive demagoguery? And I say this as a reporter and frequent contributor to the NY Times and the LA Times. She defames Americans – and journalism.

  • Rationalist

    Such opinion pole conducted by Mr.Barna and others heavily skewed to ward negative results in distorted Normal curve pattern of data distribution, i like to call it distorted Gaussian distribution curve.

  • Unrepentant Liberal

    If Jesus came back today none of the “Christian Leadership” types

  • Bultman was right

    To Goldie, who seems to think Muslims are the only ones who have committed atrocities in the name of religion.Ever heard of the Crusades? Armies of Christians were organized for the express purpose of slaughtering the non-believers in the “Holy Land.”Ever heard of the Inquisition? The Church tortured and executed the heretics, sometimes by burning them alive.Your self-righteous indignation is refuted by history. And if you think that things are different now, just remember how the “Christian” Timothy McVeigh expressed himself in Oklahoma City. The log in your eye has clouded your vision.

  • BeckyC

    As a Reform Jew, I find Ms Coulter’s comments a lively mode of political entertainment, and Ms Coulter herself is a reliably entertaining public personality and affected provocateur. Those who take her comments seriously, pro- or con-, need to step back and ask themselves why. (Her assertion of Christians as “perfected Jews,” by the way, is shared by plenty of Christians in the USA, though most probably don’t quite realize how vitriolic and polemical these so-called Christian beliefs are at their core.)

  • AC

    Amen!

  • Dave Watkins

    The silence of the “silent majority” of Christians in America, a kind of profound “who me?” silence while the Coulters, Dobsons, et al, attempt to create “Christo-Fascism” in the US while railing against “Islamo-fascism” out “there” is akin to the silence of the Islamic center in the face of extremist violence.When these “Christians” are apologists for murderers and bombers at reproductive health clinics, when they endorse gay-bashing, the death penalty for teenagers, Bush/Cheney preemptive wars of aggression on the basis of ethnic and religious hatreds, and the vast majority of Christians stand silent, or vote against same sex marriage instead of against McCarthyism and aggressive war, what do you expect the perception of Christianity to be?These “moderate” Christians let themselves be suckered into voting for Bush/Cheney on so-called “social issues”, believing they were voting a “Christian conscience”, and look where they have brought us. Coulter doesn’t worry me nearly as much as these “well-meaning” Christians voting on socio-religious issues, rather than political issues, and not even knowing the difference.

  • Carp; J Rees

    All of us need to be open minded and listen to another’s view but Ann Coulter is not fair in her comments and very narrow minded.

  • Carp; J Rees

    All of us need to be open minded and listen to another’s view but Ann Coulter is not fair in her comments and very narrow minded.

  • Carp; J Rees

    All of us need to be open minded and listen to another’s view but Ann Coulter is not fair in her comments and very narrow minded.

  • Carp; J Rees

    All of us need to be open minded and listen to another’s view but Ann Coulter is not fair in her comments and very narrow minded.

  • Chris Fox

    Too many of those moderate Christians have circled the wagons around Robertson and Dobson and Bauer. Sorry, but when people who should know better call Pat Robertson a “man of God” then they’re endorsing his extremism.As for Anne Coulter, we on the left just love her, our foremost recruiter.

  • Campbellite

    Bill W, Coulter *is* consistent with Fundamentalist Christian teachings. Fundamentalist Christian teachings are NOT consistent with the Bible as it was written 1700+ years ago, by whom and to whom it was written, in the culture it was written. Fundamentalists are largely incorrect. They’ve got the emPHAsis on the wrong sylAble.

  • Carol J Rees

    All of us need to be open minded and listen to another’s view but Ann Coulter is not fair in her comments and very narrow minded.

  • Carol J Rees

    All of us need to be open minded and listen to another’s view but Ann Coulter is not fair in her comments and very narrow minded.

  • Carol J Rees

    All of us need to be open minded and listen to another’s view but Ann Coulter is not fair in her comments and very narrow minded.

  • Carol J Rees

    All of us need to be open minded and listen to another’s view but Ann Coulter is not fair in her comments and very narrow minded.

  • SM

    I know this may be off the topic to some but I think its completely relevant. Apparently, all of the Christians on this post feel that Ann Coulter does not speak for all Christians and she is a bad representative of Christianity. None of you want to share her opinions and claim that the vast majority of Christians do not share her views.IF this is true – why do the vast majority of you participate in pointing fingers at other religions? Why do you take some horrible representatives of Islam and condemn the entire religion and its people? How on earth does it make sense to look at the majority of Muslims as terrorists and Islam as violent when some thick-headed morons have hijacked our religion as well? At this point, Christians might feel like victims of Ann Coulter and her views. Most of the Muslims out there feel the same way. We feel victimized by some baffoons who decided to stamp Jihad on some bombs and tried to disgrace Islam and Muslims.Not a single person has mentioned another religion on this post and I read the entire thread. I just cant help but point out that most Muslims feel the same way.

  • Anonymous

    Right on, Brother!

  • brendan

    Too bad buddy. Evangleical christianity lashed itself to Captain Ahab, I mean the GOP, YEARS ago. Many of your coreligionists have been at the forefront of imposing conservative ideology on the rest of us. Yes, it is too bad that the leading voice of the conservative establishment, Ann Coulter, has revealed herself to be screaming lunatic. But it is your own fault for tying your religions financial and political fortunes to a political faction that has never shown any restraint when it comes to hateful rhetoric.You made your bed, and now you can lie in it. It’s no wonder that the flock is shrinking: fair minded people of all faiths are learning that right-wing christianity is a piss-poor reflection of the real thing.

  • Christopher Pelkey

    Well stated!

  • rbyrone

    So according to Livingston, Ann Coulter and her bestial ilk are turning young people off to Christianity… But this is a good thing, right? Instead of ‘enjoining’ (a word that has popped up an eerie number of times in these posts) Livingston and his NCC crowd to take back Christianity – whatever that means, the rest of us should be cheering the Anns and other crazies on. Maybe they’re just the mutated, viral infection that can kill the body Christian in America. The 2 things that scared me the most about Livingston’s article, were his hope that a reinvigoration of the Christian moderates could become the face of America as presented to the world, (NO DAMN THANKS!!!) and that stifling the influence of Ann and cronies could pave the way back to Christianity for the young. Again, ugh.Stable, responsible social institutions (I didn’t say socialist, right field goofballs) which promote fair access to opportunity and equity, along with a sincere and institutionalized committment to human rights is how to regain America’s reputation in the world. Oooh, and maybe if we stopped propping up dictators and enacting foreign policy conceived in corporate boardrooms and incubated in Cheney’s asscrack.I’m just sayin.

  • Anonymous

    Right on, Brother!

  • Sancho1

    “Most American Christians struggle each week to apply Biblical truths in their daily lives. They seek to follow the words and actions of Jesus reminding his followers about taking care of the widow and the orphan, the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked and visiting the prisoner”

  • Rich

    Well, reverend, in case you hadn’t followed all the connections, the religious right has been hooked up with a powerful media propaganda machine owned by Republicans (think Clearchannel, Fox, and even CNN) who are ruthlessly committed to using the right-wing Christian world view as a tool for stroking the prejudices of the rural electorate. It’s worked swimmingly for over a generation, and the fruit of it is that young people brought up in this era now only know Christainity as the vengeful, hateful thing that the conservatives wanted everyone to believe was the mainstream Christian view.So now that you Christian liberals (I wouldn’t normally have to append that “liberal” qualifier, because the Gospels are inherently, radically “liberal”, which is the normal ideology of Christian belief) are finally waking up to how the right wing has hijacked your religion, are you prepared to fight them? Are you prepared to publicly call them out on their heresies and lies, even if that’s not the Christian style? Are you prepared to sully yourselves in order to take back Christ from the fascists? You’ll have to break a few eggs to make an omelette, you know…

  • Pegleg

    OK, I’ll bite….So you shut them up. I’m not a Christian and I sure don’t have any power to police your flock but I am sick of the absolutely negative controlling aspects of the religious right. I’ve always felt that there were two Christianities…The carrot group and the stick group. Well…sad to say…The stick group is in charge.

  • Dean

    For those who say that true Christians (i.e. mainline, moderate, and liberal Christians) have done nothing to fight the fundamentalists/religious rights/false Christians, please remember that every mainline Christian denomination has spoken out against the Iraq war and the shifting of taxpayer dollars to war profiteers. A recent example comes from the United Church of Christ (descended from the Puritans and the second oldest Christian denomination in this nation). “UCC’s anti-war petitions received by Congress, next stop is White House Written by Rev. J. Bennett GuessWith boxes piled high, two United Church of Christ officers presented the Pastoral Letter on the Iraq War and more than 60,000 signed petitions by Christians to both Democratic and Republican leadership offices of Congress on Wednesday (Oct. 10) morning.”We have seen a groundswell from our churches who wanted to be a part, who wanted to have their voices heard. … We are very concerned about the continuing escalation of the war and violence,” said the Rev. Linda Jaramillo, executive minister for the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries, speaking to Brendan Daly, communication director for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), and to Kriston McIntosh, faith liaison for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who received the boxes of petitions on the grounds just outside the U.S. Capitol at 10 a.m. (ET).McIntosh said the UCC’s effort “speaks volumes” and represents a significant, grassroots effort in opposition to the war.”You’ve made your voices heard at the highest levels,” said McIntosh, who personally carried away the heavy box of petitions at the close of the meeting. Daly also received copies of the petition signatures for Pelosi’s office.The Rev. John H Thomas, the UCC’s general minister and president, said the UCC’s homegrown action came accompanied with the hope that other churches would “find their own way to demonstrate passion and urgency” about ending the war in Iraq.In a meeting that followed with David Schnittger, deputy chief of staff for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Cincinnati), Thomas assured Schnittger that the prayers of the church were for all elected officials.”We know that everyone yearns for peace and justice, perhaps through difference paths,” Thomas said.Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said no one from his staff was available to receive the petitions, but United Church of Christ staff plan to deliver the overstuffed box to his office on Friday, along with a cover letter signed by Thomas and Jaramillo.During the morning meetings, Thomas and Jaramillo were accompanied by the Rev. William Sinkford, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, which gathered more than 13,000 signatures for their petition.”What we in the religious community know is that this war has taken a huge toll on the American spirit,” Sinkford said.At 12:30 p.m (ET), Thomas and Jaramillo were planning to bring the petitions to the White House, where they have said they will risk arrest if someone from the public liaison office doesn’t come to receive them.As of 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday (Oct. 9), the count stood at 60,082, thanks to more than 18,000 signatures that came in during the campaign’s final 48 hours.The UCC’s Pastoral Letter on the Iraq War – which calls for an immediate, deliberate and significant withdrawal of troops from Iraq – was first presented by the denomination’s five-member Collegium of Officers at the UCC’s biennial General Synod in June, attended by nearly 10,000 in Hartford. The 700-word statement was co-signed by all of the UCC’s Conference Ministers and Seminary Presidents.”

  • Rich

    Well, reverend, in case you hadn’t followed all the connections, the religious right has been hooked up with a powerful media propaganda machine owned by Republicans (think Clearchannel, Fox, and even CNN) who are ruthlessly committed to using the right-wing Christian world view as a tool for stroking the prejudices of the rural electorate. It’s worked swimmingly for over a generation, and the fruit of it is that young people brought up in this era now only know Christainity as the vengeful, hateful thing that the conservatives wanted everyone to believe was the mainstream Christian view.So now that you Christian liberals (I wouldn’t normally have to append that “liberal” qualifier, because the Gospels are inherently, radically “liberal”, which is the normal ideology of Christian belief) are finally waking up to how the right wing has hijacked your religion, are you prepared to fight them? Are you prepared to publicly call them out on their heresies and lies, even if that’s not the Christian style? Are you prepared to sully yourselves in order to take back Christ from the fascists? You’ll have to break a few eggs to make an omelette, you know…

  • frank burns

    Most Christians talk like this — but when it comes down to it, they all have that little chip embedded inside their brains, and they will run roughshod over anyone who they are convinced stands in the way of achieving their own ideal of a “Godly” and “good” society. They go into robot mode. For example, an atheist school teacher or mayor? No WAY!

  • emonty

    Out of idle, albeit morbid, curiosity, does anyone actually READ what Jacob posts?

  • E favorite

    Cambellite: “I’d like to state that while the right wing biblical-literalist nutjob minority are buying Ann Coulter’s book, the moderate too-silent majority are still trying to do Christ’s work on earth – feeding the poor, healing the sick, comforting the broken hearted, etc. We’re quiet, but we’re working.”That’s very commendable, I really mean that. Meanwhile, doe your moderate version of Christianity still involve Christ being a scapegoat for the supposed sins of people not yet born when he died (albeit briefly) for us? Do people who do not accept Christ’s offer of salvation if only we believe in him, still suffer in hell for eternity according to moderate Christianity? If so, I still have major problems with it. True, it’s practice on earth is much more benign, but the core beliefs are still quite harsh and frankly, unbelievable. I know you mean well (from our conversations on another thread) and I think it’s important for Christians who want to separate themselves from the fundamentalists to face having some very important core beliefs in common.

  • Campbellite

    We DON’T. Coulter DOES. “IF this is true – why do the vast majority of you participate in pointing fingers at other religions? “

  • Stewart

    I agree with much of what you write here. I think that the majority of us Christians in America and in the world live a simple mission to do right by ourselves, our neighbors, and our world. This includes a focus on helping the unfortunate, fighting against discrimination, doing all we can to save the environment, etc., etc. BTW, My family are active members in a 1st Christian, Disciples of Christ church.However, while the media largely covers the stories of the day (often actions and statements of crazies like Coulter), I believe much of our youth’s misunderstanding of what is to be a Christian (as you explained above) is due to Republican’s like George W. Bush and Karl Rove (his messenger). They have made the radical Christian right the cornerstone of many of their campaigns, positions, etc. At the same time they castigate those of us who don’t have the same extreme views. And unfortunately, the press covers just about everything our President does and says.

  • Bill

    Mr. Livingston, I do not disagree that many U.S. Christians do not share her vile view of the world, but unfortunately you’re not a large enough number to invalidate her. Ann Coulter has sold many, many books spewing her hatred of the left and anyone who disagrees with her. In her mind, there is no discourse. It is her opinion that matters solely to her, and if you don’t agree, then you will be castigated for it.I fault the mainstream media for giving her the publicity she craves, becasue as much as she is a twisted carnival act, her message resonates with more Americans than I care to stomach.

  • SM

    I know this may be off the topic to some but I think its completely relevant. Apparently, all of the Christians on this post feel that Ann Coulter does not speak for all Christians and she is a bad representative of Christianity. None of you want to share her opinions and claim that the vast majority of Christians do not share her views.IF this is true – why do the vast majority of you participate in pointing fingers at other religions? Why do you take some horrible representatives of Islam and condemn the entire religion and its people? How on earth does it make sense to look at the majority of Muslims as terrorists and Islam as violent when some thick-headed morons have hijacked our religion as well? At this point, Christians might feel like victims of Ann Coulter and her views. Most of the Muslims out there feel the same way. We feel victimized by some baffoons who decided to stamp Jihad on some bombs and tried to disgrace Islam and Muslims.Not a single person has mentioned another religion on this post and I read the entire thread. I just cant help but point out that most Muslims feel the same way.

  • Joseph

    If Christians really were like Jesus, they’d all be liberals.

  • Gary

    A couple of comments. One of the most repeated criticisms here is that mainstream Christians do not speak up, and that it is not a media problem. It is, in fact, a media problem. Mainstream Christians have been speaking up, right from the beginning of the Iraq war. A group of leaders from the mainstream churches tried to get Mr. Bush to meet with them when it became clear that he was going to invade Iraq, but he would not meet with them (including his own pastor). Since then, time and time again they have expressed concern with the war, but are never reported. Even evangelicals leaders, like Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo, have consistently raised objections to the war, but are seldom paid any attention by the media. As a pastor, I regularly raise concerns about the war – usually more in my teaching ministry, when there is more of an occasion to dialog, than in sermons. Even in my sermons, however, I raise some of the problems with this “culture of death” that the neocoms represent. Churches have no more power to “police” our faith than Muslims do theirs, or agnostics or athiests theirs. All we can do is to try to raise our objections to perversions of the faith by people like Dobson and Coulter (By the way, Dobson knows about as much about psychology as he does about theology, which is precious little. At one time, he offered fairly sound advice – now he has abandoned good psychology in favor of ideology).As far as so many Christians supporting Coulter, Limbaugh et al, it should also be noted that not everyone who calls themself Christian is one. For many people, “Christian” is more of a cultural identification than a religious one. Most people who call themselves Christian know little about the faith – or only “enough to be dangerous.” To these, being “Christian” means having a certain set of values, often referred to as “Cultural Christianity”: mom, nation and apple pie. It has little to do with the teachings of Jesus.Finally, a word to “Bill” who claims that the problem with the NCC is that it does not represent “orthodox” Christianity. The churches of the NCC are, for the most part, churches that represent “orthodox” Christianity. Fundamentalism is not orthodox – it is a late comer, founded on principles that have never been part of “orthodox” Christianity. In my experience, most fundamentalists do not even know those central documents of the church that express what the church, over more than two thousand years, holds to be the “orthodox” faith, namely the great Creeds of the church. If they did, they would know that the church has never held to the “verbal inspiration” of scripture or “inerrancy,” not to mentioned its flawed view of evangleism and supersessionist theology. A real understanding of the scriptures would also produce a more nuanced and accurate view, and less certainty, regarding homosexuality and women in ministry. Pulling scriptures out of its theological and historical context violates scripture, serving only to provide proof-texts for already developed viewspoints, rather than providing enlightenment concerning the scripture’s message.

  • Paul Childress

    Ann Coulter is an utter waste. It is a sad commentary on the news media and its consumer’s that she has anything more than a marginal forum.

  • Anonymous

    Almost as bad as Ann Coulter are all the people who get bent out of shape about what she says. Most of it is for effect — just to stir the pot and sell books. Last I checked she is a pundit — its not like anything she says has an actual effect on the real world we all work and live in. She’s a circus act .. so lighten up.

