I asked her this question tonight at Xavier. Okay, I’m slightly disappointed that she didn’t sign my copy of Treason. She wasn’t signing autographs this evening, as the event ended pretty late. After the lengthy (and entertaining) Q and A session, she was whisked out of the room by security and College Republican escorts. But I am glad that I got to ask her a question, especially one that was about Ann Coulter the person. Most of what we got this evening was Ann Coulter the right-wing political pundit, and there were new things that I learned even from that (e.g., her past support of Pete Du Pont and her preference for fair trade over free trade). But I was curious about what Ann Coulter’s personal religious life was like. I always assumed that she was like a lot of conservative pundits: they think that religion is good for societal morality, but they themselves do not practice. I found her to be a lot like me: a religious mutt with an evangelical edge who is nonetheless searching.
She said that she is half Catholic and half Protestant. If my memory serves me correctly, I think she related that her dad was Catholic and her mom was Protestant. She emphasized the importance of church attendance because it keeps people from fluffy New Age spirituality (or at least that’s the case with her). As far as her personal church attendance is concerned, she said that she goes to churches that are close to her (wherever she is) and that have good sermons. One church that she has attended is Redeemer in New York, and those who have read my first blog post know that I am a big fan of Redeemer and its pastor, Tim Keller. And, no, Redeemer is not a Republican church, since I have debated with liberals there (right before the church service) and have seen people in the congregation wearing John Kerry shirts. Redeemer emphasizes the power of the Gospel of grace to change a person’s life, and it is quite apolitical, at least from my experience. But, back to the main subject. She told us that she has gone to Redeemer services with her Jewish boyfriend, and that she listens to Redeemer tapes about C.S. Lewis. And, interestingly, like me, she also goes to Catholic services. Overall, she said that going to church really gives a person a good perspective for the week, and I heartily agree.
She also compared and contrasted Catholicism and Protestantism. She said (if I recall correctly) that Catholicism emphasizes the church and rituals, whereas Protestantism focuses on one’s personal relationship with Christ. She herself leans towards Protestantism but has not completely abandoned the Catholic church. I like the way that she evaluates religious issues.
The event itself was enjoyable. I was expecting a bunch of rude leftist protesters to be disrupting everything, but the Xavier students were very polite, even the ones who disagreed with her. Ann herself commended their polite behavior. And I also liked the fact that there were people from the wider Cincinnati community at the convo. These are salt of the earth people–old people, middle aged people, and political hobbyists. They heartily applauded Anne’s conservative stance on the issues. And I discovered a breed that I did not know existed (or that I considered one of the endangered species): a right-wing professor who writes poetry and scholarly books. I thought we were all ignoramuses! At least that’s what I’ve been told.