Coulter Dog Whistling that Old Time Anti-Semitism
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 04:32:39 PM EST
Ann Coulter is a provocateur who has mastered the art of convolution in the service of the unspeakable. One of her methods is to thinly cloak her most despicable ideas inside analogy and wit. (Among many such infamous episodes, she has distinguished herself as an apologist, if not an advocate for, the assassination of abortion providers.)

The latest example of her method of making despicable assertions by analogy and indirection -- is Jew-baiting.  This ugly turn of events, via ugly turns of phrase, comes in response to a column by conservative writer Kathleen Parker had dared to criticize Religious Right darling Sarah Palin. Coulter, among others, has been seeking to drive Parker out of the conservative movement for having the temerity to criticize Palin.  The Coulter's latest volley is an attack on the authenticity of Parker's southern heritage in much the way that the birthers seek to discredit president Obama' American citizenship.  While few might care whether Coulter thinks Parker is sufficiently southern, it is the way she goes about it that it gets ugly.

Coulter calls Parker "The Barry Lynn of The South":

"Then there's Barry Lynn, alleged "Christian minister," whose stock in trade is to denounce any mention of religion anyplace, anytime. Look, I'm a Christian minister, but even I have to admit that the sight of a kindergartner praying is terrifying to most folks. (The first person to post Barry Lynn's bar mitzvah photos or birth announcement (mazel tov!) wins a free copy of my latest book...".

Of course, Rev. Barry Lynn, as executive director of  Americans United for Separation of Church and State (and a former director of the Washington, DC office of the ACLU) is a proponent of religious freedom and is unopposed to religious expression, even by kindergarteners. But he is routinely smeared by elements of the Religious Right because he and AU are vigorous and effective opponents of theocratic creep and the hijacking of government resources for unconstitutional religious purposes.

Religious Right ideologues often have it that the idea separation of church and state is antithetical to Christianity.  While that idea alone is based on a profound kind of religious bigotry as well as opposition to the unambiguous meaning of the Constitution, Coulter gets very specific and suggests that Lynn is so opposed to public religious expression that he is opposed to Christian religious expression by children -- therefore he must be Jewish.

While Coulter wraps her appeal to hate-based nativism in a seemingly tongue in cheek manner, the humor, (referencing the ridiculous controversy over whether Barack Obama was born in the U.S., based in part on the claim that his birth certificate is invalid)  does not quite conceal an appeal to an old time anti-Semitism.  In other words, the joke is on anyone who actually takes it as a joke.

Coulter links the nativist frenzy over Barack Obama' birth certificate to the idea that if Kathleen Sullivan thinks that Sarah Palin is a nut and that anti-health care reform hate mongers go too far, then she can't possibly be from the South -- just like the idea that Barry Lynn can't be a Christian because he holds to ideas despised by conservative Christians - therefore he must be a Jew.  

The general Religious Right argument is nothing new. For quick reference, I pulled a few examples from my 1997 book Eternal Hostility:  The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy.

Beverly LaHaye, head of Concerned Women for America (and wife of Left Behind series Tim LaHaye) has said regarding separation:  

"we are forbidden to speak, to pray aloud, to read out Bible, to even teach Judeo-Christian values in our public schools and other public places because of an imaginary `wall of separation' conjured up by non-believers."

Larry Pratt, a Christian Reconstructionist, right wing militia theorist, and head of Gun Owners of America, wrote in 1995:  

"We are on the threshold of overt prohibitions against the teaching of Christianity.  Already in the name of the non-Constitutional doctrine of `separation of church and state' and `academic freedom',' Christianity cannot be taught in public institutions."

Rev. Michael Bray, a key theorist of anti-abortion violence and a longtime leader in the Army of God, wrote:  

"Revolution may well be justified in our time of legalized sodomy, and national apostasy (in the name of `separation of church and state') and taxation to support child slaughter."

And while I may certainly have missed something, I cannot recall anyone on the Religious Right broaching the idea that separation of church and state is somehow a Jewish plot.

In case anyone was wondering if Coulter could go any lower, her open dog whistling of that old time anti-Semitism suggests that she has not yet hit bottom.

of Ms. Coulter's column, and the teaser link to the Human Events website contained everything you posted, stopping at the free book offer. I didn't follow the link, as I'd just as soon gouge my eyes out with a dull spoon as read anything from her, but I was taken aback by the insinuation that Rev. Lynn was Jewish. Thanks for clearing up, as far as that's possible, what her intentions were.

Btw, I get the Human Events updates and WNDs as well for their humor factor, not for any enlightening thought.

by trog69 on Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 12:39:52 AM EST

When did Kathleen Parker become Kathleen Sullivan?

... the joke is on anyone who actually takes it as a joke.

That's one excellent turn of phrase.

by Pierce R Butler on Sun Aug 23, 2009 at 08:25:14 PM EST

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