  • Henry

    First the writer wants us to believe that his brand of Christianity is inclusive and tolerant unlike the inauthentic Christianity espoused by Ann Coulter. Then he brags that of the churches he represents, half won’t ordain women and plenty hate gays. Therefore his group isn’t leftwing.Wow! What a race to the bottom. Jesus, protect me from your followers.

  • JimW

    This is the dumbest argument I have ever heard. Let me get this straight. This writer argues that people’s low opinion of Christianity is blamed on the media? That’s an outrageous claim. The media did NOT take her quote out of context… did not misquote her… did not embellish or change one single syllable of her statement. The media quoted Ann Coulter – – verbatim?? The media should be applauded for shining a light on the hypocrisy of so-called devout Christians, Jews, Muslims or any other zealot who masquerades behind scripture. It is a fact that many organized religious groups have gone out of their way to preach hate and divisiveness. These broadcasts can hardly be avoided if you turn on the radio or TV. So, why does the writer blame the media?The writer should listen more carefully to the hate spewing from the pulpits. We live in a country that is supposed to guarantee freedom “of” religion. I wish for freedom “from” religious zealots.

  • Kurt Cannon

    “God forgives their sins because they believe in Jesus, and they are allowed entrance to heaven because of their belief.”

  • Anonymous

    Almost as bad as Ann Coulter are all the people who get bent out of shape about what she says. Most of it is for effect — just to stir the pot and sell books. Last I checked she is a pundit — its not like anything she says has an actual effect on the real world we all work and live in. She’s a circus act .. so lighten up.

  • FLNonny

    It is sad when mere humans such as Coulter use words that Jesus would never utter. However, she is no different than those on the far left who have no tolerance for anyone who thinks differently than they, who believe that ‘inclusion” means only those who agree with them and who think “free speech” is simply reserved for only them. I am MUCH more fearful of those quieter, angry types than on the in-your-face, angry Coulter types. But HOW SAD that young people have turned away from the teachings of Christ. Christ’s teachings are tried and true and are not supposed to be secular or touch-feely when it comes to the tough issues. Loving sinners and hating sin are His teachings; perhaps too many young people have had lousy role models (in their parents) and perhaps the influence of Hollywood and the liberal U.S. media has (sadly) been their God.

  • tony the pitiful copywriter

    This is a good beginning, Rev. Livingston. I applaud your piece. The day-to-day work of churches in our communities is priceless. The homeless are sheltered, the hungry fed, the defeated are lifted up and more.But what took you so long?I consider myself a non-church goer, but I appreciate the value and values the different churches in my town give to our lives here.So, what’s the next step?

  • Ted

    Ann Coulter is not the second coming of Hitler or anything like that. Look at what she said, she thinks the US would be better off if there weren’t Jewish people here. She didn’t call for a Holocaust, she didn’t reference them as sub-human or anything of that nature. What I took from her comments was that she was lamenting the power of the Jewish lobby and the influence it has on US international policies. That is not anti-semitic. Could she have made the same point using less inflammatory language? Certainly, but even if she had just said, “I wish the Jewish lobby didn’t influence US international policy as much as it does, or I think it does” she still would have been pegged as anti-semitic. It is possible to disagree with the US’s support of Israel and the conditions of said support without being an anti semite. People need to stop being so sensitive. Everyone who disagrees with US policy toward Israel is not an anti semite just like everyone who wanted to see Mike Vick get nailed is not a racist.

  • Anonymous

    Almost as bad as Ann Coulter are all the people who get bent out of shape about what she says. Most of it is for effect — just to stir the pot and sell books. Last I checked she is a pundit — its not like anything she says has an actual effect on the real world we all work and live in. She’s a circus act .. so lighten up.

  • Anonymous

    Almost as bad as Ann Coulter are all the people who get bent out of shape about what she says. Most of it is for effect — just to stir the pot and sell books. Last I checked she is a pundit — its not like anything she says has an actual effect on the real world we all work and live in. She’s a circus act .. so lighten up.

  • Jeff Haas

    The best lack all conviction, while the worst –W. B. Yeats

  • Ron Clabaugh

    I don’t think you can blame young people resistence to Christianity on the media. Certainly there are many Christians who try each day to follow their beliefs. The problem comes from our nature to label everyone or thing and believe that all must live their lives according to the labels we have placed on them. Perhaps just have you have labeled “midstream media”. Perhaps you need to speak louder and take on the Dobson’s and the evangelicals that have taken such narrow views of “American values” which you seem be believe are the same as “Christian values”. I think you would find most young people do accept gays and gay marriage and would give women the right to chose abortion. You lose young and old when you make these issues the battle cry of those on the right and put Christianity into politics.

  • Nelson

    While it is absolutely true tht the majority of Americans are not extreme right-wingers, let’s not forget that, thanks to them and their $$$, an incompetent, alcoholic, intellectually-inoperative trash now occupies the highest office in the nation. The tragic results are there, for all to see. Annus Coultergheist (don’t know whether is a he, she, or plain IT), with its extremist views has managed to be a regular in the White House chain of news-twisters (Fox-Aljazeera). Somebody is reading or listening to her garbage…the White House for one, with fatal consecuences for our nation.

  • In the middle

    Coulter and Livingston are two sides of the same coin. Livingston and his organization are just as much part of the kooky left as Coulter is part of the kooky right.

  • Kristie

    The problem is that Christians are allowing the media to influence and indicate who who imagine our heros and leaders to be. Whether due to stress, fear, insecurity, tiredness, etc. we stand back and don’t speak up to tell the world what the values of a true Christian are. “We have allowed the culture to redefine heroism and human excellence based on what the world values.””We are good at talking about excellence in sports, the corporate world, education, [and] music … Thinking about excellence in these areas is easy because the standards [are] … agreed upon and measurable, and those who excel are recognizable. … They are the visible winners of our society. But it is as if there is a taboo against enlarging the scale, daring to ask, what is excellence, not in playing the guitar or managing a corporation but in a whole human life? What is it to live a good life? These questions have to do with human greatness—or heroism.The answers to these questions are ultimately found in Christ. True heroes are not always “the visible winners in our society.” Such was the certainly the case with Jesus whose earthly ministry appeared to suffer the ultimate defeat but in the end he was the ultimate hero in all of human history. Jesus Christ—fully God and fully man—embodied the highest aspirations of moral virtue, self-sacrifice, and courage. Christ, the true hero, engages our imagination and motivates us to try to make that virtue our own. Granted, we must be aided in these efforts by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit but for those whose souls have been quickened by His grace; the choice to do so remains ours.The Church must press the virtues of Christ as the standard by which all heroes are measured and once again incorporate stories that illustrate and teach these virtues to our nation’s children. Our values have changed, which in turn changed our “heroes” and how we define heroism. Subsequently our stories have changed as well. Instead of inspiring a generation to aspire to human excellence in the moral virtues, we are indoctrinating children in secular humanist propaganda over and against biblical truth. Read this excerpts article here:

  • Patrick

    goldie mused:”Christians dont strap bombs to their backs and go into market and blow up everybody in the market. “

  • Eric

    I feel the “good” values in religion are significantly outweighed by the “bad” ones.

  • Bill Boyd

    There are quite a few “best selling authors” among those who pander to the religious right. But, I recently learned that they employ a somewhat “standard trick.” The best selling books they write are sold to their Church first (to insure a sellout of all copies); then the Church either sells or gives the books away. The other neat feature about this trick is that it does not show up on financial statements as salary.I strongly suspect that Ann C. does something similar and that 1000s or 10000s of copies are sold perhaps to the American Enterprise Institute or a similar group.

  • Bob Gilbert

    I appreciate your article. Its a fresh breeze in a hostile environment. I wish you had left out the polititical “‘unjust’war in Irag”.Bob Gilbert

  • marianne

    Oh Jeff Haas, this deserves a full reading:”Turning and turning in the widening gyreA shape with lion body and the head of a man,Except as we know- it really “slouches towards Jerusalem”…

  • marianne

    Oh Jeff Haas, this deserves a full reading:”Turning and turning in the widening gyreA shape with lion body and the head of a man,Except as we know- it really “slouches towards Jerusalem”…

  • JD

    Michael Livingston, a whole lot of talk about your view of Christianity. It epitomizes the essense of American christianity. Not one mention of the person of Christ in your article. Do you know Him? The Bible doesn’t say you will know Him by THEIR fruits. Do you know Him Michael Livingston? Has He been raised from the dead or is your faith worthless too? You banty faith around regarding other religions as is the habit in American christianity but what makes faith legitimate? Christ’s Apostle, Paul makes it quite clear in Colossians.

  • doctorg

    “Most Christians believe in an authentic, inclusive and welcoming gospel in the thousands of communities where they worship.”That’s because most Christians pay very little attention to the Bible, believe very little Church doctrine, and go to church mainly as a social event.”One of its chief cheerleaders is Ann Coulter. She has dismissed most of the Bible and the words of Jesus defending the poor, the widow, the prisoner—the least among us—and spewed her venom that has little or nothing to do with orthodox Christianity.”American mainstream Christians similarly dismiss virtually all of the Old Testament, which is the definition of orthodox Christianity. Coulter’s ‘venom’ is actually quite in line with the Old Testament’s Yahweh.

  • Endessa

    Ted, while agreeing very much with most of your comments, the fact is, that saying anything

  • Endessa

    Ted, while agreeing very much with most of your comments, the fact is, that saying anything

  • Mitchell Payes

    My compliments on a well thought out piece based on real Judeo-Christian values. I embrace your comments whole heartedly.The hate filled divisive, insulting and dangerous Coulterites are of the same fabric as Joseph Goebbels, Islamic fundementalist extremists and the KKK. They are our country’s true internal enemies.Thank you.

  • JoeT

    unfortunately, Reverend Livingston is thinking wishfully, and using Coulter for his own propaganda. I was raised Catholic, in the 60’s, and was taught what Coulter is saying. As many posters have noted, that’s not ultra right wing hijacked dogma, it’s mainstream. Reverend is selling his kinder gentler stuff, but he’s the one trying to fashion a watered down dogma that liberal folks will buy (no judgment on liberals in that statement, see later). I recall an Opus Dei priest who recently got some press saying the Catholic Church would be better off if all those who didn’t accept the church’s teaching on birth control, etc. would just leave. that’s the point. The NCC folks would be excommunicated by the Vatican. They shouldn’t pretend otherwise, and just admit they think they have a better path. Before anyone mistakes where I am coming from, my point is that even though Coulter does somehow manage to overstate even rigid dogma, she does represent it. Our churches themselves can’t escape the “we have the truth – you don’t” even internally. The history of many churches is the watering down of dogma to hang on to folks who can’t swallow it. Agnostics, me among them, would say that’s a futile effort, because you simply increase the contradictions that cause thinking folks to leave in the first place (if you preach an inspired truth, it’s not subject to revision – there are Catholics who still can’t get over the 2nd Vatican Council)(I have more respect for conservatives on that logical basis alone). We are witnessing churches suffering from their inherent weakness. They all claim exclusive truth, whether they soft pedal it or not. I don’t begrudge anyone their faith. I cannot prove the non-existence of anything. I simply wish the faithful would show the humility or self doubt that should accompany the absurdity of Jews, Muslims and Christians all agreeing that if a Jew, a Muslim, and a Catholic are walking down the street, only two out of three are deluded fools.

  • John Hayes

    Mr. Livingston – Aren’t Jews and Muslims going to hell unless they accept Jesus Christ? I’m a bit confused, because basically Ms. Coulter was just stating the obvious truth about Christianity. While Christians may respect the religions and sacred tests of others here on earth, Christian doctrine suggests that heaven will not include people who’s beliefs don’t include Jesus. So unless Jews become “perfected” and accept Jesus Christ as Ms. Coulter stated, they will not be accepted into heaven. Anything short of that is political correctness and not truth. Finally it’s funny that its wrong for her to suggest that the United States would be better if it were all Christian but standard practice for a Christian to suggest that only Christians go to heaven.

  • RAMO

    Ann Coulter – The Devils wife.

  • RAMO

    Ann Coulter – The Devils wife.

  • RAMO

    Ann Coulter – The Devils wife.

  • William E Decker

    I am not sure that you are not the one that feels threatened. You do not give and real examples. Ann Coulter is not one. And Dobson speaks much good. Jesus being kind and gentle did not alter the fact that he cleary spoke that the way to the Lord was through him. Is it polite and politically correct “Not” to try to carry that to others because we do not want to disturb you, but want to “get along.” You might want to take things a little more seriously and not just pick the bad points of the worst examples. It takes little courage to speak no truth. Also, you might consider if you live in a house with some glass walls yourself. Sincerely, Bill

  • Debbie

    Yup, all this Christian association with the Republican party has hurt Christianity big time. I don’t think Jesus would have much good to say, judging by his words in the Beatitudes.

  • Paul Molineaux

    Reverend Livingston decries conservative criticism that his organization has a liberal bias, but then lists some issues which concern the NCC, including “…the living wage, racism, health care, justice for women, and an unjust war in Iraq”. That is, his agenda IS the liberal agenda. He needs no accusers.

  • bruce edwards

    What you say about inclusiveness of Christians might or might not be true (while I have not found Christians, world wide, to be any more or less xenophobic, as a statistical class, then an evolutionary baseline I have certainly not found devout Christians to be any more inclusive then any other self defined group, roughly equivalent, with regard to inclusiveness, to outlaw bikers). If Coulter et al do not represent the spiritual core of Modern US Christianity they have been allowed to usurp, almost unopposed, the voice of Modern US Christianity. Nor do they reflect a role all that different then ‘historic’ Christians have played. More, the inability to move beyond a weak: ‘that’s not me’ (i.e. Coulter et al) and forcefully, publicly repudiate their positions underscores powerfully how the rule of law will always be undermined by religious orthodoxy. The writer here has created, accepted for themselves, a set of beliefs they say are at variance with Coulter et al, yet both camps (and the hundred thousand other camps of Christianity) claim their legitimacy from the exact same divine provenance.If you do not want Coulter to be the public face of Christianity, as Christians, you have to stand up and publicly repudiate her. No matter what you chose to believe the anemic statement above fails to do that. All the above did was assert an intra doctrinal squabble . . . something at which Christians have been historically, and criminally, adept.In other words: I have rejected, publicly, repeatedly, Coulter et al obscene rantings. It is not my responsibility to distinguish how her religion differs from that of the writer of this piece. As both position themselves, publicly, as Christians, confusion as to what the Christian community will tolerate is unavoidable . . . and it is not ‘my’ responsibility to resolve that confusion. If you don’t want to be mistaken for a Coulter don’t act like her, don’t talk like her, don’t permit her to the public face of your religion!

  • John Hayes

    Mr. Livingston – Aren’t Jews and Muslims going to hell unless they accept Jesus Christ? I’m a bit confused, because basically Ms. Coulter was just stating the obvious truth about Christianity. While Christians may respect the religions and sacred tests of others here on earth, Christian doctrine suggests that heaven will not include people who’s beliefs don’t include Jesus. So unless Jews become “perfected” and accept Jesus Christ as Ms. Coulter stated, they will not be accepted into heaven. Anything short of that is political correctness and not truth. Finally it’s funny that its wrong for her to suggest that the United States would be better if it were all Christian but standard practice for a Christian to suggest that only Christians go to heaven.

  • E favorite

    It’s been mentioned that Coulter is just a pundit, may not actually be a Christian, and certainly isn’t a preacher or an official representative of any church.If moderate Christians actively disagree with her message, I feel sure they could band together to get media time to make their point. I suspect moderate Christians are a bit muddled about what exactly they would say if they had the desired media attention. If so, I don’t blame them. Religions that rely on belief in supernatural claims are muddled, by definition, irrespective of whatever else of value they may have to offer.

  • jhayes

    Mr. Livingston – Aren’t Jews and Muslims going to hell unless they accept Jesus Christ? I’m a bit confused, because basically Ms. Coulter was just stating the obvious truth about Christianity. While Christians may respect the religions and sacred texts of others here on earth, Christian doctrine suggests that heaven will not include people who’s beliefs don’t include Jesus. So unless Jews become “perfected” and accept Jesus Christ as Ms. Coulter stated, they will not be accepted into heaven. Anything short of that is political correctness and not truth. Finally it’s funny that its wrong for her to suggest that the United States would be better if it were all Christian but standard practice for a Christian to suggest that only Christians go to heaven.

  • maryannevans

    Nice spin but the fact is that the right wing agenda of militant, hateful theocracy dominates the “Christian” message which is neither democratic or grounded in principles of social or economic justice. Religion is seldom a force for good in spite of silly claims about it being the source of morality.

  • jhayes

    Mr. Livingston – Aren’t Jews and Muslims going to hell unless they accept Jesus Christ? I’m a bit confused, because basically Ms. Coulter was just stating the obvious truth about Christianity. While Christians may respect the religions and sacred tests of others here on earth, Christian doctrine suggests that heaven will not include people who’s beliefs don’t include Jesus. So unless Jews become “perfected” and accept Jesus Christ as Ms. Coulter stated, they will not be accepted into heaven. Anything short of that is political correctness and not truth. Finally it’s funny that its wrong for her to suggest that the United States would be better if it were all Christian but standard practice for a Christian to suggest that only Christians go to heaven.

  • ms.mason

    It’s not only young people that are looking skeptically at “Christianity”. After being exposed to these radical right folks the last 10-15 years, I am proud to say that I am NOT a “Christian”, and have no desire to be one. They have absolutely nothing that I want in my life or the life of my family.

  • Garak

    We constantly hear complaints from the right, especially the Christian right, that Muslims do not condemn Muslim extremists. OK, aside from rare exceptions like Mr. Livingston, where are the condemnations of extremist Christians like Coulter from other Christians? I see nothing but silence. They obviously think they have a monopoly on being entitled to fanatical extremism. Islamo-fascism? No worse than Christo-fascism.

