Ann Coulter has dipped a spoon in the cauldron of controversy and stirred once again. In an August 6 column entitled Ebola Doc’s Condition Downgraded to Idiotic, the willowy author and commentator blasts Dr. Kent Brantly, the Ft. Worth physician who recently contracted the Ebola virus while tending to those suffering in Liberia. “If Dr. Brantly had practiced at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles and turned one single Hollywood power-broker to Christ,” Coulter writes, “he would have done more good for the entire world than anything he could accomplish in a century spent in Liberia. Ebola kills only the body; the virus of spiritual bankruptcy and moral decadence spread by so many Hollywood movies infects the world.”
She goes on to wonder, “Can’t anyone serve Christ in America anymore?”
I probably wouldn’t be blogging about this if Coulter was a lonely voice crying out in the wilderness. But in my 30-some-odd years as a pastor and evangelist, I have heard this more than once from the person in the pew. The question is usually phrased as, “Why are we spending all this money and time overseas when we should be helping those in our own backyard?”
One time in frustration I responded, “That’s a great idea. When are you going to start?”
Coulter even admitted that the Bible states “go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.” (Actually, that’s just not the Bible saying that, but Jesus Himself). Jesus also said, “Make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19), “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen” (Jn 10:16) and “the Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations…” (Lk 24:46-47). Oh, yes, He also commanded His followers to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, tend to the sick, show hospitality to strangers and visit those in prison (Matt 25:34-40). Jesus set no geopolitical boundaries on His directive. Those who do these things are doing them to Him–and those who don’t are subject to harsh judgment.
Fact is, from the beginning of the biblical story we see God’s heart for the world. He chose one man, Abraham, to be a blessing to all the nations, (Gen 18:18) and revealed His global plan for the world again and again in prophecy (Ex 9:16; I Kgs 8:60; I Chr 16:24; Is 49:6; Gal 3:8; Rev 5:9).
And, if Ms. Coulter hasn’t noticed, a ton of mission is already done right here in the good ol’ U.S.A., including the Appalachian Service Project, Habitat for Humanity, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, Meals on Wheels, Catholic Relief Services, Heifer Project and the very organization that she berates for sponsoring Dr. Brantly, Samaritan’s Purse, which helps Americans who have been slammed by such natural disasters as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and wildfires. And let’s not forget about the countless church food pantries, clothing closets, nursing home care, short-term mission trips, educational programs, counseling services and individual good deeds that are done in Christ’s name.
All Christians have a calling to follow Jesus, and that call may take them across town or on the other side of the world. All of it is part of God’s grand mission. Perhaps Ms. Coulter needs to heed her own calling so she won’t have time to meddle in others.