Kristen Walker Hatten

An open letter to Ann Coulter

Kristen Walker Hatten
By Kristen Walker Hatten
Image

Dear Ann Coulter,

Dammit, Ann Coulter.

I like you. A lot. I’ve read all your books. No, seriously, all of them.

When I was in my 20s, I thought you were maybe the Antichrist. I didn’t know why exactly I thought you were the Antichrist. All the other liberals did, so I did, too. It wasn’t hard. Liberalism is easy. It makes you feel smart and cool. When the other smart, cool people said your name the way some people say “cockroach,” I got the picture.

They really, really hate you. About a year ago, someone close to me who is a big liberal was at my house. I had one of your books sitting on the coffee table. While I was out of the room, he took a receipt and drew a speech bubble on the back, with the words “Hi! I’m a c**t!” And put it right above your head. Later on, I asked him why he thought you were a “c**t,” but he didn’t have a specific answer. I would bet you everything I own of value (this mainly consists of this laptop, my wedding rings, and my 2005 Ford Ranger, “Truck Norris”) that he has never read a single word you’ve ever written.

Neither had I when I hated you. I think I had read about one sentence of your writing, out of context (obviously), and decided you were in league with Satan. Except I didn’t believe in Satan, of course; that was a fairy tale for dumb Christians. I hated you for the same reason I hated George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Bill O’Reilly, and many others: because I was told you were the enemy. I would not have been able to defend my hatred of any of these people – including you – with much depth. But I “knew” you were evil. The Nation and Mother Jones told me so.

In 2010, I was pretty new to Catholicism and becoming aware of conservatism as something more than “being mean.” I began making my way towards it by reading, for the first time, our nation’s founding documents. I also became familiar with de Tocqueville, Hayek, and the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. I was delving into this because I was pro-life, and ObamaCare – which was in the process of being rammed into law – scared me. The more I learned, the more it started to scare me for other reasons, too.

See, my worldview changed when, for the first time in my adulthood, God convinced me of His existence. That was in 2008. I no longer saw man at the center of the universe, and everything was turned on its head. I tiptoed toward the other side. It took me a few years. I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. I didn’t want to be conservative until I was absolutely convinced that conservatism was right, because I was beginning to discover that being conservative kind of, um, sucks. Everybody hates you. It doesn’t matter how much you tell people that you’re not mean or that you have a good argument. They won’t listen to you.

But you know all this. You live it.

It was sometime in 2010 that I first started reading your columns. My conversion was picking up steam, and I decided that I’d read quite a bit – though not enough, never enough! – of the philosophy that underpinned conservative thinking. I was ready to go right to the fiery furnace that drove the locomotive of liberal contempt for conservatives. That would be you. I figured if I could read your writing, and agree with it, I was a conservative for really real. I didn’t expect that to happen, though. I figured I would scoff and keep you on the enemies list.

But I didn’t. I loved you. I loved your style. Yes, it was somewhat lacking in subtlety. No, it was not nice. But I’ve always thought subtlety is overrated, and I was never that great at “nice.” True kindness – true love – is a lot of things, but it is not “nice.” I am a Christian. “Nice” is for quasi-Buddhists who live in the Bay Area and drive Smart cars and secretly hate everyone east of Oakland. Being nice at the expense of being honest is not kind. It is not loving.

I had to look up the word “polemicist.” (I dropped out of college because rules were for Republicans.) It took me a while to understand what you were doing, but I got it. I started trying to explain to people that you’re honest and funny and nobody researches as well as you. Meanwhile, I was reading all your books and sharing them with people, or buying them as gifts. I pre-ordered your most recent one, Mugged, months before its release. If I hadn’t been in the throes of wedding planning, I would have read it in one day. It was brilliant, and everyone in America should have to read it because it is truth.

I like you because you are funny and you are not afraid. So many conservatives lack courage. They’re scared of being silenced and ostracized, and I don’t blame them. I’m scared of it, too. I’ve lost friends. I still lose them occasionally. It can be lonely.

Then the election happened. And your column, “DON’T BLAME ROMNEY,” came out.

Sigh.