  • Will Jones

    Ann Coulter isn’t “Christian,” she is Roman Catholic no matter her present claim to the contrary. She is a failed woman and tool of the fascist plutocracy America’s Founder, Thomas Jefferson, identified in 1819 as the “real Anti-Christ. Prescott Bush claimed he was Episcopalian though in truth he, a front for Vatican-banker Rockefeller, was an initiated member of the Knights of Malta (who openly claim to run the Vatican) and served the Vatican as money conduit from their American Fifth Column to papal baron Fritz “The Rockefeller of Germany” Thyssen, author of “I Paid Hitler.”Countrymen, Patriots, We must learn to think historically as did the Whig Prophets who Founded Our Nation. They believed, and it is demonstrably true, that history unfolds as a conflict between Rome, and everyone else. As papal bulls claim Rome “owns the world” and all of us on it, it only makes sense when the path of their perfidy is easily traced:Notice only the Roman Catholics on the Supreme Court voted to stop the Florida recount and make the homosexual, draft-dodging grandson of Prescott Bush president? Notice George H.W. Bush went on record while V.P. “unable to recall” his whereabouts upon hearing of John Kennedy’s assassination by the Knight of Malta-led CIA (though two FBI memos put him on the phone to the FBI, on the subject, 75 minutes after the shots were fired, and in the CIA), six weeks after NSAM263 had ordered the military withdrawal from Rome’s “latifundial” estate of Vietnam, in which the five percent Roman Catholics owned 95% of that country’s wealth?Coulter makes money serving the Anti-Christ’s American Fifth Column: the same faction giving cover to Bush’s “Reichstag Fire” of 9/11.Due process must out. Someone get some rope. There’s plenty to go around…their traitorous necks.

  • jhayes

    Mr. Livingston – Aren’t Jews and Muslims going to hell unless they accept Jesus Christ? I’m a bit confused, because basically Ms. Coulter was just stating the obvious truth about Christianity. While Christians may respect the religions and sacred texts of others here on earth, Christian doctrine suggests that heaven will not include people who’s beliefs don’t include Jesus. So unless Jews become “perfected” and accept Jesus Christ as Ms. Coulter stated, they will not be accepted into heaven. Anything short of that is political correctness and not truth. Finally it’s funny that its wrong for her to suggest that the United States would be better if it were all Christian but standard practice for a Christian to suggest that only Christians go to heaven.

  • frustrated

    I do not want to watch Ann Coulter, but sometimes, like a car wreck, I see her on Fox News and can’t turn away because I’m so stunned by what I’m seeing. She wears a cross on her necklace, but her disrespectful words of hate and intolerance are what an anti-christ would say. Rather than showing love and respect for her “neighbors” who disagree with her mean-spirited opinions, she dismisses THEM as hateful. “People keep trying to get me fired, they don’t understand that I work for myself so I can’t be fired.” I heard even Bill OReily (who I also cannot stand to watch) caution her, “But you have to forgive your enemies! You’re a Christian!” and she laughed and shook her head and replied, “Well…I’m still working on that part.” Clearly indicating that she isn’t. How hard can she be “working” on forgiveness if she titles her book, “If Democrats had any brains they’d be Republicans.” Personally, I am praying that someone will please stop this woman. If she’s a true Christian, why hasn’t she heard the holy spirit telling her to stop giving Christianity a bad name!

  • Rick

    Rev. Livingston,“The National Council of Churches is made up of 35 diverse and differing Christian denominations — from Methodist to Orthodox, from Lutheran to Quaker — embracing 45 million American citizens.”Please answer the following:1. Is there an afterlife in either heaven or hell?This is a test to see just how inclusive the NCC really is. I hope that you will answer these questions.PS: There are two Ricks posting here. Hello Rick! It will be interesting to see if it sounds like we are arguing amongst ourself.

  • frustrated

    I do not want to watch Ann Coulter, but sometimes, like a car wreck, I see her on Fox News and can’t turn away because I’m so stunned by what I’m seeing. She wears a cross on her necklace, but her disrespectful words of hate and intolerance are what an anti-christ would say. Rather than showing love and respect for her “neighbors” who disagree with her mean-spirited opinions, she dismisses THEM as hateful. “People keep trying to get me fired, they don’t understand that I work for myself so I can’t be fired.” I heard even Bill OReily (who I also cannot stand to watch) caution her, “But you have to forgive your enemies! You’re a Christian!” and she laughed and shook her head and replied, “Well…I’m still working on that part.” Clearly indicating that she isn’t. How hard can she be “working” on forgiveness if she titles her book, “If Democrats had any brains they’d be Republicans.” Personally, I am praying that someone will please stop this woman. If she’s a true Christian, why hasn’t she heard the holy spirit telling her to stop giving Christianity a bad name! Jesus was the hardests on hypocrits…I’ve got to believe he’d know how to truly convert her into becoming a true believer…as it is she seems to be a plant.

  • JBE

    Then WHY are you even talking about her?Why don’t evangelical christians throw the haters, liars, financial criminals and others guilty of immoral sins out of their church?Why do the evangelivcals embrace her and other haters like her such as Dobson?Why do evangelicals cling to people like Ted Haggard who are obvious lying hypoctires?Why do evangelicals listen to far right hate gossip that Obama is a muslim even though he’s a church going christian?Why do evangelicals publish voter guides in breach of their tax exempt status?It is high time to shun the evangelical AND OTHER RELIGIO-FASCIST hypocrites from politics as the CONSTITUTION REQUIRES!

  • SamBrown

    I’ll be glad to “stop looking at her” as soon as you stop plastering her face onto the front page of your website.

  • charlie

    Someone wrote: “Stop blaming the media. It’s not the media- it’s the failure of moderate, rational Christian voices to step up and counter the extremists.”And that’s exactly what they do.And that’s exactly why all the Ann Coulters of the world get such exposure.Did you even see THIS column on the main page? No! It’s relegated to the sidelines.Just ask Deborah Howell, the Post’s ombudsman.

  • JBE

    Then WHY are you even talking about her?Why don’t evangelical christians throw the haters, liars, financial criminals and others guilty of immoral sins out of their church?Why do the evangelivcals embrace her and other haters like her such as Dobson?Why do evangelicals cling to people like Ted Haggard who are obvious lying hypocrites?Why do evangelicals embrace far right hate gossip that Obama is a muslim even though he’s a church going christian? How about those who embraced and even funded the hypocritical political lies from the “swift boat christians”?Why do evangelicals publish voter guides in breach of their tax exempt status?It is high time to shun the evangelical AND OTHER RELIGIO-FASCIST hypocrites from politics as the CONSTITUTION REQUIRES!

  • Anonymous

    How do you know what most Christians think?What percent of the total population have you talked to?

  • JBE

    Then WHY are you even talking about her?Why don’t evangelical christians throw the haters, liars, financial criminals and others guilty of immoral sins out of their church?Why do the evangelivcals embrace her and other haters like her such as Dobson?Why do evangelicals cling to people like Ted Haggard who are obvious lying hypocrites?Why do evangelicals embrace far right hate gossip that Obama is a muslim even though he’s a church going christian? How about those who embraced and even funded the hypocritical political lies from the “swift boat christians”?Why do evangelicals publish voter guides in breach of their tax exempt status?It is high time to shun the evangelical AND OTHER RELIGIO-FASCIST hypocrites from politics as the CONSTITUTION REQUIRES!

  • JBE

    Then WHY are you even talking about her?Why don’t evangelical christians throw the haters, liars, financial criminals and others guilty of immoral sins out of their church?Why do the evangelivcals embrace her and other haters like her such as Dobson?Why do evangelicals cling to people like Ted Haggard who are obvious lying hypocrites?Why do evangelicals embrace far right hate gossip that Obama is a muslim even though he’s a church going christian? How about those who embraced and even funded the hypocritical political lies from the “swift boat christians”?Why do evangelicals publish voter guides in breach of their tax exempt status?It is high time to shun the evangelical AND OTHER RELIGIO-FASCIST hypocrites from politics as the CONSTITUTION REQUIRES!

  • dnfree

    Lots of hand-wringing among more traditional Christians such as Rev. Livingston. Not much speaking out against Ann Coulter and others of their type except in forums like this. Why don’t they go on TV and condemn Ann Coulter as clearly as she states her views?Like Bonnie, one of the first posters, I do not recognize the Christianity I grew up with, the one where you were supposed to work on perfecting yourself and not so much on perfecting other people. The mainline church I attended (UCC) was hijacked by right-wingers, and I no longer attend church. I’m sure I’m not alone.

  • Anonymous

    How do you know what most Christians think?What percent of the total population have you talked to?

  • MICHAEL J. MEREDITH

    +I agree with helping the poor and so does the author. I also belive in defending the family and freedom of religion like James Dobson does but the author has nothing good to say about Mr. Dobson who is a good Chrisitan American. The author seems very critical of those who actualy practice Chrisitianity in public instead of in a closet. He seems to think freedom of speech should apply to all but Christians.He claims young people are as anti-Christian as he is but i do not believe that.

  • Amanda

    Bless you!

  • E favorite

    Cambellite/Anonymous – I’m glad you spelled out your Christian beliefs, because I think they’re quite different from other moderate Christians. Some might not even consider you Christian.You say, “Here’s the Gospel, the good news: The world will change when you love God and love your neighbor. The rest is commentary.”Would you also accept my way of saying it? “Here’s the good news: The world will change when we respect our neighbors. The rest is commentary.”If so and if other Christians and religious people can too, then maybe we can make some real progress.

  • Not Brainwashed

    “Goldie:Christians dont strap bombs to their backs and go into market and blow up everybody in the market. That honor is reserved for Muslims. How can muslims criticize anything? LOL”LOL…what a great sense of humor you have. Muslims blow themselves in Marketplaces…Xtians simply drive their SUV’s in squares and shoot at anything that moves, i.e when they are not busy dropping bombs in far-away lands.when people trivialize and generalize a discussion with their “erudite” observations, it reflects on the sanctity of the important points being raised. That being said, Its definitely refreshing to read Michael Livingstone’s article denouncing the western Taliban, even if its too little too late. As long as there is a US vs Them mentality, people will gyrate towards the extremists, and this is prevalent all over the globe. Government should not be in a business of regulating what people think, else democracy would not be able to stop tyranny of the majority.

  • Rick

    Rev. Livingston,Do you think that you have hit on a hot topic here? We have averaged 1.7 posts per minute for the last 4.5 hours.Good Job!

  • Will Jones

    P.S. I watched the show and then taped its repeat…because I almost couldn’t believe what Coulter actually said publicly. The host generously gave her every opportunity to clarify and to restate her comments. She just dug her hole deeper. Nobody is taking her out of context. She said what she meant and made it clear, through expansion on the initial point, that she meant exactly what she (and Hitler) said. Those in denial about that which has been revealed are the same who refuse to believe the pedophile priests of Babylon are defiling your children even though you were probably molested and each of the 188 Roman Catholic dioceses (an admin term of the Roman Empire) has at least one convicted pedophile priest and many have dozens.Jefferson is right, it is “the real Anti-Christ.”

  • windhill

    Have some compassion for poor Ms. Coulter.

  • Steveb99

    If Rev. Livingston wants Ms. Coulter to stop speaking for Christians, then maybe Christians should stop speaking for Americans.

  • Mike_N

    It’s a shame: most good Christians I know are definitely the “judge not, lest ye be judged” type, but the Falwells/Robertsons/Coulters gained the public platform. Now a generation that’s grown up being chided and scolded by those people doesn’t want to hear it anymore.

  • frustrated

    Have you ever noticed that her mouth smiles, but her eyes don’t? Even when she’s “laughing”? She looks crazed…really creepy. Definitely not at peace with God.

  • John Molineaux

    Yay, Livingston! Let’s hear more of this.

  • Francisco

    Dear Rev,

  • Francisco

    Dear Rev,

  • LavDad2

    “Most Christians believe in an authentic, inclusive and welcoming gospel in the thousands of communities where they worship.”I agree that most Christians are not as fanatical as those you mention and that the press does play a large part in the negative image of Christianity expressed by those mentioned .However, the statement quoted above from Mr. Livingston is simply untrue. Most Christians DO NOT believe in an inclusive and welcoming gospel. Almost all Christrian denominations are struggling with Gay and Lesbian issues.No Christian denomination, including the most liberal, have sanctiond rites of marriage. Some allow individual pastors or churches to write their own but none have them on the denominational level.Most denominations will not ordain Gay or Lesbian pastors and those that do ordain them expect them to remain celibate.If “most Christians” believed in an inclusive and welcoming gospel there would be no struggle with these issues. Gay men and Lesbians would be accepted and included as full and complete human beings. Presently, that is NOT happening.

  • barbara

    Thank you.

  • ogden, utah

    some time back the washington post, I believe, ran a story about a pastor of a church who tried to tone down the right wing political ambitions of his congregation, saying that politics and religion should be separate, that all should be cared for, and so on and so forth, much as this commentary says, and found himself dealing with an open revolt from people who felt that religion and Christ said “this is the way it ought to be so that’s that.” He lost a huge chunk of his congregation as a result.This is what concerns me–not that this commentary is wrong, but that so many in these churches seem to be willing to be led by loudmouth whackos like ms coulter, whose public utterances ought to be met with loud and constant condemnation from the majority of Christians but, for some reason, are not.Why is that?

  • Campbellite

    E Fav, glad you found my uber post. I put my name in the field, honest…I’d accept your statement, but I think love goes farther than respect. But we’re splitting hairs at that point. Let’s start at respect and work our way toward love.I have been attending mass at a local Catholic parish and have struck friendships with several other parishoners. We had this conversation a few weeks ago, and what I posted is what we all walked away with. So if *Catholics* can agree on this very moderate view, I think the world is in less danger than we fear. :)I’ve been shocked at how moderate and liberal Catholic teaching can be, if interpreted that way. Yeah, there’s always the Bill Donahue rant, but he’s just another crank. I picked up a copy of the Catholic Catechism at the local Goodwill (support charity, get cheap used books, it’s a win-win) and I’m finding little I can argue with. Even though I am a west coast pro-choice environmentalist feminist democratic bleeding heart liberal. The Post Vatican 2 catholic church is NOT what you think it is. At least, it’s not what I thought it was. Fundamentalism has defined Christianity for way too long in America. It’s past time for the rest of us to speak up.

  • Griffin

    Everything you say is true, but I don’t feel one bit sorry for you.You brought this on yourselves. Whether all those Christians ‘to the left of Pat Robertson’ didn’t want to rock they boat by speaking out against their Christianist ‘brethren’ or if they secretly enjoyed to political power that buddying up to the Religious Right brought them, the Christians of a ‘welcoming gospel’ failed to stop people within their own movement from perverting Christianity.It’s on your heads.Talk all you want about how much you’re not like them. You did nothing to stop them when you saw them turning Christianity into the ‘anti-gay people’ trying to foist their ideology and dogma onto society at large. Sins of omission are no different than sins of comission.

  • Robert Merry

    Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s.There is too much religion in politics which is of this life and too much politics in religion which is of another life. We are here in this life. The churched need to be concerned with that other life and they can do so in their churches. If they don’t want Coulter there, that’s fine and if they want her there, that’s fine too, as long as they stay in their churches and leave the business of the people to the people who know what life they’re living in, this one, not the next one.

  • Robert Merry

    Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s.There is too much religion in politics which is of this life and too much politics in religion which is of another life. We are here in this life. The churched need to be concerned with that other life and they can do so in their churches. If they don’t want Coulter there, that’s fine and if they want her there, that’s fine too, as long as they stay in their churches and leave the business of the people to the people who know what life they’re living in, this one, not the next one.

  • Gary

    DoctorG -The Old Testament does not define “orthodox Christianity.” The Old Testament might define orthodox Jewish belief, but not orthodox Christian belief. Orthodox Christianity accepts the scriptures of the Old Testament as its own, but seen through the eyes of the New Testament revelation concerning Jesus. Martin Luther expressed this well when he said that the Old Testament, for Christians, must be seen through the “lens” of the Gospel. That lens does not allow us to simply pull verses out of the Old Testament (or the New, for that matter), and simply slap them on any given situation. Both must be read with an eye to the Gospel – the “good news” of God’s revelation in Jesus.For instance, one of the first things the church did, after the Council of Jamnia, when it was kicked out of the synagogues, was to adopt the practice of worshipping on Sunday, rather than on the Sabbath (Saturday). It reinterpreted the law, “Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy,” to refer to the rest of faith in Christ, and so celebrated that rest on the day of his resurrection – Sunday (also in keeping with Paul’s observation, that, to God, one day is the same as another). Christians believe that their relationship to God is not based on the keeping of the Old Testament covenant of the law, but on a faith relationship with God based on Jesus.Concerning the Old Testament “holy wars,” none of the mainline churches hold this theology, which is antithetical to Jesus’ teachings. The two theologies, to which one or the other most mainline churches subscribe, are either pacifism (turning the other cheek), or the “Just War” theory, Thomas Aquinas’ attempt to limit the conditions under which rulers might go to war, which sets a number of standards, none of which, by the way, would qualify the present conflict as “just.”

  • Bob

    Reminds me of my ex-wife, who was bipolar. Loved the attention that being outrageous brought. If you said the sky was blue and the grass was green, she’d say it was the opposite. Life had to be a conflict. There seems to be a lot of that going around these days that passes for news and information. The easiest way to tell a bipolar is that if it seems really irrational, it’s probably not you. If it continues, it’s probably them. (Comment about the present administration irrationally deleted)

  • A.Lincoln

    Ann Coulter’s hateful words (the Paris Hilton of Politics) could not be any further from the teachings of Jesus. Like so many far right ultra-conservatives their words are truly meaningless.

  • Pat

    Wow,What a great view and positive article! Being a practicing American Catholic, I can agree with all the Reverend’s themes of love, tolerance, compassion, and respect for the diversity of religions and individuals in our society. The rights endowed to all of us through our creator and a freedom from one religion have given us Americans a direct mandate for loving your neighbor and your enemies.

