Ann Coulter is not one to shy away from bold, controversial statements. In her latest, Coulter rails against the “evangelical establishment” for its timidity and failure to support the antics of would-be president Donald Trump. According to Coulter, Trump represents “real Christian courage” when he “defend[s] America from destruction by immigration.”
According to Coulter, “The idea that Christians are supposed to be milquetoasts is liberal propaganda. Ask the money changers how meek Jesus was. …God commanded the Israelites to go to certain cities and kill ‘every living thing.’ As I recall, the Crusaders were a little rough around the edges.”
But wait, there’s more. For Coulter, “This is an election about saving the concept of America, the last hope for Christianity on the planet.” Currently, she claims, America “is not a country where Christians are winning,” and “unless Americans stop being outvoted by foreigners, Christians … have no hope of winning anything, anywhere, anytime. The last Christian country on Earth will be no more.”
Coulter’s major disdain is for Christian leaders who do not agree with Trump’s no-compromise immigration policy. Her “Biblical” support for this is apparently that Jesus was a tough guy and that the Crusades are something Christians should emulate. She does not seem to realize how far afield her understanding of New Testament Christianity actually is.
First, Jesus never endorses violent retaliation from His followers. Quite the opposite; He chastises His disciples when they take up the sword. In fact, in the New Testament we find a major emphasis on non-violence and non-retaliation. Indeed, one of the most powerful expressions of what following Jesus’ looks like is the call to embrace His model of suffering for the sake of others.
Second, there is a major strand in the Old Testament where care for “sojourners” and “foreigners” is expected of the Israelites. The reason for this? “You yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.”
Third, and perhaps most compelling, is the fact that Jesus’ ministry is widely recognized as embracing, if not being primarily directed at, those on the margins of society. Jesus declared that He came to proclaim good news to the poor, release the captives, heal the blind and free the oppressed. Throughout the New Testament, He ministers to and praises widows, chastises the Pharisees for not caring for the poor and sick, heals lepers and the demon-possessed, eats with tax collectors and sinners and ministers to non-Jews who were viewed as sacrilegious outsiders by the religious elite. Jesus Himself was marginalized, likely, at least in part, because of His concern for the marginalized.
When Jesus tells Pilate (i.e., the political powers) that His kingdom is not of this world and that His followers do not go to war for His kingdom, He is directly subverting the political game which Pilate invites Him to play. Last time I checked, Christianity does not need a new political icon to save it. I think Jesus quite already has taken care of Christian salvation.
The interests of earthly kingdoms can never fully align with those of the kingdom of God. Nor should we expect them to do so. New Testament Christians proclaim that God’s kingdom has arrived in the person and work of Jesus, not in our political ideologies. Perhaps if we paid a bit more attention to what Jesus actually taught, Christians wouldn’t think we need America to save us again.