You’ve written about abortion before. Sometimes when you write about abortion, it’s hilarious. That’s something I’m always trying to do: be pro-life and funny at the same time. It’s hard. Nobody’s expecting a knee-slapper on the subject of dead babies. But humor disarms people. It reminds them you’re sane. Only the crazy are deadly earnest all the time. It’s hard to change people’s minds about abortion, but on any subject, if you can make them laugh, you’re halfway there.

CLICK ‘LIKE’ IF YOU ARE PRO-LIFE!

I remember when you said this:

I wouldn’t kill an abortionist myself, but I wouldn’t want to impose my moral values on others. No one is for shooting abortionists. But how will criminalizing men making difficult, often tragic, decisions be an effective means of achieving the goal of reducing the shootings of abortionists?

That was in 2009, in your column “49 Million to Five,” when you pointed out how absurd it is to call the pro-life movement violent. Anti-life zealots went insane over this, failing or refusing to notice that you were satirizing a pro-abortion argument. To anyone with a brain and a sense of humor, it was obvious that you were pointing out the hypocrisy of those who wept for the abortionist while condoning abortion.

This is just one example of the many times you have championed and defended the pro-life cause.

Then you wrote this:

The last two weeks of the campaign were consumed with discussions of women’s “reproductive rights,” not because of anything Romney did, but because these two idiots [Akin and Mourdock] decided to come out against abortion in the case of rape and incest.

After all the hard work intelligent pro-lifers have done in changing the public’s mind about a subject the public would rather not think about at all, these purist grandstanders came along and announced insane positions with no practical purpose whatsoever, other than showing off.

While pro-lifers in the trenches have been pushing the abortion positions where 90 percent of the country agrees with us — such as bans on partial birth abortion, and parental and spousal notification laws — Akin and Mourdock decided to leap straight to the other end of the spectrum and argue for abortion positions that less than 1 percent of the nation agrees with.

In order to be pro-life badasses, they gave up two easy-win Republican Senate seats.

No law is ever going to require a woman to bear the child of her rapist. Yes, it’s every bit as much a life as an unborn child that is not the product of rape. But sentient human beings are capable of drawing gradations along a line…

The overwhelming majority of people — including me — are going to say the law shouldn’t force someone who has been raped to carry the child. On the other hand, abortion should be illegal in most other cases.

Is that so hard for Republicans to say?

Purist conservatives are like idiot hipsters who can’t like a band that’s popular. They believe that a group with any kind of a following can’t be a good band, just as show-off social conservatives consider it a mark of integrity that their candidates — Akin, Mourdock, Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell — take wildly unpopular positions and lose elections.

Ann. Oh, Ann. This hurts.

I am not going to make the case in this column for being pro-life without exceptions. I’ve done it before, and you know the argument anyway.

What hurts is that you would question our motives. This isn’t an issue of tactics – graphic images vs. no graphic images; incrementalism vs. all-or-nothing. This is about the actual lives of actual children. How could you think for a second we are interested in being ”pro-life badasses” when what we are really interested in is not abandoning any children - no matter who their fathers are? Those “gradations along a line” are human lives. If we don’t believe that, what are we doing here? Why are we wasting our time writing and speaking and marching and praying and helping women and making our friends hate us?

If any lives are worth abandoning for votes, why not all of them?

It also needs to be understood that what Todd Akin said was stupid and what Richard Mourdock said was said stupidly. Todd Akin, bless his heart, made a truly idiotic comment out of total ignorance. Richard Mourdock said something totally true – that the child born of rape is wanted and loved and intended by God – in a way that made it sound like he thinks God likes it when ladies get raped. Todd Akin should have left the race. Mourdock should have clarified his statement.

I keep hearing all these Fox News pundits talk about how my party needs to start pandering to special interest groups and being “nicer.” And I think: no. Nice is not kind. We have to keep being honest. We have to be who we are, and then we’ll win.

Same thing here, Ann: until we explain and competently defend our belief that all children deserve life, without exception, those children will never have a chance. They will never be protected. There is no one else to do it but us. I am not willing to let even one of them go. I am not willing to win an election by abandoning the children of rape. I know you think it’s better in the long run to get pro-life people elected, but we can’t do it by lying and saying that babies conceived in rape and incest aren’t worthy of life. They are. If we don’t protect them now, we can’t ever. And I’m not okay with that.

Lying is for them, not us.