  • homer

    I’m sorry, but mainstream Christian leaders have had plenty of opportunities to speak up. Where were/are they? I realize some are busy doing good things, but for the most part they have been silent. It is difficult for the media to report on moderate leaders when they aren’t saying or writing anything. Many people are wringing their hands because younger people (correctly) view Christianity as sexist, homophobic, anti-science, and willing to pry into people’s private lives. I’m pleased that people are finally figuring out that the United States does not have to be another fundamentalist religious state.

  • stephennnn

    The silent majority allows the radical right to ursurp their religion. Silence is an abrogation of duty to god. They deserve it.

  • stephennnn

    The silent majority allows the radical right to ursurp their religion. Silence is an abrogation of duty to god. They deserve it.

  • stephennnn

    The silent majority allows the radical right to ursurp their religion. Silence is an abrogation of duty to god. They deserve it.

  • skeptic

    Yes, Coulter represents an extreme. But the figures (in the form of those affiliating themselves with specific denominations) show that what might be called “mainstream” Christianity is losing ground, while the evangelical groups decried here are expanding. Christianity in America, it seems, is in fact becoming more conservative, and the media portrayal at least partly reflects that fact.More to the point, as long as extremists such as Coulter and Dobson are not challenged by Christians, they will represent Christianity to many. When Pat Robertson announced that Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment to New Orleans for its evil homosexual ways, where were the mainstream Christian churches decrying that view as unChristian? After all, given the fact that the areas most identified with homosexual activity were largely spared and the worst damage to life and property occurred in areas much more likely to be “Christian,” the statement seems to say that God is both vengeful and a lousy aim- hardly what most mainstream Christians want to argue. Yet what major denominations have made it their business to contradict such statements? At the time, I looked for some sort of organized statement to that effect from the mainstream denominations (to the public- not in private)-and did not find it.I fear that the mainstream Christians must confront the same taunt which many have thrown at Islam: if you do not actively denounce what you regard as a radical misinterpretation of your religion, you must agree with the radicals. It is somewhat unfair, then, to blame young people for viewing Christianity as a bigoted, hypocritical religion- they see such people setting themselves up as exemplars of the faith, and no one who claims to be a committed Christian denouncing them.

  • JLW

    If mainstream Christianity does not support the rhetoric of the far right wing of the GOP, then I suggest you speak out now and loudly. Otherwise if you don’t speak out ( as you have not over the past 6 years), then you will default as part of the far right wing stance on politics and the insulting anti-christian rhetoric spewing from that group.I am Christian and I speak out against the destructive rhetoric coming from the far right; but I am not a church, I am just a lone individual, crying in the wilderness it seems.

  • jamaltimore

    Extremists are bad no matter what form they take. For one to assume that christians, muslim’s, republican’s or democrats philosophy’s are ALL bad, evil, etc. simply show’s a lack of intellgence. The reality is american’s are too dumb to realize this hence the rally behind “groups and organizations” as a way to blame the machine for them not being able to take control of their own lives. No one want’s to say I’m stupid,weak, lazy and have no skills so it’s much easier to blame Pope john paul and christians for what’s wrong with them. Just as the world is not going to take care of everyone, there are no evil forces making sure specific groups fail. Human rights are trampled all over the world, not by religion or political policies, rather by INDIVIDUAL’s quest for power and wealth. These are HUMAN traits, not the traits of political ideology or religion. If more of us looked for the good in things and others maybe things would be better for all. Instead the wacko’s continue to fight these battles of extreme opinions while the majority of the masses laughs at the stupidity of each. In the meantime press and media make all the money in pushing the agenda’s of all groups to the stupid masses:) Enjoy the idiocracy!

  • LGN

    I believe Rev. Livingston when he says that most Christians in the U.S. do not identify with the extreme religious right. However, his claim that most religious organizations are not far-right strikes me as disingenuous. If you don’t want to be identified with extremists like Ann Coulter, then publicly come out and say so. People mistake your silence for approval. If you want to establish your own identity, make yourselves visible. Don’t just sit back and complain about it.

  • Jonathan E. Brickman

    Mr. Livingston: Amen. The Lord Jesus has called us to love God and all our neighbors, including our enemies, for the purposes of His kingdom and not gain of this world, as our highest priority. Those that do otherwise in His name, are not doing so in His service. I find that this fact will, eventually, become far clearer.Jonathan E. Brickman

  • Jonathan E. Brickman

    Mr. Livingston: Amen. The Lord Jesus has called us to love God and all our neighbors, including our enemies, for the purposes of His kingdom and not gain of this world, as our highest priority. Those that do otherwise in His name, are not doing so in His service. I find that this fact will, eventually, become far clearer.Jonathan E. Brickman

  • Pablo

    I don’t know what you mean by “the media”. I don’t have cable television. When I surf around the channels my antenna recieves, at least half of them are evangelical, including two spanish-speaking channels. When I search my A.M. radio dial in the car, half the stations are Christian stations. Isn’t this “the media” too? In fact isn’t the old stereotype of a liberal, Jewish-controlled media a completely transparent myth at this point?. Christian conservatives have as large a presence in the media as any other ideological block. So are you telling me these aren’t the “real” Christians?

  • ML

    Unfortunately, the more moderate and leftish Christian voices are not heard. The “extreme right” Chritians seem not so extreme and seem to have a great deal of power; as evidence, look at Bush’s success and the fact that most Republican presidential candidates are evolution deniers. If moderate and leftish Christians are so strong in numbers, why isn’t there more emphasis on social morality (e.g. helping those less fortunate) rather than the strong emphasis only on personal morality.

  • couperjohn

    I agree that loudmouth opportunists like Coulter play the media and, in effect, slander/libel most christians by emphasizing power and facetime instad of Jesus. It’s no coincidence that they have a sneaking but very clear mistrust of Jesus, and use the Old Testament overwhelmingly to “support” their claims. I consider them really anti-Christians, in the sense that if Jesus were here now they would spit their ready venom at his inclusive, war-wary message. However, it’s up to Christians to keep their house in order, as Rev. Livingston is clearly trying to do with this essay. Sitting by for decades while people betray your principles as they pretend to speak for them ends up making the lies true, at least by default. So Christians, more than anyone, should respond and object at the same time as they are turning the other cheek.

  • katman

    Yes Ann DOES represent the political religious right in this country and now since finally Americans are seeing how wrong, unethical, destructive and evil these people are they (the people who put Annie on the TV and in the newspaper) are getting scared of the truth.

  • Luke

    Ann Coulter is a person? But she is a woman! How un-Christian of her.

  • Jeff Wagner

    You can be a hell of a lot to the left of Ann Coulter and still be a superstitious, homophobic, anti-Choice wingnut.

  • Rob Bailey

    So you’re not a Leftist? Question for Mr. Livingston: Can anyone be saved from eternal judgement and damnation outside of Jesus??

  • Knowinso Jones

    This broad is a closet queen !!

  • Knowinso Jones

    This broad is a closet queen !!

  • Jan S. Ostrom

    Hello,

  • Pat Mans

    Excellent article! I am catholic and I agree with everything you wrote.Thanks,Pat Mans

  • nordean

    When an Earthquake hits it does not ask the people about their religion. It’s shameful that a country like ours (The U.S.) is still not gotten rid of organized religion. Ann Coulter is just another blind religious person. Using the same religion she could justify everything even her stupid ideas, racism, slavery and War in Iraq regardless of the innocent lives lost everyday in Baghdad!

  • B

    What about Ms Coulter’s appearance, behavior, or personality screams Christian ideals? A nearly fifty year old bachelorette/ party girl with the wardrobe and personality of a dominatrix, she essentially personifies the lifestyle she claims to oppose. “Windbag” by her own self description, she proudly admits to sinking into a funk anytime her writings fail to inspire public criticism (i.e. attention). This is a person seeking attention and nothing more. Why even mention her in a discussion about Christian leadership? Her previous profession as a lawyer hardly makes her an authority on religious scriptures or doctrines of any kind nor does her lifestyle indicate that she takes them seriously if she has in fact ever read them. The same can be said for many of the “Christian Right’s” leading voices including- Dr. Laura Schleisinger, Mr. Limbaugh, etc. These people are political commentators first (not even very good ones at that) and Christians second if at all. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck it’s a duck. They get so much air time for the same reasons that circuses and professional wrestling matches tend to draw larger audiences than a lively public hearing on re-zoning proposals. Pure entertainment value. While there is now, just as there always has been, internal struggle among Christian factions (this tends to happen with just about any large group of people by the way) and public opinion of the Christian community continues to evolve, anyone who can’t separate the antics of Ms. Coulter and her ilk from the actual debate really isn’t smart enough to participate.

  • Will Jones

    “Render unto Caesar…” is inoperative in America because America’s Founders were anti-caesaropapist Whigs who knew “Caesar” was the “King and Pope” of the Ancien Regime – and established Individual Sovereignty of the New Secular Order: Novus Ordo Seclorem.Rome’s Fifth Column is treasonously putting “Caesar” back over us by using the “Italian Solution” to assassinate our leaders, committing false war and reducing us to slaves in our own land.Death for Treason. Coulter, Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Bush, Cheney, Rockefeller, the Romish Church…all guilty.

  • Carolyn Coles

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Rick

    Cambellite/Anon,I join E Fav in praising your moderate brand of Christianity, and also question that you are actually a Christian. You seem to believe in god, but do not seem to accept the core Christian tenet that acceptance of Christ as savior is required for entry into heaven.You seem to be more Budhist than Christian.Please answer the following:Who if any among the following will go to heaven assuming that they love their neighbors and lead exemplary lives in every way: Muslims, atheists, agnostics?Remember Jesus Christ’s words:John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

  • Diddilydo

    Orthodoxy: You and your ilk are the cause of many of the problems in this country.Just go away!

  • omar harvey

    let me get this right. you expectation is for people that practice irrational thought, to somehow think rationally? what if you turned on the television one day and saw two adults having a serious discussion on the powers of superman and what kyrptonite means to him. what if there was a discussion on not giving in to lex luthor…the beauty of life is in the details we’re discovering.

  • John The Baptist

    Well, too damn bad for Christianity and the Christians. It’s waaaaaay too late in the game to be feinging innocense now and trying to run from teh building backlash against the rantings of far right – Zealots who exploited the holier than thou attitude of a lot of the religious right for political and financial gain. Zelots and fanatics like Anne Coulter. Where the hell (excuse the ungodly pun) have you all been for the last 30 years? Enjoying the hell out of every venmous accusation Coulter and her far right ilk hurled at the Clintons, I suspect.Well, to quote a famous author of a famous book: “Ye shall reap what ye shall sow.” OR to be a bit more “folksy,” like those phony far right country folk: When you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.” And So Be It, then. Amen.

  • robert aylward

    “They seek to follow the words and actions of Jesus reminding his followers about taking care of the widow and the orphan, the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked and visiting the prisoner.” The living Jesus, not the resurrected Jesus. But the Christianists to whom you refer focus on the resurrected Jesus, not the living Jesus. And for that, we can thank Paul, about whom Jefferson once commented that Pilate may have killed Jesus’ body, Paul destroyed his soul.

  • X

    Two things:1. There’s way too much emphasis on God with our politics. The founding fathers lived in the age of Enlightenment, their fight for Liberty was political, not religious. Simply put: keep religion and politics separate. Our candidates stand behind their crosses for votes.2. Ann Coulter is a pig.

  • don mikulecky

    This is not new for me. I was very much into Evangelical Religion from the time I graduated college in 1957 until the late 60’s. I was turned off completely by the mixing of right wing politics and religion then. I remember being taken to a convention of the National Association of Evengelicals in Chicaco where Herbert Philbrick (I led three lives-FBI) was the keynote speaker. It was a parody on reality at best. Then, while I was a member and leader of the anti-war/civil rights movement, our family car had bumper stickers ripped off in the church parking lot.I understand your desire for people to see that the radicals are not all of Christianity. However, they did succeed in dominating public life and National Policy. The obvious question is:”Why does their message of fear, hate and intollerance prevail?” It would seem that one conclusion is that the less radical forms of Christianity can not bring about the response they desire. Power corrupts and it is doing that here.Others are not so willing to look at the doctrinal differences among Christian sects.

  • don mikulecky

    This is not new for me. I was very much into Evangelical Religion from the time I graduated college in 1957 until the late 60’s. I was turned off completely by the mixing of right wing politics and religion then. I remember being taken to a convention of the National Association of Evengelicals in Chicaco where Herbert Philbrick (I led three lives-FBI) was the keynote speaker. It was a parody on reality at best. Then, while I was a member and leader of the anti-war/civil rights movement, our family car had bumper stickers ripped off in the church parking lot.I understand your desire for people to see that the radicals are not all of Christianity. However, they did succeed in dominating public life and National Policy. The obvious question is:”Why does their message of fear, hate and intollerance prevail?” It would seem that one conclusion is that the less radical forms of Christianity can not bring about the response they desire. Power corrupts and it is doing that here.Others are not so willing to look at the doctrinal differences among Christian sects.

  • Shane Gallagher

    Finally, an article about the reality of Christians. I couldn’t agree more about the bad reputations that Christians have to bear. I know that as a Christian I’ll face persecution and contempt, but when people feel that Christians are hypocritical and false? Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Holier Than Thou, for the scorning look I receive every time I share what I believe. Stay on the basics, read the Bible and believe and let go of forcing religion, comparing holiness, and dictating what is or isn’t in God’s will for a person. It’s a relationship, not a set of rules.

  • Still Bill

    Correction to X’s comment, I think “philosophical” is more accurate than “political”. But point nicely taken. Not everyone is inclined to believe that God is our guiding force.

  • joe

    Ann Coulter? Ann who? This broad is nothing but a big mouth self promoter who has no qualms on berating any one who disagree with her shallow, selfish outlook of the world. She should not be given unnecessary attention. Ignore her.

  • Calvin

    I grew up on the plains in the midwest, where evangelicals were plentiful if not dominant.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps Dalai Lama can teach us all something. Here Quote His Holieness (see: A scientist from Chile once told me that it is inappropriate for a scientist to be attached to his particular field of study, because that would undermine his objectivity. I am a Buddhist practitioner, but if I mix up my devotion for Buddhism with an attachment to it, my mind will be biased toward it. A biased mind never sees the complete picture, and any action that results will not be in tune with reality. If religious practitioners can heed this scientist’s advice and refrain from being attached to their own faith traditions, it could prevent the growth of fundamentalism. It also could enable such followers to genuinely respect faith traditions other than their own. I often say that while one can adhere to the principle of “one truth, one religion” at the level of one’s personal faith, we should embrace at the same time the principle of “many truths, many religions” in the context of wider society. I see no contradiction between these two.

  • SWheelock

    OK, so Ann Coulter is not representative of Christians–or of most conservatives, for that matter. That’s fine, if true. And when conservatives and Christians start condemning her viewpoints with the same vigor they use to condemn their political adversaries, I’ll refrain from characterizing her as a poster child for the Christian Right. I’d like to say it would be enough just to ignore her and let her blow away into well-deserved anonymity–but the supposedly left-wing media and her right-wing book customers won’t let that happen. So, to paraphrase the old saw: If you ain’t agin’ her, you’re for her.

  • joe

    Ann Coulter? Ann who? This broad is nothing but a big mouth self promoter who has no qualms on berating any one who disagree with her shallow, selfish outlook of the world. She should not be given unnecessary attention. Ignore her.

  • scooter

    Hey Dave McManus: I wanted to comment on your reply to orthdoxy. See below. ====== I eagerly await your condemnation and prayers for my damned soul…He did come accross a bit on the harsh side. He could have stated it better. With more warmth and compasion, yet the gist was correct (in terms of what the message of the Gospel is). Christ himself taught his diciples that there is only one way to the Father (God), and that was through the Son (Jesus). The requirement on our part is simple. Accept the gift of salvation that Christ has extended to us (he died for our sins). We need to nothing more. However, if we don’t accept this gift for whatever reason (perhaps the journey you describe has not lead you to the point where you have made this decision) then you would infact be destroyed by the Lord upon his return to Earth (Second Coming). This isn’t because He wants you to perish or suffer. Quite the contrary. That’s why he came to die so that you may live. The reason those who have not chosen the gift must die is because death is the price for Sin (seperation from God). I’m not claiming to understand why Death is the price a life must pay for this seperation. Many could debate this for a lifetime. If we believe what is written in the Bible then this is the way it is. Also, I don’t feel driven by the need for eternal life out of fear of death. I think any relationship with God based on fear is not based on a solid foundation and would seamingly fail. A true relationship with God should be based on our desire for truth, love, honesty, justice, goodness, etc. etc. These are the things we all desire and can only come to know through a relationship with God. Here’s hoping you do make that decision and that we can meet one day in Heaven to discuss these things. Would be very cool.scooter

  • Gary

    John 14:6 can certainly be understood in other ways than “believing the right things” in order to get into heaven. Jesus actually talked very little of heaven – to him, the “kingdom of God” was an earthly reality. Reductionism of biblical language to meet the needs of fundamentalist theology has eviscerated biblical language. The chief end of Christianity is not to “get people to heaven,” but to enable them to live in God’s grace and love one another (live in the “kingdom of God”). Jesus’ statement may reveal a greater reality, one not tied to first-century Jewish sacrificial practices. Perhaps, as Paul seems to intimate in Romans, it is that the way of Jesus – the Gospel, the good news of God’s grace and love for all people – is the way that all must come to God. In that way, Jesus reveals God’s own suffering nature – a suffering in our behalf – which is the “truth” we live in. Even in John’s Gospel, which is heavy on the theology of Jesus as a vicarous sacrifice, the focus is not on his getting us to heaven through that sacrifice. Jesus’ sacrifice is “for all (pantes),” enabling his continued ministry in the world through the work of the Holy Spirit.

  • robert

    Poor old Abe said:You can please some of the people all of the time.Anyone who doubts that should read the comments in the Washington Post. Whenever I make some all inclusive comment about the Islamic religion in the presence of a liberal, they immediately jump up and state Not ALL Muslims are like that. Of course this is true, as with most generalizations. What I’ve noticed with the liberals is they never make those allowances for Christianity. If I were to make a blatantly exaggerated comments about Christians not one liberal would come to it’s defence. “Selective righteous indignation.” Every religion or political point of view has its fair share of “A@#oles”. But the far right and the far left have damned near cornered the market.I believe in God,

  • spawn

    what a Cu*T Coulter is.

  • Big Daddy Steve

    I think that Christians are willing to accept many whom they disagree with as brothers and sisters in the faith. Not because they want to be associated with hatred and ignorance. no, the truth is that the requirements to be a Christian are not rigid enough:”Whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.”Yes, it’s just way too easy to get into the church. We’ve just got to make it tougher so we can weed-out the undesireables, the windbags, the unrepentent bigots.But that’s why I love the Church. All are welcome, even the ones I don’t particularly like. And even though I think that having a “big-mouth” is a heinous sin, it’s not my job to point it out (or any other sin for that matter). That’s God’s job. I don’t have to worry about what anyone else is doing (though I may not always like it).Once I’m a member, I only have one job: Love.

  • Gary

    By the way, have you noticed that the only ones Jesus ever condemns are the people that want to send everyone else to hell?

  • Frank J Witt

    Micheal, great article. As a Christian and a bible thumper of new I find daily wisdom from Joel Osteen and his congregation. He believes that our GOD is a good GOD and he tells us daily of ways to remember to praise the LORD.

  • Jose

    This sounds neat in theory, but upon what data does our author preach the majority of xtians are in fact different than the extremist views? I’ve heard this same issue yelped about from other religions, but it seems unsupported by data.

  • Jim

    Hey faux-Christians, remember Jesus was a liberal. Do unto others etc. Your homophobic anti immigrant, your-way-or-the-highway views are parallel to that of the Taliban and Fascist Germany. If being gay were “so bad” then way isn’t Dont Be Gay one of the 10 Commandments, eh? You know, the 10 things Christians so desperately need on the walls of schools and lawns of courthouses. I believe those that wear their religion on their sleeves are frauds.And Ann Coulter? Puh-lease. She’s no different than Howard Stern. They say things to shock and surprise and to gain relevance. But yet again, Christians are shocked at what Howard says for fun and accept what Coulter has to say as Fact and Truth.And this is coming from a 33 yr old raised Catholic in MA – now you can understand why I’m so bullsh!t about religion AND politics. Catholic Church is the great hypocrites – hate women and promote pedophila and homosexuality. F’n A. They can all go pound sand and I’LL ANSWER TO THE MAN WHEN AND IF THAT DAY COMES – not by the so called Christian right or some Islamic fundamentalist dirtbag.

  • Chuck Stevenson

    The poor, the least among us? This Jesus fellow must have been a leberal. Gasp!

  • scooter

    Hi Rob Bailey: Good question.Question for Mr. Livingston: Can anyone be saved from eternal judgement and damnation outside of Jesus??Short story is no. Not if you actually believe what Christ himself taught. This isn’t meant to be mean or hurtful or anti-something or other. It’s just the truth. Getting people to fall in love with Christ so that they choose his gift of salvation is our job as Christians. It’s what Jesus asked us to do. I hope you don’t find this offensive, but if so what should I do. Change my beliefs, or His message so you feel better? Wouldn’t that just be a diservice to you? What happens on the day He comes back and those who were never told the truth about Christ’s message look around and say “why didn’t you tell us this message?” Wouldn’t I be equally responsible for you death if I chose not to share because I was too worried about being PC.Just a thought,

  • Nicole

    Thank you! This article was a breath of fresh air. All of the media attention that this riotous bigot receives is harmful to the true Christian community, which is loving and inclusive. You don’t even need to read the Bible or be a Christian to know that this woman is a phony. She is not a Christian and wish she would stop perpetrating as though she is. I don’t even know who Ann Coulter represents–possibly the Aryan nation?Please, put this woman back under the rock from which she crawled.

  • dl

    I suspect there might just be a big need for Government housing in Hades someday.

  • TruthShallSetUsFree

    To Scooter:I have no problem with you believing the way that you do. The problem is when you say things like, “…..desire for truth, love, honesty, justice, goodness, etc. etc. These are the things we all desire and can only come to know through a relationship with God.” How do you know this??? The problem is that rational individuals tend to rely on facts and evidence when you decide to utilize faith. Yet, you are entirely sure that this path is the only way and that, in the absence of evidence, is ridiculous and illogical. It’s like saying, “The Redskins are going to win the Super Bowl this year, because Joe Gibbs believes they can do it and I believe Joe Gibbs to be the best coach in the NFL.” What you’re saying is essentially, “Jesus said so and I believe Jesus to be the 1 true prophet so I’m right and you’re going to burn in hell.” And regarding Ann Coulter, the author skips the fact that she continues to show up on Fox News and receive right wing support. If you don’t want me to associate her with the right wing, then how about you guys on the right stop interviewing her and chastize her beliefs with the same vigor that you do democratic initiatives. Unfortunately, that can’t be done, because a significant portion of the right agrees with her.

  • Still Bill

    “X” might have meant “philosophical” as well as “political”. Either way point taken. It’s offensive to assume all Americans are guided by Divine Providence guiding our political system.We should be religious on our own time.

  • Nicole

    Thank you! This article was a breath of fresh air. All of the media attention that this riotous bigot receives is harmful to the true Christian community, which is loving and inclusive. You don’t even need to read the Bible or be a Christian to know that this woman is a phony. She is not a Christian and I wish she would stop perpetrating as though she is. I don’t even know who Ann Coulter represents–possibly the Aryan nation?Please, put this woman back under the rock from which she crawled.

  • greener_pastures

    What is interesting to me is that during my four years in the Middle East, I would hear Ann Coultergeisty comments from even moderate Muslims: i.e., “We respect Christianity as an Abrahamic faith, but Islam is a perfection of Christianity.” Religion often seems to be just one big daisy chain of bigotry. I am getting sick and tired of all of these “people of faith.”

  • E favorite

    Scooter – you better get busy – there are millions out there who haven’t heard CHrist’s message. You’ve got a responsibility as a christian, right, to spread the word – otherwise you’ll be responsible for their deaths?One wonders why jesus himself couldn’t have devised a better communications system, but as long as he hasn’t, then it sounds like all the good Christians should leave places like the US and head for the corners of the world that Christianity has not adequately penetrated. take plenty of bottled water.

  • TH Williams

    Religion was invented by men in order to create a kleptocracy, i.e. rule by thieves. The Bible, Torah, Koran, Bhagavad Gita and all religious books were written by men to control other men. Wake up humans, you control your own destiny and when you die your remains fertilize the soil for the next generation, period. There is a reason worldwide attendance at religious services declines year after year. Religion is just some people seeking to control weaker people with superstition and outright lies.

  • James

    “Yet come together on such matters as living wage, racism, health care, justice for women, and an unjust war in Iraq,” plus, one need hardly add, practicing meaningful stewardship of the environment and doing something about the grinding and wholly unacceptable level of poverty and disease in the Third World. Perhaps if those two issues where further to the fore of NCC thinking they might hold more appeal to young people? Not that the other issues aren’t important, they are, but some issues reach younger people more readily and those are two of them that clearly did not spring immediately to the writer’s mind – a telling couple of omissions.

  • scooter

    Hi TruthShallSetUsFree: I hear ya. And get what your saying. I’ve struggled with many such questions. But have in a sense decided to “take a leap of faith” and just believe in something that can’t be explained by my limited understanding of the universe alone. Sometimes I waiver about these decisions (Seems normal), but for whatever reason it just feels right or true to me. So I believe. Not sure what else I can say or do about that. So I’m stuck going about it one way only. 100% committed to trying to be more like Christ (seems like I’m at about 1% of that goal most of the time).btw – I can’t stand Ann Coulter either. She’s a nut. Not that I wouln’t offer her food and shelter – Christ still loves her and therefore so should I. But man she drives me nuts. LOL.best wishes,

  • Dana

    tim: – hatred of gaysWhy would I want to be part of it?

  • nek

    I live in a small (pop: 20,000) midwest town which is dotted on every corner with fundamentallist churches. All of our elected city officials are Republicans. Our school boards are dominated by fundamentallist. Recently a friend and I stopped in a local restaurant for pie after we had attended a play. Our waitress was a beautiful young woman wearing an obvious cross necklace who, as we discovered, was pregnant, with her third child.She had two small sons whom she said she was home-schooling. My friend ask her if she was a born-again Christian to which she glowingly replied that she surely was, and added that her parents were good strong Christian people also. Then my friend asked her how she felt about the upcoming 2008 election. She said she didn’t know much about politics but that she trusted that God would give us another good Christian president like George Bush.And then she added that she believed that either Giuliani or Rommeny were good Christian men. Then I ask her how she felt about all the Iraqui people that had died during the war and she said, “Well, that is too bad, but they had attacked us.” This is what Christian values have boiled down to all across America because this is what these fundamentalist are teaching in litle community churches. These born-again Christians are all good people but they are being taught to vote against their own personal best interests as well as the best interests of our country.They do not understand the danger this country faces, and have no way of understanding because they are taught not to question.

  • scooter

    Hi E favorite: LOL – great post. Bottled water. Good one. Make that bottled holy water. Although I’m not Catholic so forget that.=====actually perhaps he did. If you read the gospel you’ll find that the Holy Spirit didn’t decend upon the world until after Christ left. This “sprit” can speak to all of us at the same time. To our hearts. It would seam that while on Earth Christ was limited by his human form and could not accomplish this task as a man. He simply taught his message and then died for our sins (pretty big accomplishment i’d say). Now we have the Holy Spirit to help guide us. Kind of a wild concept. Who knows how it works or to what extent. I read in revelelation or some such prophetic book of the bible years ago about the end times when the spirt will actually leave the earth. These will be dark times. It sounded like the spirit was actually keeping us from killing each other outright. Without it we can’t resist our human tendancies for rage and sin. However, Those who have accepted Christ at this point in time are to be protected. Interesting.scooter

  • infojust4me

    Mr. Livingston,A couple of points. I am not sure that one can cast all the blame on the media for showing or over sensationalizing what Christians have only done to themselves. As a religion, Christians have done an absolutely stellar job in producing their own negative publicity over a consistent period of time. I personally believe it is because they love to point fingers at the “moral decay” in America while overlooking or flat out ignoring the flaws within their own. It has created several VERY high profile embarrassments over the past several decades which religions leaders and politicians got nailed for amoral sins against both God, church, and country. Yes, yes, yes…we all know that we are all human and sin. However, when a person positions themselves as God’s representative, stands on a pulpit, points fingers, tells others not to sin, preaches for others to vote for “moral” politicians, and then run around doing some of the most amoral acts known…how can detractors, non-believers, or people sitting on the fence NOT run away? It totally wrecks the reputation of everyone and no offense, but you are crying about what all group or organization cry about when tried in the court of public opinion. Christians really did have this coming to them. Finally, I believe another backfire would be the roll of the church in politics. Bottom line…the GOP has used you as a tool for their political gains. They didn’t even really have to do much work. All they did was tell Christians they wanted to hear. They sold them on being morally sound, responsible candidates that are fiscally responsible, strong on defense, against gay anything, pro-life, and believe in God. Christians sucked it up like a black hole and based their votes on morals that change with the winds of time. You see…the GOP recognized long ago the amount of sway that religions leaders have over their congregation and used them to spread their message of support. As long as a person running for office read from the worn script, he/she had guaranteed votes irregardless of qualifications. I can’t tell you the number of times I have sat in church and heard pastors use their pulpit and influence for thinly veiled, yet inappropriate political messages and endorsements. I am Christian and it enrages me.So while you make some very good and valid points, it really does seem like a cry over spilt milk. I mean no offense, but am I the only one to find it a wry irony that you are making the same exact point that peaceful Muslims make when they state that terrorists and extremist are giving their religion a bad name? Is it also ironic that Christians hindered ability to do anything about also mirrors Muslims? The Ann Coulter’s of the world are not openly condoning and organizing violence upon others, that true. But the venom that spews forth from her mouth can be seen as just as damaging as everything else that I listed above. Radical is radical, whether it is to the left or to the right, Muslim or Christian.All the same, thank you for your opinion.

  • scooter

    Hi NEKYou know your post would have seemed nuts to me had I not visited a baptist church in the deep south recently. I was very troubled. They had american flags flying all over the place. Big screen tvs with Bush, burning twin towers, american troops (in combat no less), etc. all being displayed over and over again DURING THE SERVICE. The entire thing reaked of a political rally. I wanted to grab my kids and get the heck out of there. My folks are members so I tried to balance their feelings with my disdain for what I observed. Anyway. I think there are places who really are preaching politics under the guise of christianity. And it’s bad. No if ands or butts about it. scooter

  • Alaska-reader

    This article is a breath of air in an increasingly constricted airway. Mr. Livingston makes an accurate point about the mainstream media’s proclivity to highlight extremist viewpoints but did not excoriate them enough in terms of how the quest for “sales through sensationalism” has skewed the national debate as well as the national image.Celebration of diversity? We can agree that this arguably is an American value, but history shows us that we have been anything but, right from the beginning, in practice. Slavery, voting rights for the landed gentry only, religious bias and burning of accused witches, ethnic bias and race wars both above and below the radar, inluding extermination of Native Americans. And this is quite aside from the violent political manipulation, suffering and death we have supported or caused in other nations in the past 100 years.We are not stupid, nor are we blind. Young people today especially need actions to match the wordplay they hear. The media of today is not just news organizations. It is as much a forum for news as it has become a place to engage in narcissim and BS at length, particularly so online. Witness online video uploads of banal and mindless content and hundreds of forums and blogs where disorganized, stream of consciousness (and often pointlessly vulgar) expression is the order of the day. This must change if we are to recover, or build anew, a national compass of caring and well being, not to mention setting an example in the western world. Otherwise, the rest of the world will be correct in continuing to condemn our apparently insular American attitudes and lack of engagement, regardless of the quality of life that presently exists in many of our communities.

  • Bucinka

    Folks, I just want to remind you all that, in 1980, the GOP was badly fractionated, groping for a leader. There were seven men seeking the presidential nomination against Jimmy Carter. (Remember Lamar Alexander and his plaid shirt?) And the eventual nominee invited Jerry Falwell, Cal Thomas and the Moral Majority right into the GOP, whereupon they grew like a cancer, proceeding to impose litmus tests on candidates (abortion was the big issue of the time) and generally dictate most planks in the platform of a party Barry Goldwater shuddered to recognize. Those people are responsible for the blurring of the line between church and state, the growth of the vast right-wing conspiracy Hillary rants about (and if there’s any doubt about its existence, just look at all the names you folks have posted on this board–Gary Bauer, Ralph Reed, James Dobson, and on and on, they’re all part of it), and the single biggest cause of the biggest cultural divide in this country I’ve ever seen in my life. If any of you are the least bit puzzled about why uniting church and state in a theocracy would be a bad thing, I suggest you get out your copy of “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood (NOT the movie, the book) and re-read it. And if you’ve never read it, read it. Over and over if necessary.Who invited the Moral Majority into the GOP? Why, Ronald Reagan, of course. This is his legacy. The chickens are now coming home to roost.

  • Centurion68

    All of you people on here complaining about your inclusive religion being hijacked by the Robertsons, Falwells, and Dobsons of the world need to re-examine Christianity and what Christ really taught. Yes, Christ taught us to love one another as ourselves. He also taught that He did not abolish the law but fulfills it and the Bible also is quite clear that not all will be saved. Paul also wrote about wishing his own people, the Jews, would come to know Christ! What Coulter said is quite Biblical for anyone. When the lost truly come to Christ, the new has come, the old is gone and we are perfected in Him. She wasn’t saying that we are perfect in all we do, but that the Father sees us as perfect through the redeeming blood of Christ. The only way to heaven is by faith in Christ, not works. And unfortunately, not everyone will go. Read the entire New Testament people, not just the cut and paste versions that ignore the warnings against sin and its consequences. Christ Jesus is not some cream puff, wishy washy God who allows anyone into heaven no matter what…many will suffer in the lake of fire if they do not know Him. Sorry if you don’t like that, but thats quite clearly in the Bible, no ifs ands or butts about it.

  • scooter

    to Bucinka: good post. any suggestions for a solution? I’m all ears.s

  • B

    What about Ms Coulter’s appearance, behavior, or personality screams Christian ideals? A nearly fifty year old bachelorette/ party girl with the wardrobe and personality of a dominatrix, she essentially personifies the lifestyle she claims to oppose. “Windbag” by her own self description, she proudly admits to sinking into a funk anytime her writings fail to inspire public criticism (i.e. attention). This is a person seeking attention and nothing more. Why even mention her in a discussion about Christian leadership? Anyone with a brain can see that she barely qualifies as a Christian much less as a leader within the community. Her previous profession as a lawyer hardly makes her an authority on religious scriptures or doctrines of any kind nor does her lifestyle indicate that she takes them seriously if she has in fact ever read them. The same can be said for many of the “Christian Right’s” leading voices including- Dr. Laura Schleisinger, Mr. Limbaugh, etc. These people are political commentators first (not even very good ones at that) and Christians second if at all. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck it’s a duck. They get so much air time for the same reasons that circuses and professional wrestling matches tend to draw larger audiences than a lively public hearing on re-zoning proposals. Pure entertainment value. While there is now, just as there always has been, internal struggle among Christian factions (this tends to happen with just about any large group of people by the way) and public opinion of the Christian community continues to evolve, anyone who can’t separate the antics of Ms. Coulter and her ilk from the actual debate really isn’t smart enough to participate.

  • nek

    Good post, Buncinka:In my small fundamentalist town, of which I spoke, the newspaper removed Molly Ivens (and Oliphant) because readers found her offensive and now we get to read Cal Thomas regularly. We need to all ‘BANG THE POTS for Molly’.

  • ahsen ateve

    i dont expect anything more than this from the washington post. this guy sounds like one of your reporters. i bet he loves america, israel, george bush with the same passion he loves gene robinson;s lifestyle, osama bin laden’s frustration and columbias right to invite ahmadinajab.

  • E favorite

    Scooter, thanks for getting back to me. You didn’t really answer my question – if you think God has given Christians a responsibility to spread the word, why don’t you become a missionary? Also, you say, “He simply taught his message and then died for our sins (pretty big accomplishment I’d say).”I don’t think so. First of all, he was only dead three days and now he’s living forever in heaven. Not a bad deal. Also, these sins of ours that he supposedly died for were given to us at birth without us having any say in the matter/ The sins were compliments of Jesus’ father, God, for the sin our supposed original ancestors committed when they ate a forbidden apple. And even though Jesus died for our sins, we still supposedly go to hell if we never heard of him (because not enough Christians got around to tell us), or if hearing this story, we decide it sounds implausible and decide not to believe it. I never gave all of this much thought until a couple of years ago, but when I did, it sounded completely implausible, so I stopped believing. Not before doing a lot of research though, and finding out these stories are myths with no evidence to indicate that they are factual.Campbellite – nice piece on the gospels

  • scooter

    E fav. thanks for the post. i think I should get out there as a missionary. would be hard to pull up and bring an entire fam to some part of the world. so I’m doing some small things around here. like talk to you. perhaps that’s just making me feel better and not doing much else.I get the impression that seperation from God is actually MORE painful than human death (temporary, not eternal). But yes. Good point. Why did Jesus not have to die forever? Great question. I’ll have to think on that one. The part about eternal death in the end for those who never heard the message does stink. Seems unfair. But what is fair anyway. God didn’t cause the seperation from man. Man choose this path. The ramifications of that decision are on Adam’s shoulders. He knew that. God did forgive him, but the consequences were still real and had to occur. I get the impression that we’re on a big stage for all to see (heavenly hosts – whoever they are). God could have wiped Sin away by killing Lucifer right away. But that would have only proved Lucifer’s point and sowed the seeds of doubt among all of God’s creations. God had to let these terrible events occur so all would know the results of sin. For all time. Becuase later down the road (think big) we will still have the opportunity to sin (seperate ourselves from God), but we will (or should) choose not to beacuse we will know without a doubt what the consequence of that action would be (that was one long runon sentence – don’t let my grade school teacher read this). So a few billion people die as a result (awful yes – terrible yes – worse than loosing all of God’s creations to sin for all time? No). God would love to have us all make it home, but this can most likely not happen. It will be very sad, for all time.peace and blessings (stole that from a guy that flipped hamburgers at a lunch spot – he’d say – shout – that to everyone and they all loved it)

  • numi

    Excellent. Keep it coming, Ann. Nothing drives people away from religion quite like your delusional, hate-filled ranting.If only there were more like Dobson and Robertson and Roberts and Perkins and Coulter and Colson and . . . my fingers are tiring.Religion is all bunk and the kids are seeing right through it. Happy days.No gods – no masters.

  • michael shimansky

    amen

  • skeptimal

    “I don’t believe the media is the culprit. For so many years, “Christians” have allowed themselves to be represented by the Pat Robertsons, Jerry Falwells and James Dobsons of the world. Ann Coulter is but an extension of their views.” – Ken PekieI agree, Ken. The Muslims say that they embrace a peaceful religion, but the deafening silence from the Muslim community in the face of terrorism puts the lie to that statement.In the same way, there should have been demonstrations in the streets when Robertson and Falwell blamed America for the 9/11 attack, saying that god had rolled back his protection because we weren’t superstitious enough. As the Christian Taliban does its work undermining American liberties, the silence from the majority of Christian churches is damning.

  • nek

    It strikes me as odd: Scooter’s hell may be full of good people while heaven may be enhabited by those who destroyed the earth.Could it be we need a new definition of sin? Or perhaps our idea of heaven and hell is upside down.

  • Scott L.

    I’m not a blogger, and now I know why. People like Reza have me scratching my head. Let me besuccinct: Reza – live your life your own way, let me live mine my way. I could care less what you do or what or believe in, and I hope you would feel the same. Oh, but that’s the catch. You can’t help but insert your religious view of the world onto others. Foam at the mouth all you want, you only reinforce my point.If you were in a restaurant and overhead someone ordering their dinner, and if by chance you didn’t care for what they were ordering, you would lean over and tell them how wrong they are to eat that. Then you would insisit they eat only what you approve. Why would you do that? Why? Why? Why? And then you would spin it and say that person is trying to impose their choice of food on you and call it Christian bashing.

  • Craig

    smarty posted:Indeed, there is no comparison. I don’t think OBL ever suggested dropping a nuclear weapon on his own people, as Pat Robertson once did.'”In interviews with the author of a book critical of the United States Department of State, Robertson made suggestions that the explosion of a nuclear weapon at State Department Headquarters would be good for the country, and repeated those comments on the air. “What we need is for somebody to place a small nuke at Foggy Bottom,” Robertson said during his television program, referring to the location of the State Department headquarters.’

  • Campbellite

    Nek, I think you’re right. Popular ideas of sin, salvation, heaven, godhood are upside down. If we use our common sense and reread the old “sacred” texts with new scholarship and new eyes, we’ll discover it doesn’t say what we thought it said. And when we realized what it *really* says, the world will start to change for the better. That’s my hope, anyway.

  • Anonymous

    Ted.

  • WTCSurvivor

    Thank you for your wonderful piece, reminding us of true Christian values–concern for our fellow citizens, quiet faith, humility. This last trait has completely disappeared from view in these days of loud, angry, chest-thumping religious domination that is indeed wildly aided and abetted by the media. Whenever the Republicans and their evangelical mouthpieces have the nerve to talk about values, think of these who represent them: Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter. Not the best human beings among us. And certainly not representatives of any heart-felt true Christianity.

  • NAB:

    Unless Christians can somehow get around the words of Jesus when he says, “Amen, amen I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of the water and Spirit”, then the only way to separate yourselves from people such as Ann Coulter is to join a non-Christian religion, or abandon religion altogether.

  • Jim M

    Why Blame media for focusing on Coulter, et al?The media only plays what sells. If Coulter sells, more than so called moderate christian views and beliefs. Since Coulter’s belief system sells is because so many christians empathize and believe likewise. If there wasn’t a market, it wouldn’t sell. The fact that I hate McDonalds food does not change the fact that many more people in this country consider it fine dining.The majority of self proclaimed christians believe just as Ann Coulter does. Sick, but true.

  • E favorite

    Scooter – hold it! Did man choose the path? An all-knowing, all-loving God put two innocent, ignorant people in the Garden of Eden, told them to avoid the fruit of one tree and when they disobeyed, he marked all his people for all time with original sin which would condemn them to a burning hell for eternity, unless they believed in his son, whom he sent to earth 1,000’s of years later in the form of a small-town carpenter. This son, according to an edict from his loving father, the creator of the universe, could only save humanity by suffering and dying for us, all of which God helpfully arranged. And you say man chose the path? In terms of your missionary work, while I’m enjoying our conversation, I’m hardly conversion bait. I’m long gone and not coming back — unless perhaps you’ve got a new denomination that drops the supernatural, drops eating flesh and drinking blood, even symbolically, and includes all the great old music, with all the “God’s and Jesus’” removed.

  • Tom D

    I’m struck by the amount of condemnatory language included in some of the posts. That’s sad, and does little (it seems to me) to advance the conversation about the role that faith plays in the public marketplace.I myself am Catholic and figured I’d throw in my two cents. First of all, Gary, I was intrigued and inspired by your words of wisdom; your congregation is blessed to have you as pastor. As to the question of who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, a few things seem pretty incontrovertible to me: 1) God makes the final call on heaven; 2) hell is a choice, not a place, and the choice is a clear and defiant ‘No’ to God and all that is good; 3) nowhere in scripture can one find anything binding people to believe that certain people – or any people – are in fact in hell. To paraphrase the Jesuit priest and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Christians must believe that hell exists because they must believe that they have the free will to choose God (or, not choose God). However, hell’s existence does not require Christians to believe that anyone is in hell.Peace to all.

  • Tom D

    I’m struck by the amount of condemnatory language included in some of the posts. That’s sad, and does little (it seems to me) to advance the conversation about the role that faith plays in the public marketplace.I myself am Catholic and figured I’d throw in my two cents. First of all, Gary, I was intrigued and inspired by your words of wisdom; your congregation is blessed to have you as pastor. As to the question of who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, a few things seem pretty incontrovertible to me: 1) God makes the final call on heaven; 2) hell is a choice, not a place, and the choice is a clear and defiant ‘No’ to God and all that is good; 3) nowhere in scripture can one find anything binding people to believe that certain people – or any people – are in fact in hell. To paraphrase the Jesuit priest and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Christians must believe that hell exists because they must believe that they have the free will to choose God (or, not choose God). However, hell’s existence does not require Christians to believe that anyone is in hell.Peace to all.

  • Tom D

    I’m struck by the amount of condemnatory language included in some of the posts. That’s sad, and does little (it seems to me) to advance the conversation about the role that faith plays in the public marketplace.I myself am Catholic and figured I’d throw in my two cents. First of all, Gary, I was intrigued and inspired by your words of wisdom; your congregation is blessed to have you as pastor. As to the question of who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, a few things seem pretty incontrovertible to me: 1) God makes the final call on heaven; 2) hell is a choice, not a place, and the choice is a clear and defiant ‘No’ to God and all that is good; 3) nowhere in scripture can one find anything binding people to believe that certain people – or any people – are in fact in hell. To paraphrase the Jesuit priest and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Christians must believe that hell exists because they must believe that they have the free will to choose God (or, not choose God). However, hell’s existence does not require Christians to believe that anyone is in hell.Peace to all.

  • Rev. K. Gordon White

    Ms. Coulter is representative of those who use religion to justify their prejudices against anyone different from them – whether that difference be that of religion, gender, race, class, sexual orientation or whatever else makes each of us uniquely made in God’s image. I find it incredible & very dangerous that anyone who calls themselves a Christian forgets that Jesus was a Jew whose closest companions were men who he obviously loved. Most conservative Christians would deny the possibility that Jesus’ affection for the men around him might reflect an homosexual orientation. Michael Livingston’s voice is countering that misplaced hatred of those

  • NAB:

    Tom D:I could be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure your Apostles Creed says that Catholics must believe in the resurrection of the physical body and it’s reunion to the soul on the day of final judgement. While I suppose it’s possible that hell might be empty it seems like it will still definitely be a ‘place’, just as heaven will be a ‘place’. You have to have a place to put physical bodies.

  • Rev. K. Gordon White

    This is my only time of responding to Michael Livingstone’s position of reinterating the major Christian perspective of honoring all persons irrespective of orientation. Anyone claiming to be religious who denies the validity of other world religions is displaying their ignorance and prejudice. In our personal lives, each of us needs to befriend those who have become the victims of hatred from those with misdirected anger.

  • Will Jones

    “Anyone claiming to be religious who denies the validity of other world religions is displaying their ignorance and prejudice. In our personal lives, each of us needs to befriend those who have become the victims of hatred from those with misdirected anger.”I beg to differ. Ann Coulter’s anti-American and Nazi perspective was shaped by her upbringing as a virulent, authentic Roman Catholic of the organization identified by America’s Founder, Thomas Jefferson, as “the real Anti-Christ.” Americans bearing witness to the treason, chaos, perversion, assassination, false war, unconstitutional money and political corruption visited upon Our Nation by Rome’s Fifth Column are more than justified to share Mr. Jefferson’s Whig values recognizing that Rome’s pedophile priesthood is, institutionally, not a valid path to the G-d of Creation – denotation of religion. While in the not-so-distant past Rome’s agents killed Meriwether Lewis and Abraham Lincoln, their success then failed to quench their thirst for blood and Our Republic, and they are now promoting illegal immigration, NAFTA, and much more atrociously, have committed 9/11 through their multi-generational alliance with the Rockefeller-front Bush Crime Family, to secure Roman Catholic BIG OIL under the regime of the Vatican-banker Rockefellers and Council on Foreign Relations.Ann Coulter is “Moll” for the Fifth Column of Rome which financed the rise of Nazism, and murdered King and Kennedy. They’ve done 9/11 to send us to die for Saudi “princes,” heroin and oil.Death for Treason. G-d is not mocked.May America be Blessed, once more, True Americans pray.

  • John Hayes

    Wan’t Ann Coulter just telling the truth without cutting it with political correctness. While Christians may “respect” other religions and as their sacred texts, they’re sure that heaven will only welcome those that accept Jesus Christ. It’s a bit hypocritical to have respect for someone’s religion in one breath, and in the next suggest that God will not welcome them unless they convert, or was it perfect, their beliefs.

  • Roy, Chiapas Mexico

    Blaming the media for the image of Christians “as judgmental, hypocritical, old-fashioned and too political” is the easy way out. A true Christian would be proactive in taking back Christianity from it hijackers like Dobson, Robertson, Craig, Haggard, Vitter et. el. like a true Christian would stand up against a prolonged and immoral war.Mainstream Christians are just too watered down to really make any impact on important world issues like the war and global warming. Their extremist fringe is very good at using Rovian tactics to get things done. Maybe Jesus needs Rove on his side.

  • E favorite

    Tom D: “hell is a choice, not a place, and the choice is a clear and defiant ‘No’ to God and all that is good”So, in your opinion, and/or the opinion of your church, what happens after death to an atheist who clearly and emphatically says “No” to God but is a good, compassionate, generous, tolerant (assuming that’s a good thing), law abiding member of society?

  • David Schoeller-Diaz

    I think it is very clear that many of her opinions do not accurately represent the views of Christians, Republicans, or even a substantial amount of the Christian right. As a strong believer of the value of free speech and open debate in a society, I would not call for her comments to be quieted, even if I find many of them tremendously divisive and unnecessarily hurtful for the national debate. Nonetheless, it is bewildering to me that she is so frequently presented as a qualified pundit on the media, in particular conservative channels like Fox news. It there was a true interest in the media for a more constructive and elevated debate on important issues, or at the very least a desire to better represent Conservative views, then please give her less air time. This is both the fault of Liberal media that sometimes amuses itself with the barbarities that Mrs. Coulter often says, and Conservative media that may enjoy having someone express views they are not allowed to. In any case, and whatever the reasons, she does not need, nor deserve the amount of airtime she is receiving.

  • Lou Williams

    The future of the Christian RightThe consequences of the sexual abuse were severe. First there was the initial suffering the children endured. Then there was the economic hardship imposed on the Church. Finally there was the suffering the children and others endured after the initial abuse. Many were shunned for speaking out. Others turned to drinking, drugs, sexual promiscuity, and even suicide.

  • Peter

    E. Favorite,You asked “what happens after death to an atheist who clearly and emphatically says “No” to God but is a good, compassionate, generous, tolerant, law abiding member of society?”My answer is based on the Reformed doctrine of common grace: an atheist who from the heart is a good, compassionate, generous, tolerant, law-abiding individual is not “clearly and emphatically saying no” to the real God, but just to the caricature of “God” that he/she assumes, based on experience or what others have told him/her about God. The real God has been working through that atheist to be good, compassionate, generous, tolerant, etc. If an atheist is doing these things from the heart, that atheist is doing the will of God. God loves that atheist and is drawing that atheist towards Godself, even if the atheist does not intellectually “believe in” God.Bless your heart, friend, for asking the tough questions.

  • E favorite

    Peter – thanks for your response. Does that atheist you describe go to heaven, despite rejecting god?Also, what if that same atheist actively states rejection of any and all Gods – whether perceived by believers to be “real” or a “caricature?” Do you think God counts that atheist as doing His will?Tom D — I’d like to hear your response too, to the original question

  • JKJ88

    We are supposed to have freedom of religion AND freedom from religion. When government and religion get too cozy with each other, as they currently are now, you ultimately weaken both.

  • Henry Weiner

    Dear Reverend,I found your article most interesting and more importantly, very uniting. As a practicing Jew I yearn for anything that will unite us as Americans rather than divide us as religious ideologues. If only we could promote that better in the media.Thank you very much.Henry Weiner

  • All Fundies Please Go Away

    BONNIE JACKSON wrote: I’ve often felt that the religion (Christianity) that I grew up with has been hijacked in the last 15 years by some of the most mean-spirited people. I agreed. See my comments below. Not only was religion hijacked, so was the GOP.K wrote: As long as any of you are saying “this is a christian country”, found by christians and for christians, you’re going to get resistance from large numbers of people – not just the atheists.Agreed. That is probably THE BIG LIE of evangelical fundies, used to justify their efforts to insert their version of doctrine into public law via the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). The ADF was set up by what I call the American Taliban (AT) of Dobson, Robertson, Falwell, Haggard, et al.IMO, Coulter is a total whack job, saying outrageous things purposefully in order to get airtime, ratings, and of course, money. She should be ignored totally.As for what happened to the GOP and religion in America, my opinion is: the same thing has happened to them both, the same thing that happened to Iran, to Afghanistan, to the Weimar Republic. They were hijacked by radical fanatics who want everyone’s blood on their sword as they seek to purify their nation of some perceived stain or sin. And yes, they are very mean spirited people, to be avoided like the plague. They are zealots, the stuff that bring catastrophe and debacle, like Nazi Germany, like Islamic fundies. The USA’s own evangelical fundies out on the far right are foaming at the mouth. If haters like Robertson and Falwell could have their way, America would burn gays alive at the stake, like the old Puritans did to witches in Salem, MA. Falwell is gone now, I hope the others of that ilk follow soon enough. They are a pox on us all.”Nothing raises money more than hate…” Ron Kaufman, GOP Fundraiser

  • ERD

    When you cited the fact that OVER HALF of the members of the National Council of Churches USA do not ordain women, you lost my sympathetic ear. Frankly, I am insulted that you have chosen that statistic to present the organization you lead in a positive light, especially when you are trying to convince us that the majority of American Christians are far more tolerant and inclusive than the media-darlings of the Christian Right.

  • ERD

    When you cited the fact that OVER HALF of the members of the National Council of Churches USA do not ordain women, you lost my sympathetic ear. Frankly, I am insulted that you have chosen that statistic to present the organization you lead in a positive light, especially when you are trying to convince us that the majority of American Christians are far more tolerant and inclusive than the media-darlings of the Christian Right.

  • ERD

    When you cited the fact that OVER HALF of the members of the National Council of Churches USA do not ordain women, you lost my sympathetic ear. Frankly, I am insulted that you have chosen that statistic to present the organization you lead in a positive light, especially when you are trying to convince us that the majority of American Christians are far more tolerant and inclusive than the media-darlings of the Christian Right.

  • ERD

    When you cited the fact that OVER HALF of the members of the National Council of Churches USA do not ordain women, you lost my sympathetic ear. Frankly, I am insulted that you have chosen that statistic to present the organization you lead in a positive light, especially when you are trying to convince us that the majority of American Christians are far more tolerant and inclusive than the media-darlings of the Christian Right.

  • ERD

    When you cited the fact that OVER HALF of the members of the National Council of Churches USA do not ordain women, you lost my sympathetic ear. Frankly, I am insulted that you have chosen that statistic to present the organization you lead in a positive light, especially when you are trying to convince us that the majority of American Christians are far more tolerant and inclusive than the media-darlings of the Christian Right.

  • ERD

    When you cited the fact that OVER HALF of the members of the National Council of Churches USA do not ordain women, you lost my sympathetic ear. Frankly, I am insulted that you have chosen that statistic to present the organization you lead in a positive light, especially when you are trying to convince us that the majority of American Christians are far more tolerant and inclusive than the media-darlings of the Christian Right.

  • ED

    When you cited the fact that OVER HALF of the members of the National Council of Churches USA do not ordain women, you lost my sympathetic ear. Frankly, I am insulted that you have chosen that statistic to present the organization you lead in a positive light, especially when you are trying to convince us that the majority of American Christians are far more tolerant and inclusive than the media-darlings of the Christian Right.

  • JoeT

    while we’re on the subject of Coulter’s crowd, I just heard Dr. Laura comment on the wonderful people of San Diego at the evacuation stadium and how they are doing a marvelous job of helping each other without waiting for the government and feeling all warm and fuzzy about how their neighbors are stepping up to the plate. Then she contrasted that with the crowd at the Superdome in New Orleans who couldn’t think of anything better to do than loot, complain about the lack of help and blame Bush. Even Bush is saying there’s no comparison, but unless Dr. Laura is suggesting that hot humid weather explains the different responses, she has just made the worst kind of bigoted racist remark.

  • jim filyaw

    i agree with mr. livingston’s assessment of ms. coulter, that what she promotes is sick and twisted and has little or nothing to do with what jesus christ taught. but, he misses a greater and to me, a more sinister point. although what coulter, hagee, dodson et al spout doesn’t comport with what mr. livingston believes, it is the face of fundamentalist, right wing political christianity. one hagee or robertson church probably has more fannies (and more voters) in it than a thousand of the “main line” congregations who agree with livingston. like it or not, the falwells and the hagees have a more legitimate claim to be the main line of american religious belief today. what we are seeing is gresham’s law as it applies to religion: the bad has driven out the good. those who hold that christianity is the doctrine of the mild, the merciful and the caring are the fringe of modern religious thought.

  • jim filyaw

    i agree with mr. livingston’s assessment of ms. coulter, that what she promotes is sick and twisted and has little or nothing to do with what jesus christ taught. but, he misses a greater and to me, a more sinister point. although what coulter, hagee, dodson et al spout doesn’t comport with what mr. livingston believes, it is the face of fundamentalist, right wing political christianity. one hagee or robertson church probably has more fannies (and more voters) in it than a thousand of the “main line” congregations who agree with livingston. like it or not, the falwells and the hagees have a more legitimate claim to be the main line of american religious belief today. what we are seeing is gresham’s law as it applies to religion: the bad has driven out the good. those who hold that christianity is the doctrine of the mild, the merciful and the caring are the fringe of modern religious thought.

  • Tony Romero

    You know, I have a somewhat stock answer for attractive, ultra-conservative talking-head fundamentalists-who-wouldn’t-know-a-scriptual-fundamental-if-it-fell-from-the-sky Republicans who consistently stir the neo-con-fascist pot with their venom and bile – and I would be honored to take this opportunity to address Ann Coulter as an Episcopalian-Jew Democrat –

  • Jesus died for your sins

    Yep, Jesus died for the sins of bush (though bush’s sins are likely not fully covered).Jesus also died for the sins of all the racist, bigoted, bush supporting, republican, “good christian” southern and mid western, red-state, red necks,AND little annie coulter (who really can’t be blamed; she’s just another run-of-the-mill, white-trash hick – just like cheney).

  • Jesus died for your sins

    Yep, Jesus died for the sins of bush (though bush’s sins are likely not fully covered).Jesus also died for the sins of all the racist, bigoted, bush supporting, republican, “good christian” southern and mid western, red-state, red necks,AND little annie coulter (who really can’t be blamed; she’s just another run-of-the-mill, white-trash hick – just like cheney).2nd try.

  • K

    A quote from Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer is instructive here: “The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not. “You can deny Ann Coulter and Dobson et al are representative of your “real” religion, just as the muslims can deny the extremists represent theirs … but this isn’t really the battle you are losing with the youth. It’s not the reason I never bought your stories, no, there is a much larger reason.You Christians aren’t losing the youth because they think you’re all Ann Coulters, you’re losing the youth because they think you are silly.

  • crispin sartwell

    let me say this. i am not a christian and i am not a conservative. but the basic stance of the livingston piece is pitiful. “religious” people of this ilk are marked by mellow benevolent friendliness to all and by an almost complete inability to think. what does it mean to be a christian? well in the new testament and throughout the tradition, it means to accept jesus as the savior and as the only means to redemption. obviously this directly contradicts the doctrines of more or less all other religions. if a ‘christian’ sort of in a friendly way thinks that all these religions are true, this can only be in a complete transcendence of basic logic or in its rejection or simply in a kind of ignorance of the basic structures that make human thought, and the attempt to get at the truth, possible. it’s exactly as though you both endorsed and opposed the iraq war simultaneously, both ways around with real enthusiasm, both ways around as organizing your political life. to say that you shouldn’t listen to folks like these is redundant: once they’re throwing out the extreme explicit contradictions, they have created a set of sentences which it is literally impossible to believe. they don’t believe it. they can’t expect you to believe it. coulter simply has the guts actually to be a christian, to declare frankly that she meets the absolutely minimal conditions to be a believer; the folks that wrote that livingston believes everything, hence nothing at all. obviously, things like consistency or commitment make you a raving reactionary who ought to be suppressed. on the other hand, being a raving reactionary is a lot better than to be a tub of goo incapable of rudimentary ratiocination.

  • Anonymous

    Wow – I didn’t expect my comments to lead this far, but it’s good that people are thinking and talking.As to whether an atheist – or anyone who doesn’t fall into what some might consider a traditional denomination or faith – would make it into heaven, I have to reiterate one of my earlier points; namely, that God makes the final call. I say that not to be snarky, just to get back to basics and remind myself that I’m not a real arbiter in the whole process. (An aide and abetter to people living good and holy lives? I hope so.)More specifically, each of us has to act according to our conscience; each of has to choose freely, and that includes choosing to believe in and follow God. This path cannot be one of compulsion. I think it is safe to say that all of us know someone – maybe several someones – who have not had an experience of God, and so the very notion of being a believer is not merely foreign to them, but beyond the pale. For those of us who claim the name Christian, it’s our task to witness to the love of God – and our experience of God – in such a way that people feel inspired to ask questions and want to know more. Jesus’ words come to mind: “See how they love one another.”Another note about atheists – strictly speaking, they don’t reject God, because they don’t believe in God in the first place. They reject believing in God. Now I know I might sound like I’m splitting hairs, but I think it matters. Think about it this way: if you have had an experience of God – a conversion of some sort, let’s say – then you have within you a powerful sense of how God can and will guide you to live out of love for Him and others. If you have not had that experience, well, you aren’t explicitly rejecting God simply by saying that you don’t think God exists. Rather, you are being honest to your own experience and acknowledging that based on your own subjective field of observations, you cannot claim a theistic belief.Now let’s all pray for each other – and witness to each other.

  • Bob Revitte

    Good observation that is shared by many Christians. Rev. Livingston could have made a stronger case for his opinion if he had included some 60 million Catholic in this country who are puzzled by the far right and people such as Ann Coulter. The preachings of these people is not a message heard from the pulpits of Catholic churches or read in Catholic opinion publications.

  • ray

    Nice try, Michael.I’ve been to church recently. There are definitely some nice people there, but there are an awful lot of Bush/Cheney bumper stickers, fish insignias, and abortion is murder signs. Christianity is just another wing of the Republican Party. Glad to see the youngsters catching on. Have you caught Steven Baldwins “muscular Christianity” act. The hero fo the stupid.

  • niki

    Christians have no one to blame but themselves. They neglected to speak up while this particular group took over our national consciousness. They are just as guilty of silence as American Muslims after 9/11. It is not the media’s fault…I also question whether most Christian Americans are that loving and accepting. I remember an Episcopalian in the small Texas town I was living in telling me that she believed Bill and Hillary Clinton really did kill Vince Foster. I have witnessed a whole slew of uncomfortable “Christian” behavior since our current President’s ascension.I would like to say that I am not an atheist, just uncomfortable with “Christian” religions as practiced and preached these days.

  • K

    Anonymous: this atheist doesn’t reject “G”od, as you have correctly said, I reject gods, any of them, all of them. This doesn’t mean I “believe” that they don’t exist, I don’t reach into my brain far enough to make the effort to actually positively believe that they don’t exist.Why you should think your God is any more or less likely than any of the other gods humanity has claimed to exist is a very curious thing to me.All of them were wrong, and you’re right? All of the humans before the bronze age jews wrote their “old testament” as we sort of know it … all of them are in hell?You happen to have been born in a time in history and a country that allows you to believe in the right God, while the remainder of humanity born in other times and in many other countries where they indocrinate their children with different god(s) are just screwed?Can you see how silly this is?And this experience of God you suggest, were something like that to happen to me I would have to wonder who slipped the LSD in my coffee before I would believe anything like some god was talking to me. Your willingness to grab on to the external god story as opposed to looking somewhere else for this emotional response … it’s just silly.And finally when I think of this wonderous heaven I hear described by Christians, I am reminded of what Kind Arthur said in Monty Pythons and the Holy Grail: “On second thought, let’s not go to Camelot. It is a silly place. “

  • Frostedflakes

    Amen.

  • A B

    After the vast majority of mainstream Christians in this country sat idly by — or worse — for the past 25-30 years while their religions were hijacked by fanatics, we are now to believe that the media is to blame? Give me a break. You cheered them while they gained political power. You said nothing when they redefined Christianity as (false) “patriotism,” greed, and bald selfishness. That is what young people have grown up on. They are reflecting back to you what you have portrayed oftentimes with great pride. You have gravely damaged the American fabric.

  • A B

    After the vast majority of mainstream Christians in this country sat idly by — or worse — for the past 25-30 years while their religions were hijacked by fanatics, we are now to believe that the media is to blame? Give me a break. You cheered them while they gained political power. You said nothing when they redefined Christianity as (false) “patriotism,” greed, and bald selfishness. That is what young people have grown up on. They are reflecting back to you what you have portrayed oftentimes with great pride. You have gravely damaged the American fabric.

  • Bill

    Yes, just ignore her, just like the majority of American Christians do, for whom she speaks…..

  • lambert strether

    It’s hard to ignore Ann Coulter because she’s in my face all the time, calling me a traitor and inciting others to kill me.She’s You get rid of her.

  • Tom D

    My mistake from before – I was the ‘Anonymous’ from earlier this morning.K – You said, “You happen to have been born in a time in history and a country that allows you to believe in the right God, while the remainder of humanity born in other times and in many other countries where they indocrinate their children with different god(s) are just screwed?”I do not speak in terms of ‘the right God’ myself because it conveys just what you’re concerned about; namely, that the whole experience of life becomes an in-group/out-group dynamic, Us vs. Them, zero sum game. I conceive of life – and God – differently, and though I claim a theistic faith and you don’t, I don’t see that as a sign that we need to be enemies. (I know you weren’t saying that, by the way; I just add that point because I think fairly often people like framing the whole discussion of faith’s role in the public marketplace in those stark, dualistic terms.)To your main point in the paragraph that I copied and pasted, though – no, I don’t think those people in other countries and cultures who have different experiences and different faiths (or no particular faith at all) are ‘just screwed.’ As I mentioned in my other post, what we all have in common is a conscience – or, if you have another term for that aspect within each of us that helps us to choose wisely. If we live for the good, then judgment shouldn’t be a concern. I want to presume that those who speak of hellfire are doing so with the idea that they want to remind everyone that our choices have consequences, but unfortunately, that brimstone emphasis downplays the notion of a loving God. And I can’t countenance any conversation about faith without that notion.Thanks for the questions, K – it’s always good food for thought, especially if we can talk to each other in a way that is positive. Peace.

  • Benjamin Haag

    The only substantial difference between the idiocies that emanate from Ms. Coulter’s mouth, and the idiocies that fly around much of the Evanglical Christian-o-sphere that I have seen, is the volume that her notoriety and her fascist-harpy shtick lend to them. I long ago lost count of the number of times I have heard Christians proclaiming that Jews were indeed not only “incomplete” but doomed to an eternity of misery, that homosexuals are at best deeply troubled and in need of a cure, that Ghandi shares the same suite in Hell as Hitler and half of the murderers and rapists that pollute the news. So yes, I pay no attention to Ann Coulter, for the same reasons that I pay no attention to the absurd claims of many others who assert religious notions with an air of truth…

  • Benjamin Haag

    The only substantial difference between the idiocies that emanate from Ms. Coulter’s mouth, and the idiocies that fly around much of the Evanglical Christian-o-sphere that I have seen, is the volume that her nororiety and her fascist-harpy schtick lend to them. I long ago lost count of the number of times I have heard Christians proclaiming that Jews were indeed not only “incomplete” but doomed to an eternity of misery, that homosexuals are at best deeply troubled and in need of a cure, that Ghandi shares the same suite in Hell as Hitler and half of the murderers and rapists that pollute the news. So yes, I pay no attention to Ann Coulter, for the same reasons that I pay no attention to the absurd claims of many others who assert religious notions with an air of truth…

  • Matthew

    Yes, everyone knows that the phenomena of Christianist supremacy is a recent development of the late 20th century that can be attributed to a desire for political power in the American system.(coughs, snorts)Ahem. Well. The entire history of the Christianist movement – which began a couple centuries after Christ’s time on earth – is one of oppression of weaker peoples and war-waging to convert the “unsaved.”Sorry, Mr. Livingston, but Christianism has been selling a bill of goods for going on 2,000 years. Many of the most destructive eras in human history can be attributed to the deep-seated evil within the various offshoots of the Christianist movement (Roman Empire, the Dark Ages, Spanish Inquisition, British occupation of India, French occupation of north Africa, Spanish “conversion” of Andean tribes, Anglo “conversion” of N. American tribes, Britain’s Muslim Crusades, ad infinitum) – these events alone are responsible for the deaths of untold tens of millions of people, all so that they might be “saved” in the name of Jesus.And Jesus would have wept to see the gross bastardization of his teachings.I have never met a true Christian, and I certainly never expect to see one on the teevee. This commentary is simply another token in a long line of excuse-making by a church that has never been as compassionate as it claims, in an attempt to distract from the destruction it continues to wreak on the planet and its inhabitants.”Look, over here, see we’re really good people!”Not so much. Until you have tampered down the murderers and zealots in your midst, your voice will carry no weight. Remove the stick from thine own eye, and all of that. As the American military continues to be radicalized from within by the most violent, supremist elements of the Christianist church, I have decreasing faith in your ability to police your own.And just as an aside – radical Islam is no picnic, but how many humans have been killed as a result of Muslim expansionism and exceptionalism? No contest, Christianists, the blood on your hands far exceeds the sum total of suffering caused by all the mullahs in Babylon.

  • LV

    Amen!

  • LV

    Amen!

  • Tim Mac

    It’s news that American people age 16-29 are skeptical of Christianity? That they see it as “judgmental, hypocritical, old-fashioned and too political?” Good grief, this has been the case for just about forever. It’s the nature of youth to question entrenched values and to see hypocrisy. Some of us even continue in this vein into adulthood. At 48, I am amazed every day at the stunning perversions of the teachings of Jesus that are perpetrated by the Christian Right. Heresies go unchallenged every day as moderate Christians have basically stopped talking publicly and do not refute the whackos. As Bill Moyers pointed out years ago, with the selection of George W. Bush in 2000 the lunatic fringe has become the face of Christianity in the US.

  • Peter

    E Favorite,In answer to your question “Does that atheist you describe go to heaven, despite rejecting god?” I can only answer that I don’t give much thought to afterlife questions because they don’t seem very relevant. Jesus himself rarely referred to hell– in fact, to my knowledge he only referred to it once: in a parable about a rich man not helping a poor man. I suppose that answer would get me labeled as a “tub of goo” by another poster on this thread, but I really see afterlife questions as dividing God’s people rather than uniting them. I’d rather see everyone as on a faith journey whether they realize it or not, and God as calling all people and working in their hearts whether they choose to respond or not. My belief in God as a loving God would incline me to believe that s/he wouldn’t condemn someone to eternal suffering simply on the basis of “wrong” manswers to metaphysical questions that none of us really understand anyway. I think it is terribly presumptive of Christians to claim to know the “mind” of God–anytime I hear somebody make a remark about another person’s afterlife destiny I assume they are either a little bit naive or that they have ulterior motives.In answer to your question “what if that same atheist actively states rejection of any and all Gods – whether perceived by believers to be “real” or a “caricature?” Do you think God counts that atheist as doing His will?” I would add to my previous response these words of Chrsit: “By your fruits they will know you.” Yes, God loves that atheist and has a relationship with that atheist whether the atheist realizes it or not, so it is certainly possible for the atheist to be doing God’s will. Google “common grace” and “reformed” to learn more about this theological concept.

