Conservative columnist Ann Coulter has once again slurred Democrats and homosexuals.
Her hate speech on Friday drew forthright disavowal from three Republican presidential candidates–Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney. Yet her gay-baiting drew little public comment of disapproval from recognizable leaders of the Christian Right.
Speaking at the 34th annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Coulter said: “I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot.’ So I–so kind of at an impasse–can’t really talk about Edwards.”
Co-sponsors of the event include Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum and The Jesse Helms Center. Regent University, The Timothy Plan and Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity were Christian exhibitors.
Many American Christians consider the “f-word” used by Coulter as a slur against homosexuals on the same par as the “n-word” is considered a smear against African-Americans.
When Coulter implied that Edwards is gay, she continued a pattern of bearing false witness against Democrats by smearing them with the brush of homosexual practice, which many Christians believe is morally wrongful behavior.
Coulter suggested last year on a TV cable talk show that Bill Clinton had “some level of latent homosexuality.”
The next evening on another TV cable talk show, she was asked, “How do you know Bill Clinton is gay?” Coulter replied, “I don’t know if he’s gay. But Al Gore–total fag.” She also suggested Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is a lesbian, saying it is “about even money” that she will come out of the closet in 2008.
Discussing a story about one star of “Grey’s Anatomy” entering rehab amid a minor scandal that erupted after he called another actor a “faggot” in an on-set fight, Coulter asked Fox News Channel in February, “You use the word ‘faggot’ and you’re going into rehab?”
Popular among Christian conservatives, Coulter was a featured speaker a James Dobson’s Washington summit intended to mobilize conservative evangelical voters to defeat Democrats in the fall elections. The event was pitched as “a pro-family conference” for “politically active Christians.”
She spoke at a Georgia Christian Coalition meeting in September, which was intended to raise $150,000.
In October, Coulter appeared on Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio program, where she charged that American liberals were “the opposition party to God.”
She earlier charged that Democrats were faking their belief in God for political votes.
Despite having no record of church involvement, Coulter said: “Although my Christianity is somewhat more explicit in this book [Godless: The Church of Liberalism], Christianity fuels everything I write. Being a Christian means that I am called upon to do battle against lies, injustice, cruelty, hypocrisy–you know, all the virtues in the church of liberalism.”
Church-attending Christians would do well to remember the speed and candor with which Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney criticized Coulter. They did the right thing.
At the same time, church-attending Christians should question why Christian Right leaders showed their acceptance of her hate speech expressed through their silence.
How is it that politicians can recognize wrongful speech, while those who claim a commitment to the Bible can’t?
The Christian Right appears once again to be more faithful to a political ideology than faithful to the biblical witness.
The Bible teaches, “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths” (Eph. 4:29). The larger passage calls for both truth telling and edifying talk.
Christians and others may disagree sharply without using slurs such as the “f-word,” demeaning some and speaking falsehood about others.
Our political discourse would be richer and more civility without Ann Coulter and her need to distort issues and defame others. Let’s challenge the Christian Right programs and cable TV talk-shows to become Coulter-free zones for the public good.
Robert Parham is executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics.