I frequently agree with Ann Coulter’s political commentary, although more often than not I’m put off by her acerbic, often cruel, manner. I don’t appreciate cruelty and personal attacks from the right any more than I do from the left.
However, I’m appalled by the content and tone of the wrong-headed and mean-spirited column by Coulter on Samaritan’s Purse missionary Dr. Kent Brantly, who neared death by Ebola before apparently being saved by an experimental drug and an airlift to Atlanta. Both he and missionary nurse Nancy Writebol, who also contracted Ebola in Liberia and was airlifted, are improving in insolation units at Emory Hospital.
Coulter sees no sense in missionary service in difficult settings outside the U.S., and not only mocks Brantly’s decision to serve in Liberia, but writes that serving in the developing world instead of fighting American culture wars demonstrates cowardice and miscalculation. She writes:
“If Brantly had evangelized in New York City or Los Angeles, The New York Times would get upset and accuse him of anti-Semitism, until he swore — as the pope did — that you don’t have to be a Christian to go to heaven. Evangelize in Liberia, and the Times’ Nicholas Kristof will be totally impressed.
Which explains why American Christians go on “mission trips” to disease-ridden cesspools. They’re tired of fighting the culture war in the U.S., tired of being called homophobes, racists, sexists and bigots. So they slink off to Third World countries, away from American culture to do good works, forgetting that the first rule of life on a riverbank is that any good that one attempts downstream is quickly overtaken by what happens upstream.”
Coulter cannot see value beyond her own field of work, debating political and sociological philosophy and actions. She is blinded by what Jacques Ellul called the “political illusion,” the misguided belief that all ills have political solutions. Her criticism of selfless faithfulness to God demonstrates an ignorance of Christian calling and spiritual gifts and is the worst form of narcissism of the political class.
Brantly’s work with Samaritan’s Purse and Writebol’s with the mission organization SIM was not an escape from more difficult, more important work (culture warfare in NY or LA, I guess). And it certainly was not a play for headlines in the NY Times. Coulter clearly hasn’t spent much time with Christian missionaries, among the most selfless and anonymous miracle workers in the world. Brantly and Writebol believed they were called by God to use their medical knowledge and skills to serve in areas of the world with unbelievable health crises. They responded in obedience to God, and they responded with their gifts and skills.
Shame on Coulter and others who have disparaged them for their service, even as they risked their lives to save the lives of others. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol are heroes of faith and faithfulness.
Dr. Brantly wrote in a statement this weekend:
“As you continue to pray for Nancy and me, yes, please pray for our recovery. More importantly, pray that we would be faithful to God’s call on our lives in these new circumstances.”
Ann Coulter, you owe these dedicated missionaries an apology. And you owe it to yourself to spend a few weeks among the poorest of the poor. Sorry, you won’t find them here in America, so you’ll need to pack your bags.