I freakin’ love you, Ann. You’re smarter about politics than me. You’re smarter than me, period. But you’re wrong about this. I don’t know if I’ve ever disagreed with you, but I have to now. (And not just because you compared me to a hipster. I can’t stand hipsters, although I like European beer and I wear really cool glasses and hero-worship Jack White.)

I am going to continue to be 100% pro-life, without exception, and encourage others to do the same. If that makes me a pro-life badass, fine. If it makes me an annoying purist, fine. But it also makes me right.

Your friend,

Kristen

Follow us on Twitter:

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

Only 7 days left!

Support pro-life news. Help us reach our critical spring fundraising goal by April 1!


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Credit: John-Henry Westen, LifeSiteNews
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

, ,

Vatican’s doctrine chief: ‘Absolutely anti-Catholic’ to let bishops conferences decide doctrine or discipline

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

VATICAN, March 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has rejected outright the idea floated by Germany’s Cardinal Reinhard Marx that various bishops’ conferences around the world would decide for themselves on points of discipline or doctrine. 

“This is an absolutely anti-Catholic idea that does not respect the catholicity of the Church,” Cardinal Müller told France’s Famille Chrétienne in an interview published today

The question was raised because Cardinal Marx, the head of the German Catholic bishops’ conference and a member of Pope Francis’ advisory Council of Nine, told reporters that the German bishops would chart their own course on the question of allowing Communion for those in “irregular” sexual unions.

“We are not a subsidiary of Rome,” he said in February. “The Synod cannot prescribe in detail what we should do in Germany.”

Vatican Cardinal Müller remarked that while episcopal conferences may have authority over certain issues they are not a parallel magisterium apart from the pope or outside communion with the bishops united to him.

Asked specifically about Cardinal Marx saying that the Church in Germany is “not a subsidiary of Rome,” the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said pointedly “the president of an Episcopal Conference is nothing more than a technical moderator, and as such has no special teaching authority.”  He added moreover, that the dioceses in a particular country “are not subsidiaries of the secretariat of an Episcopal conference or diocese whose Bishop presides over the Episcopal Conference.”

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

The CDF head warned that “this attitude makes the risk of waking some polarization between the local churches and the universal Church.” He did not however believe that there was the will for Episcopal conferences to separate from Rome.

The important interview also saw Cardinal Müller contest the notion that the pastoral practice or discipline could change while retaining the same doctrine. “We can not affirm the doctrine and initiate a practice that is contrary to the doctrine,” he said.

He added that not even the papal Magisterium is free to change doctrine. “Every word of God is entrusted to the Church, but it is not superior to the Word,” he said. “The Magisterium is not superior to the word of God. The reverse is true.”

Cardinal Müller rejected the notion that we would have to modify Christ’s unflinching words totally forbidding divorce and remarriage.  We cannot “say that our ministry should be more cautious than Jesus Christ Himself!”  Nor could we, he added, say that Christ’s teaching is out of date or that “we need to correct or refine Jesus Christ because He lived in an idealistic world.” 

Rather, the cardinal said, bishops must be ready for martyrdom.  Quoting Jesus he said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and if we speak all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

‘Groundbreaking’: Kansas may become first state to ban dismemberment abortions

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

TOPEKA, KS, March 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Kansas will become the first state in the country to ban a procedure in which unborn children are dismembered in the womb, if Gov. Sam Brownback signs a bill that recently passed the state legislature.

The state House passed a ban on dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions, called dismemberment abortions in common parlance, by 98-26 on Wednesday.

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which had already passed the state Senate in February 31-9, now heads to Gov. Brownback's desk.

Brownback, a staunch defender of life, is expected to sign the act into law.

"Because of the Kansas legislature's strong pro-life convictions, unborn children in the state will be protected from brutal dismemberment abortions," said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, which has made banning dismemberment abortions a national legislative focus.

The procedure, in which an abortionist separates the unborn child's limbs from his body one at a time, accounts for 600 abortions statewide every year.

Nationally, it is “the most prevalent method of second-trimester pregnancy termination in the USA, accounting for 96 percent of all second trimester abortions,” according to the National Abortion Federation Abortion Training Textbook.

“It’s just unconscionable that something happens to children that we wouldn’t tolerate being done to pets,” Katie Ostrowski, the legislative director of Kansans for Life, told The Wichita Eagle.

