Ann Coulter’s August 6 piece drips with arrogance and contempt for all that makes America great. She imagines that she is defending the nation, not to mention her Christian faith; but she is way beyond the pale. She describes missionaries like Dr. Kent Brantly as idiotic and narcissistic – her words – for going to treat victims of the ebola virus and coming home infected with it. She thinks she is helping all of us stupid and self-absorbed missionary types. Ms Coulter, for the love of God, stop helping us. Please.
Coulter says Brantly cost his sending ministry – Samaritan’s Purse – more than the value of his service because they had to send two Gulfstream jets to bring the doctor and his nurse home for life saving treatment. She wonders why he – and others called to the mission field – are not treating Hollywood power brokers right here. She reasons that if he leads one of them to Jesus, it might trigger a turnaround of the cultural mindset of the entertainment industry and help win the culture wars now contending for the soul of America. And a resurrected America – she says – will do a whole lot more good for a hungry and desperate world than bringing medical care to a few African natives.
She throws gratuitous insults about the needy in our backyard before returning to her theme that Brantly – and any who think like him – should be spending their energies at home, and specifically evangelizing through their services rendered here – the big money folks who can turn us on a dime with the re-application of their big bucks influence. She actually accuses Brantly of grandstanding by going overseas. As she puts it, he is considered heroic by a grateful public for leaving the comforts behind; but his more valuable service in the slums of Detroit would be ignored, and he needs the roar of the crowd to feel okay.
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Never mind that nobody ever heard of Dr. Brantly before he contracted a life-threatening infection in his chosen mission field. If he went to Africa to become famous through martyrdom, his problem is not narcissism; it’s a psychotic death wish. The truth is that Brantly is neither narcissistic nor psychotic. He is a servant of Jesus who goes where the Boss says to go and does what the Boss says to do. He is the warp and woof of what makes America the nation she is created to become.
The Second Great Awakening began around 1800 in frontier canebreaks, and fundamentally transformed American life over six decades. It birthed and raised the Abolitionist Movement, the Temperance Movement, the free-for-all Public Education Movement, and the American Character that affords equal opportunity to folks raised in mansions and log cabins – the character so extolled in DeToqueville’s famous treatise, “Democracy in America.” The core of our culture is that we are not about ourselves; we are about all God’s creatures, and to a large extent even when we reject Him. Our culture is what His influence formed in us; and without it, there is nothing to win in a culture war.
Does that mean we only help those we see outside our borders? Of course not. People with a call to serve tend to go where they are sent and do what needs to be done. I have made more than twenty overseas mission and ministry trips overseas–and a good many more to various states. Yet as a pastor, I led ministries to local homeless populations; and about seventy-five percent of my efforts remain local. Does Coulter spend time at her nearest shelter? If so, I have not heard about it.
I have heard the same contempt she gives Brantly from people who call themselves ‘friends’ with no intent to have a friend’s back, and people who call themselves ‘family’ with no idea of belonging. I recall the uncle who berated me for my “vacations” to Fiji, where I worked fifteen-hour days in a mangrove swamp – real glamour stuff. Then there was the radio sponsor who left his bill unpaid and blamed me for leaving the country. I never saw them down at the rescue mission either.
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The good news is that most Americans either do the kinds of things I do or provide the support that enables them. God made us such, and the worst danger we face is losing our DNA as givers and lovers – of God and of each other. Jesus says – in Matthew 25 and elsewhere – that when we do it for the least of these, we do it for Him. His help is indispensable if we would be real Americans. Coulter’s, we can do without.
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