says most Christians not like Ann Coulter
York, October 24, 2007 – The president of the National Council of
Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) says the majority of the Christians
in America do not share the values of Ann Coulter. Coulter, an author,
columnist and frequent TV interview guest recently referred to
Christians as "perfected Jews" and said America would be better off if
there were no Jewish people here.
"Ann Coulter ... 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," writes the Rev. Michael Livingston, NCC's president, for
the Washington Post and Newsweek 'On
The Rev. Livingston says Ms. Coulter and other "extreme
ultra-conservative" Christians represent "a political philosophy
masquerading as gospel that is wrapped in religious rhetoric and painted
red, white and blue."
The NCC president laments the media's overarching attraction to such
ultra-conservative leaders and its concurrent ignoring of the majority
"Most American Christians struggle each week to apply Biblical truths in
their daily lives," writes Livingston. "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."
"Most Christians believe in an authentic, inclusive and welcoming gospel
in the thousands of communities where they worship," said Livingston,
who is also the executive director of the International Council of
The complete text of Livingston's guest column is below. Numerous
comments from blog readers were posted to the 'On Faith' page.
The National Council of Churches USA is the ecumenical voice of 35 of
America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American and
traditional peace churches. These NCC member communions have 45 million
faithful members in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.
Christians to Left of Far Right
By Michael Livingston
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.
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
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
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
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
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
NCC News contact: Philip
email@example.com or Dan Webster, 212.870.2252,