Leading pro-life advocacy groups have made shifting the debate to dismemberment a national priority, with similar legislation being considered in Missouri and Oklahoma. Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., who is NRLC's director of state legislation, called the bill's passage in Topeka “groundbreaking.”

"When the national debate focuses only on the mother, it is forgetting someone," she said.

The abortion lobby has made clear that it is uncomfortable engaging in a public relations tussle on this ground.

Elizabeth Nash, the senior state issues associate of the Guttmacher Institute, said that dismemberment is “not medical language, so it’s a little bit difficult to figure out what the language would do.”

On the state Senate floor, Democrats tried to alter the bill's language on the floor by replacing the term “unborn child” with fetus. “I know some of you don’t believe in science. But it’s not an unborn child, it’s called a fetus,” said state Senator David Haley, D-Kansas City.

If the bill becomes law, the abortion industry has vowed to fight on.

Julie Burkhart, a former associate of late-term abortionist George Tiller, said the motion's only intention is “to intimidate, threaten and criminalize doctors.”

“Policymakers should be ashamed,” she said, adding, “if passed, we will challenge it in court.”

Gov. Brownback has previously signed conscience rights protections and sweeping pro-life protections into law.

Advertisement
Featured Image
Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com
Anne Hendershott

,

How NOT to move beyond the abortion wars

Anne Hendershott
By Anne Hendershott

March 26, 2015 (CrisisMagazine.com) -- A few years ago, when an undergraduate student research assistant of mine—a recent convert to Catholicism—told me that he was planning to meet with a well-known dissenting Catholic theology professor who was then ensconced in an endowed chair at a major metropolitan Catholic university, I told him: “Be careful, you might end up liking him too much.” I jokingly told my student not to make eye contact with the theologian because he might begin to find himself agreeing with him that Catholic teachings “really allow” for women’s ordination and full reproductive rights—including access to abortion.

I was reminded of that conversation this week when I began reading a new book by yet another engaging Catholic theology professor at a major metropolitan university who also claims (pg 6) that the argument he puts forward in his book, Beyond the Abortion Wars, is “consistent with defined Catholic doctrine.” Written by Charles Camosy, associate professor of theology at Fordham University, the new book purports to be in line with Catholic teachings and promises “a way forward for a new generation.” But, Camosy delivers yet another argument for a woman’s right to choose abortion when confronted with an unborn child that he has described—in the past—as an “innocent aggressor.”

Indeed, Camosy has spent much of his career trying to convince us that he knows Catholic teachings better than the bishops. Criticizing Bishop Olmsted for his intervention and excommunication of a hospital administrator for her role in the direct abortion at a Phoenix Catholic hospital, Camosy suggested in 2013 that “the infamous Phoenix abortion case set us back in this regard.” Implying that Bishop Olmsted was not smart enough to understand the moral theology involved in the case, Camosy claimed that “The moral theology in the case was complex—which makes the decision to declare publicly that Sr. McBride had excommunicated herself even more inexplicable. The Church can do better.” For Camosy, “Catholics must be ready to help shape our new discussion on abortion. And we must do so in a way that draws people into the conversation—not only with respectful listening, but speaking in a way that is both coherent and sensitive.”

This new book is likely Camosy’s attempt to “draw people into the conversation.” But, there is little in his book that is either coherent or sensitive. Claiming to want to move “beyond” the abortion wars, Camosy creates an argument that seems designed to offend the pro-life side, while giving great respect to those who want to make sure abortion remains legal.

Especially offensive for pro-life readers will be Camosy’s description of the abortifacient, RU-486 as a form of “indirect abortion.” The reality is that RU-486, commonly known as the “abortion pill,” effectively ends an early pregnancy (up to 8 weeks) by turning off the pregnancy hormone (progesterone). Progesterone is necessary to maintain the pregnancy and when it is made inoperative, the fetus is aborted. For Camosy, who claims that his book is “consistent with settled Catholic doctrine,” this is not a “direct” abortion. To illustrate this, Camosy enlists philosopher Judith Jarvis Thompson’s 1971 “Defense of Abortion”—the hypothetical story of the young woman who is kidnapped and wakes up in a hospital bed to find that her healthy circulatory system has been hooked up to a famous unconscious violinist who has a fatal kidney ailment. The woman’s body is being used to keep the violinist alive until a “cure” for the violinist can be found. Camosy makes the case—as hundreds of thousands of pro-choice proponents have made in the past four decades—that one cannot be guilty of directly killing the violinist if one simply disconnects oneself from him. Likewise, for Camosy, simply taking the drug RU 486 is not “directly” killing the fetus. He writes:

