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  • Jesusless: The Church of Conservatism

    Robert S. McElvaine


    In Godless, her latest and most ill-tempered book-length rant, Ann Coulter asserts that liberalism is a "godless" religion. In fact, however, the most fundamental problem in Christianity in America and the world today is that the "fundamentalist" religion that most loudly proclaims itself to be "Christian" is Jesusless.

    Coulter demonstrates how Jesusless she and her cohort who have co-opted the name of Christianity are when she identifies "Americans' Christian destiny" as "jet skis, steak on the electric grill, hot showers, and night skiing." For some reason, she fails to cite her source in the Gospels for her definition of Christian destiny, which amounts to: Jesus died for our jet skis.

    Read the Gospels from beginning to end and nowhere will you find Jesus suggesting anything like what Coulter sees as the destiny of Christians. Quite the contrary. Indeed, there is no source in anything Jesus said for most of what the best-known "Christians" preach in his name these days. While Coulter fumes that "liberalism is the opposition party to God," the clear truth is that what passes for "Christianity" today is the opposition party to Jesus. She attacks "the liberal hostility to God-based religions" while exposing her own hostility to Jesus-based religion.

    As has been widely reported, Coulter offers "Christian" sentiments about widows of 9/11 victims who are not on her side politically: "These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis," the millionaire TV celebrity and right-wing lioness Coulter hisses. "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much." If Jesus had remained in his grave, surely he would be spinning in it to hear such evil venom being spit out in his name.

    "Christians" of the sort who buy Coulter's books call themselves "fundamentalists," but their emphasis is entirely upon the word's first syllable; they're all about having fun. But when it comes to the fundamental teachings of Jesus, they take a pass. Turn the other cheek? Self-sacrifice? Help the poor? Nonviolence? That stuff's too hard. They replace the Gospel accounts of what Jesus said with the Gospel according to John and Paul (Lennon and McCartney, that is): "Give me money / That's what I want."

    The Church of Coulter -- and that of the loudest "Christians" today -- should be called what it plainly is: Jesusless: The Church of Mammon. Coulter makes millions by calling others treasonous and Godless and saying, "We should invade [Muslim] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." Conversion should start at home, and Coulter first needs to convert herself from Mammonism to Christianity.

    Like many others in the increasingly dominant and totally misnamed "Christian Right," Coulter has a persecution complex. Upon the publication of Godless, she used her syndicated column to write a self-review of her book, saying it would be ignored: "If you find Godless without asking for assistance, it's considered a minor miracle." This from a woman whose new Jesusless book was at that very moment rising to Number 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list. (That such a patently anti-Jesus book could become the best-selling book in America tells us just how far removed from being followers of Christ most of today's self-proclaimed Christians are.) She's lamenting all the way to the bank, her house of worship.

    In my opinion, those who complain about a "War on Christianity" are right. The generals conducting that war include, in addition to Kill-a-Muslim-for-Christ Coulter, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ted Haggard, James Dobson, and the whole Unheavenly Host of televangelists and megachurch moneychangers and wolves in sheep's clothing who have expropriated the moral assets of Jesus and turned them to their own purposes. They never met a dollar they didn't like. They prefer profits to prophecy and pretend that Jesus did, too. They favor the rich over the poor and invert Jesus to contend that he did, too. They favor war over peace and lie by saying that Jesus did, too.

    Coulter and millions of her fellow adherents to ChristianityLite -- a "religion" that is the equivalent of a "Lose weight without diet or exercise" scam ("Easy Jesus! Be saved without sacrifice or good works!") -- have aborted Jesus and rewritten his teachings to suit their own selfish desires. Their revision of the Beatitudes -- what we might call the Be-Ann-itudes -- goes something like this:

    Blessed are the haughty in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are those who exult over others, for they shall be further rewarded.
    Blessed are the arrogant, for they shall inherit the earth.
    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for domination, for they shall be satisfied.
    Blessed are those who show no mercy, for they shall obtain the wealth of others.
    Blessed are the hard in heart, for they shall see God.
    Blessed are the war-makers, for they shall be called sons of God.
    Blessed are those who persecute for their own sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are you when you revile others and persecute others and utter all sorts of evil against them falsely on my account.

    Onward Jesusless "Christian" soldiers, marching others into war.


    Robert S. McElvaine teaches history at Millsaps College and is the author of Eve's Seed (McGraw-Hill). He is currently completing a book manuscript entitled ChristianityLite: Getting to Heaven without the Hassle.

    Sightings comes from the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

    Copyright © by the author
    All Rights Reserved


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