  • Anonymous

    E Favorite,In answer to your question “Does that atheist you describe go to heaven, despite rejecting god?” I can only answer that I don’t give much thought to afterlife questions because they don’t seem very relevant. Jesus himself rarely referred to hell– in fact, to my knowledge he only referred to it once: in a parable about a rich man not helping a poor man. I suppose that answer would get me labeled as a “tub of goo” by another poster on this thread, but I really see afterlife questions as dividing God’s people rather than uniting them. I’d rather see everyone as on a faith journey whether they realize it or not, and God as calling all people and working in their hearts whether they choose to respond or not. My belief in God as a loving God would incline me to believe that s/he wouldn’t condemn someone to eternal suffering simply on the basis of “wrong” manswers to metaphysical questions that none of us really understand anyway. I think it is terribly presumptive of Christians to claim to know the “mind” of God–anytime I hear somebody make a remark about another person’s afterlife destiny I assume they are either a little bit naive or that they have ulterior motives.In answer to your question “what if that same atheist actively states rejection of any and all Gods – whether perceived by believers to be “real” or a “caricature?” Do you think God counts that atheist as doing His will?” I would add to my previous response these words of Chrsit: “By your fruits they will know you.” Yes, God loves that atheist and has a relationship with that atheist whether the atheist realizes it or not, so it is certainly possible for the atheist to be doing God’s will. Google “common grace” and “reformed” to learn more about this theological concept.

  • Andrew G. Mandelbaum

    I’m enjoying this thread, but I think we need to look a bit closer at our political system in order to understand why the Christian Right and media play the roles that they do. I do not agree with any aspect of the Christian Right’s agenda as far as I can tell, nor am I content with the state of the American media (which repeats as fact statements made by politicians that have been proven false, and assumes that journalists can cover subjects that they know nothing about – see democraticpiece.com for some of my critiques of Reuters, NYT, and WP). However, I caution that we should not ignore the incentives that encourage the Christian Right (CR) and the media to behave as they do. Many of these incentives our embedded in the American political system, which, as a presidential system, promotes disagreement between the two political parties. Second terms tend to be ‘lame duck’ sessions for our presidents because the opposition party wants to win the next election; the opposition benefits by constraining the president and demonstrating that his party cannot get the job done. Similarly, this system benefits those with ‘black and white’ political positions that can motivate the masses and appeal to their fundamental identities. In this way, attention is focussed and the arguments are difficult to rebut as they appear so genuine and socially just (for those ‘true believers’ among us, of course). This is very much what Bush and the Christian Right seek to do (‘with us or against us!’). It’s the same strategy used by populist presidents in Latin America (Hugo Chavez) and Islamists in the Middle East (not to mention Ahmadinejad; a conservative, but not an Islamist).The US media is private and its primary goal is to make money. For some outlets, they can appeal to markets that desire ‘objective’ news coverage (the NYT and WP would, traditionally, be examples). These are the ones people on this thread tend to like. But for most, like the NY Post and Daily News, its those gripping headlines that get the reader to buy the paper (which, in turn, gets the commercials). So you can blame these outlets if you wish, but you are better off recognizing that they are going where the money is.In order to affect positive change in our political system, to get our politicians and media to behave as we wish, the people on this thread need to make their voices heard; not simply by posting on threads of this nature, but by mobilizing, putting their money where their mouths are, and finding ways to support the causes that they believe in. This is not intended to be a lecture; I’m more like you all. I’m still trying to figure out how to best use my time and resources. And with that, I better finish my Latin America reading before class.

  • Mike Seltzer

    Sir,It would be truly refreshing if even half of those individuals who identify themselves as Christians behaved as such. With all due respect, I believe that it is wishful thinking on your part to assert that the vast majority of so-called Christians practice tolerance and inclusion. Granted, the Ann Coulters of the world represent an extreme element that is an abomination to most reasonable people, Christian or otherwise. However, Christian Identity is rapidly gaining an overbearing foothold in the workplace, in the government, in the military, in the media, and in every day life. Those of us who for one reason or another do not belong to “the club” cannot escape the suspicion and disapproval of those that preach “love thy neighbor.” I understand that some Christians feel that their beliefs and lifestyles are under attack. To them I would say that tolerance begins at home and in your own hearts. The notion that we live in a so-called “Christian Nation” is understandably threatening to others. Jesus said “follow me,” not “obey me, or else.”

  • Peter

    Matthew, you write “I have never met a true Christian” and therein lies the problem. While none of us who aspire to follow Christ are “true Christians” (and don’t trust anyone who says s/he is), it sounds like nobody has tried to reach out to you. By reach out, I don’t mean to save your soul or any of that hogwash, I just mean to reflect the goodness of Christ to you as a fellow human being. The very fact that there is the concept of an Ann Coulter or a Pat Robertson belies the fact that many of us have grown smug and judgmental and put more stock into ourselves than into our comission to relate to others as Chrsit would have us do. I’m sorry.

  • Peter

    Matthew, one other comment:”Ahem. Well. The entire history of the Christianist movement – which began a couple centuries after Christ’s time on earth – is one of oppression of weaker peoples and war-waging to convert the “unsaved.”I would respond that throughout history there have been plenty of atheists who have modeled Christian teaching better than many of those calling themselves Christians. Throughout history, there have also been plenty of Christians quietly doing God’s work in their communities even as it has been impossible for them to stop the murder going on in God’s name. They are the unknown and unsugn heroes, while the killers in high places say their prayers out loud and get the glory from this world.

  • E favorite

    Peter, thanks for getting back to me. It sounds like you believe in a supernatural and Christian God, but don’t believe in some of the basic tenets of Christianity, is that right? You think a good atheist, or whatever, is just as good as a good Christian and will reap the same reward.I wonder what the draw of Christianity is for you. Most good Christians I know, in addition to following the teachings of Jesus on earth, also want to secure a place in heaven. You seem to think (unless I got it wrong) that you – and I – already have a secured place.I also assume that if you stopped believing – based on lack of evidence, etc., that you would continue living your presumably good, decent life, and not be concerned about how to be moral if there’s no God. Is that right?

  • Rodman

    My biggest problem with Christianity besides the hypocracy is why they think everyone around the world needs to be saved or become a christian. The world evolved pretty well before christians came upon the scene. So why is the only way christians do missionary work is if they can preach the bible? Can you imagine a group coming to the poor sections of American and state they will help rebuild the infrastructure only if you learn their religion?

  • JoeT

    I am heartened at several posts noting that Livingston is missing the point. That he and his kind can just as easily be characterized as the ones who have abandoned orthodoxy because they can’t accept it (cause it won’t sell). Not a judgment there, just a reality. Coulter and her kind didn’t hijack the real church, those who pretend they are the real church are in denial that they have drifted from it. I am just sitting back watching factions within Christianity engage in intermural and intramural warfare which makes all parties look silly to the rest of us.

  • Matthew

    Peter,As a jew, I need no assistance in understanding the goodness of Christ, or the values he stood for – as a man, not a deity. I also know that those values and concepts were not introduced to humanity by Christ, just repeated by him, so even claiming that others who live compassionately are somehow emulating Christ’s teachings smacks of exceptionalism, and is deeply offensive to the 5 billion humans who are NOT Christians. Ever heard of the Buddha? The point is, the values taught by a fellow who called himself the Christ are deeper than religion – they strike to the core of humanity, and Christianism has tried to lay claim to these values ever since the first bible was published. Baloney.I also see none of these values reflected in the Christianists who I meet – not the fellow on the airplane who, upon learning my religion, asked me if I were interested in being “saved;” not the zealots who threw blood at my sister on her way to a family planning clinic for birth control; and, no, not even the good missionary workers I met in Ecuador, who offer development assistance to poor indigenous tribes, but with a subtext of conversion as the real goal.Until so-called “real” Christians stand up to save the victims of their co-religionists from the consequences of supremicist actions, I’m unlikely to put much truck in the compassionate pleadings of the silent few. Sorry.

  • JoeT

    Matthew: amen. and while we are calling out the crowd who are assembling to pat themselves on the back for making the world safe for bigotry of one sort or another, let’s now not forget Dr. Laura. Yesterday she just complemented the fine folks of San Diego for being so wonderfully well behaved and mutually supportive for the evacuees in Qualcom stadium, and who didn’t wait for the government to help, in contrast with those in the superdome in New Orleans, who looted instead, complained about the government not helping, and generally blamed Bush. Unless she was commenting on the pernicious effects of humidity, she was making a racist remark of the same sort that Coulter makes when she preaches to her kind.

  • Peter

    To E Favorite:”It sounds like you believe in a supernatural and Christian God, but don’t believe in some of the basic tenets of Christianity, is that right?”I guess my way of framing it would be that I give the words and deeds of Christ priority over everything else in the Bible, while also believing that those other parts of the Bible are there for a reason and can help illuminate the Truth of Christ’s teaching and purpose. I guess some Christians would say that makes me a liberal.”You think a good atheist, or whatever, is just as good as a good Christian…”In general, yes. We humans have limited ways of judging “good” in other people, but we should never judge someone as “bad” or “less good” merely on account of their beliefs about metaphysical concepts. “…and will reap the same reward.”If you mean the afterlife, I really don’t know the answer to that. My faith is concerned more with life on this earth. I do know that in an earthly sense, people (regardless of their beliefs) who live the way God desires us to live– hardworking, unselfish and honest, among other traits– tend to be ‘rewarded’ with self-respect, satisfaction, a sense of purpose and a clear conscience. I can only trust that the afterlife, however it may be, works in a similar way.”I wonder what the draw of Christianity is for you.” As a person who has only recently committed myself to the Christian life, the draw for me was an inexplicable sense that when I strive to be a better person, I am more in harmony with the universe and a higher and loving intelligence that wants me to live a moral life. Conversely, when I strive only to please my egotistic, selfish tendencies, I feel separated from that higher Love. I also had a sense that I was forgiven for some of the truly hurtful things that I have done to others in the past. That is probably all I should write in this space, but suffice it to say that it was not through being “persuaded” by the likes of Ann Coulter!– or even the likes of Billy Graham for that matter. Becausue the draw (as you call it) was instinctual and experiential rather than intellectual it is something I don’t speak about unless asked–and admittedly it is easier to discuss it in anonymity on this blog to talk about with most of the people I know in everyday life. “Most good Christians I know, in addition to following the teachings of Jesus on earth, also want to secure a place in heaven. You seem to think (unless I got it wrong) that you – and I – already have a secured place.”Again, I just don’t think about it all that much because I don’t understand it. Concern about “going to hell” plays absolutely no part in why I decided to follow the way and teaching of Christ. If some others want to say that makes me “not a Christian,” well, the sticks-and-stones playground adage seems appropriate in this context.”I also assume that if you stopped believing – based on lack of evidence, etc., that you would continue living your presumably good, decent life, and not be concerned about how to be moral if there’s no God. Is that right?”I don’t know. I would like to think so. Mother Theresa was apparently able to do so.

  • Peter

    Matthew, you have misunderstood or misread my posts. Nowhere did I say that Christianity has an exclusive claim on goodness or compassion, nor did I ever say he introduced the concepts, nor did I say that non-Christians who do good are emulating his teachings. Yes, I’ve heard of the Buddha and have been influenced by Buddhist and Jewish teachings as well. The point of my response to you was that your experiences with those who call themselves Christians has largely been negative because they haven’t been reflecting the goodness of the Christ that they claim to follow. (You even said this in your last e-mail.) Of course I don’t expect followers of the Jewish religion or other religions to try to emulate Christ’s teachings, and I did not say that, but it’s certainly reasonable to say so-called Christians should. Anyway, I’m not interested in “converting” you, so fear not. As a matter of fact I’m looking to my Jewish friends to help me better understand their understanding of the Truth, that I may learn from it. Thank God for them, they model their faith through being fair and giving me as a Christian the benefit of the doubt, and I model my faith by responding in kind. Unfortunately, if my experience with followers of Judaism was limited to posts such as yours, I would probably think as little of your religion as you do of mine.

  • E favorite

    Peter: “As a person who has only recently committed myself to the Christian life, the draw for me was an inexplicable sense that when I strive to be a better person, I am more in harmony with the universe and a higher and loving intelligence that wants me to live a moral life.”That sounds like a very compelling experience. However, this “higher and loving intelligence” sounds very general – unrelated to the stories of Jesus or the God of Abraham. You say you’re new to Christianity. Where were you before, with respect to religion?Regarding Matthew’s reaction – as far as I can tell, what he says sounds pretty on target – the intrinsic human values that predate Christ, the overbearing Christians, the moderate but quiet Christians who are upset about the overbearing branch, but to timid or unengaged to react. You seem to be in an entirely different category – almost a lone Christian with a personal Christianity that is whatever you make it. Which takes my back to my original question. Why Christianity? It seems like you had some kind of awakening, a transcendent experience – and you named it God – and not only God but Jesus. Why not Buddha, or another God,or just a higher power?Another poster here, Campbellite, seems similar to you – thought she has specifically selected Catholicism, which to her version is completely mythologicalI’m very interested in hearing more about your type of Christianity, but don’t want to be demanding. Whatever you can share is appreciated.

  • Jay Diamond

    BRAVO !And please don’t forget the other GOP hacks like sean hannity who echo coulter and openly tout her sacrilege and evil.

  • Peter

    Hello, E Favorite.I only get online M-F so sorry for the late reply. I appreciate your question. The reason I am involved in a Christian church now has partly to do with my previous interest in Buddhism–particularly the Dalai Lama’s teaching that Western Buddhists are generally well-advised to practice within the religious tradition of their own culture. I saw few Buddhist churches or communities, and my approach to faith is communal as well as individual. But additionally, I was impressed by the very kind, thoughtful and responsible people I met who shattered my previous conceptions of what “Christians” were like. More often than not, they had a high respect for science and reason (and in may cases a high level of education), and had the same passions for social justice that I have. They were not exclusive and not focused on the afterlife, the “end times” or any of that other junk that sells books. My reflections led me to believe that Christianity, within my understanding, best addresses for me the human need for forgiveness and resolution for past wrongs and provides a blueprint for understanding the living God. (I say that realizing that other religious traditions effectively answer these needs for others.) I actually agree with Matthew also, that these intrinsic values predate Christ. I believe that they have been put into the human heart by God and that God works within all religions. At the same time, I believe that all religions at some point, in some way or another are corrupted by evil–often in the form of nationalism or aligning itself with power (i.e. the Inquisition, the Catholic Church at the time of the Reformation, the Anglican church at the time of the Puritan and Quaker movements, and the current mixing of Christianity and power-politics today, just to give some Christian examples), but God can still use those religions to reach God’s people.I also agree with Matthew and the other posters who wrote that American Christians are not speaking out loudly enough about Ann Coulter and the abuse of religion for political ends. However, some of those same posters criticized (inexplicably) Mr. Livingston for doing just that.E Favorite, you say you are interested in hearing more about the non-divisive practice of Chrsitianity I’ve attempted to describe here in this thread. I would recommend a book to you that came out a few years ago: “A Generous Orthodoxy” by Brian McLaren, which has had a big effect on my thinking. Also, if you ever have time on a Sunday morning to visit a church just to see what it is like, the mainline denominational (UCC, Episcopalian, Methodist, Disciples of Christ) churches located in the downtowns of large cities, in troubled urban neighborhoods, or near universities are a good bet for being welcoming and comfortable to visitors and appreciating a diversity of viewpoints. Many of them see the faith journey just as that–a journey–and are there to help people on their walk wherever they are. And it is very unlikely that folks will bombard you with inane questions about whether you’re “saved” or not, because contrary to the rantings of TV preachers, that concept isn’t in the vocabulary of most liberal Christians.

  • E favorite

    Peter – thanks for the long reply. I was recently a liberal Christian – Episcopalian, so I know what you mean. I’m sure I’d be still welcomed there as an atheist, as long as I didn’t make too much noise about it. But it was uncomfortable for me, hearing about God and Jesus all the time (on Sunday morning – never in any other activities), especially knowing that so many parishioners and even clergy were expressing or advocating beliefs they didn’t hold themselves – as a means of continuing to enjoy the warm community. Sorry to be harsh, but a community with deception at its core is not ultimately healthy, no matter how warm.I know from what you’ve said that you don’t hold a lot of those beliefs, so I wonder what it’s like for you to be among people with numerous different beliefs, some of which are contradictory (Jesus either rose from the dead or he didn’t) and not all of which can be true. As for Brian McClaren – I only know him from this forum (see his current essay and responses) and while I appreciate your suggestion, he’s too ambiguous for me (I often feel that way about clergy). I will check out the book, though, on Amazon or at the bookstore.

  • Clifford Ishii

    Like it or not Biblical Christianity is a reality in the US and every place else.

  • Roger St. Louis

    GOD BLESS YOU MY FRIEND! JUST KNOW JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY AND WE MUST BE UNAPOLOGETIC IN PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST!!!!!!! GOD IS A LOVING, MERCIFUL, AND JUST GOD! WE MUST REMEMBER HE IS PERFECT AND WE MUST FOLLOW ALL HIS WAYS! (AS I BELIEVE DR. JAMES DOBSON & OTHERS ARE DOING). MANY PEOPLE DID NOT LIKE WHAT JESUS SAID WHEN HE WAS ON EARTH HOWEVER THE TRUTH IS…JESUS IS THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE, NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER BUT THROUGH HIM – JOHN 14:6!!!! SO WE MUST SHOW NON CHRISTIANS LOVE AS WELL AS LETTING THEM KNOW THE TRUTH…JESUS AND ALL HIS WAYS…EVEN IF IT HURTS. IT HURTS US ALL, BUT THAT’S WHAT MAKES US REALIZE HOW MUCH WE NEED JESUS AND HIM ALONE!GOD BLESS!!!!!!!!!!