The drugs present in RU 486 do not by their very nature appear to attack the fetus. Instead, the drug cuts off the pregnancy hormone and the fetus is detached from the woman’s body…. Using RU 486 is like removing yourself from [Judith Jarvis Thompson’s] violinist once you are attached. You don’t aim at his death, but instead remove yourself because you don’t think you have the duty to support his life with your body…. Some abortions are indirect and better understood as refusals to aid (pp 82-83).

Perhaps there are some readers who will find Camosy’s argument convincing, but I am not sure that many faithful Catholic readers will agree that it is consistent with settled Catholic doctrine.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

As one who is hardly a bystander in the abortion wars, I wanted to like this book. As an incrementalist who celebrates every small step in creating policy to protect the unborn, I had high hopes that this book would at last begin to bridge the divide. A decade ago, in my own book, The Politics of Abortion, I joined the argument begun by writers like Marvin Olasky in his Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America, that it is more effective to attempt to change the hearts and minds of people than to create divisive public policy at the federal level. I share Charles Camosy’s desire to end the abortion wars—but this war cannot end until the real war on the unborn ends. This does not mean that the two sides cannot work together—battling it out at the state level—where there is the opportunity for the greatest success. But, complex philosophical arguments on whether RU 486 is a direct or indirect form of abortion are not helpful to these conversations.

Camosy must know that we can never really “end” the abortion wars as long as unborn children are still viewed as “aggressors” or “invaders” and can still be legally aborted. Faithful Catholics know that there is no middle ground on this—the pro-life side has to prevail in any war on the unborn. It can be done incrementally but ground has to be gained—not ceded—for the pro-life side. Besides, Camosy seems a bit late to the battlefield to begin with. In many ways, he seems to have missed the fact that the pro-life side is already winning many of the battles through waiting periods, ultrasound and parental notification requirements, and restrictions on late term abortion at the state level. More than 300 policies to protect the unborn have been passed at the state level just in the past few years. The number of abortions each year has fallen to pre-Roe era levels—the lowest in more than four decade.   Much of these gains are due to the selfless efforts of the pro-life community and their religious leaders. Yet, just as victory appears possible in many more states, Camosy seems to want to surrender by resurrecting the tired rhetoric—and the unconscious violinists—of forty years ago.

While it is disappointing, it is not unexpected considering Camosy’s last book lauded the contributions of Princeton’s most notorious professor, Peter Singer—the proponent of abortion, euthanasia and infanticide. Claiming that Singer is “motivated by an admirable desire to respond to the suffering of human and non-human animals,” Camosy’s 2012 book, Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization, argues that, “Though Singer is pro-choice for infanticide, on all the numerous and complicated issues related to abortion but one, Singer sounds an awful lot like Pope John Paul II.”  In a post at New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a progressive organization led by Rev. Richard Cizik (a former lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals who was removed from his position because of his public support for same sex unions, and his softening stance on abortion) Camosy wrote that he found Singer to be “friendly and compassionate.”  Camosy currently serves on the Advisory Board of Cizik’s New Evangelical Partnership—where he has posted Peter Singer-like articles including: “Why Christians Should Support Rationing Health Care.”

One cannot know the motivations of another—we can never know what is in another’s heart so it is difficult to know why Charles Camosy wrote this book. It must be difficult to be a pro-life professor at Fordham University—a school known for dissenting theologians like Elizabeth Johnson. But, if one truly wants to advance a culture of life in which all children are welcomed into the world, it would seem that inviting Peter Singer to be an honored speaker to students at Fordham in 2012 is not the way to do it, nor would claiming that RU-486 “may not aim at death by intention.” Perhaps it is unwise to continue to critically review Camosy’s work from a Catholic perspective because it gives such statements credibility—and notoriety. But, as long as Camosy continues to claim that his writings and policy suggestions—including his newly proposed “Mother and Prenatal Child Protection Act”—are “consistent with defined Catholic doctrine,” faithful Catholics will have to continue to denounce them.

Reprinted with permission from Crisis Magazine. 

Share this article

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook