Conservative columnist Ann Coulter is under fire again, this time for remarks at a Christian conference making light of the murder of doctors who perform abortions.
Tracing the history of opposition to abortion in America March 3 at D. James Kennedy’s “Reclaiming America for Christ Conference” at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church Coulter reportedly said the following:
“A few months later, for the first time ever, the first abortion doctor was killed. And the next few years, two more abortion doctors and four abortion clinic workers were killed.
“Take a moment to consider that fact. For 20 years, with millions of babies being aborted, no abortion doctor had been killed. It was only after 20 years of working within the system, doing everything they could do legally, that a few pro-lifers resorted to violence.
“Those few abortionists were shot, or, depending on your point of view, had a procedure with a rifle performed on them. I’m not justifying it, but I do understand how it happened….
“The number of deaths attributed to Roe v. Wade–about 40 million aborted babies and seven abortion clinic workers–40 million to seven is also a pretty good measure of how the political debate is going.”
Coulter also reportedly repeated the use of a gay slur she had used a day earlier at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington to refer to Sen. John Edwards.
Responding to a question from the audience about the language used in public discourse, Coulter said: “Do you think you should go into rehab for using the word ‘faggot?’…. I spoke at C-PAC yesterday, and I [took questions] about Obama and Hillary and Gore and global warming, and I said I was going to also have a few remarks about the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but apparently you have to go to rehab if you use the word ‘faggot.'”
Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics called Coulter’s remarks, “repugnant, illustrating again her unchristian moral perspective and raising again the question about why Christian conservatives continue to affirm her with invitations to be a headliner on programs.”
Coulter was quoted in a letter from Americans United for Separation of Church and State calling on the Center for Reclaiming America to disavow her remarks.
“It is astounding to me that this type of vitriol was unleashed before a religious organization that claims to be ‘reclaiming’ America for Christ,” AU Executive Director Barry Lynn said. “This rhetoric must be repudiated immediately.”
Parham said Coulter’s comment about killing abortion providers “reflects the widespread attitude within the Christian Right that values life only in the womb and devalues the great arch of human existence outside the womb.”
Coulter and “her ideological traveling companions,” Parham said, “are pro-fetal life, not pro-life.”
“There is a profound moral distinction between those two positions,” he said. “One cannot be authentically pro-life if one is pro-assassination, pro-war, pro-death penalty, pro-survival of the fittest in the marketplace and pro-health care based on wealth.”
Parham, who launched the Nashville-based non-profit Baptist Center for Ethics in 1991, said many conservative Christians “rejected the consistently pro-life position framed some 20 years ago” when he was on staff with the Southern Baptist Convention Christian Life Commission.
“That position was a genuinely pro-life position,” he said, “arguing that human life should be valued from the womb to the tomb.”
“I can recall that my own advocacy for the ‘seamless garment’ ethic was roundly rejected by fundamentalists who campaigned for no exceptions for abortion in the takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Parham said. “They were indifferent to the world’s hungry, thought AIDS was the just punishment of God on homosexuals and said the death penalty was demanded by Scripture. They were not pro-life. They were anti-abortion.”
Lynn didn’t say how the crowd responded to Coulter’s remarks. A report of the meeting on the Center for Reclaiming America’s Web site doesn’t mention her. Prior to the conference, however, organizers cheerfully acknowledged she was a controversial choice and had the high profile they wanted.
“She’s a polarizing person,” Gary Cass, executive director of the Center for Reclaiming America, said in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “Some have told us they think her style is too caustic, though they agree with her positions. Others love her style.”
Coulter was one of 19 speakers at the March 2-3 event. Others included Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, who filled in for Kennedy, who has been hospitalized since a cardiac arrest in December.
At least eight newspapers have dropped Coulter’s column over her referring to former Sen. John Edwards as a “faggot” at the Conservative Political Action Conference March 2. Several other papers said they received complaints but would continue to publish Coulter’s column, citing reader support.
A speaker at a past Reclaiming America event, Exodus International President Alan Chambers, said Coulter’s remarks were unacceptable and demeaning.
“Used in any context, this hurtful word is used to demean an individual who is valuable to God,” Chambers said in a statement. “There is nothing to be gained by denigrating others with crude slurs. In doing so, we disgrace ourselves and discredit the truths we seek to publicly elevate.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.