Ann Coulter says Kent Brantly should never have gone to Liberia; others begs to differ
The conservative commentator says the American medical missionary infected with Ebola would have achieved more serving in morally bankrupt Hollywood than the west African nation ravaged with the deadly virus
Ann Coulter is never afraid to speak her mind and this time she has some pointed comments to make about Dr Kent Brantly, who became infected with Ebola while treating victims of the virus in Liberia.
Dr Brantly was serving with Samaritan's Purse and has since been flown back, along with another infected US missionary, Nancy Writebol, for specialist treatment in the US.
While some American commentators have criticised his return because of the risks that come with bringing the virus onto home soil, Coulter's ire is more rooted in the idea that American Christians would be better off serving in their own backyard than heading off overseas.
She goes as far as to say Brantly's service to Liberia was "idiotic" and little more than "Christian narcissism".
"I wonder how the Ebola doctor feels now that his humanitarian trip has cost a Christian charity much more than any services he rendered. What was the point?" she writes on her website.
"Whatever good Dr Kent Brantly did in Liberia has now been overwhelmed by the more than $2 million already paid by the Christian charities Samaritan's Purse and SIM USA just to fly him and his nurse home in separate Gulfstream jets, specially equipped with medical tents, and to care for them at one of America's premier hospitals. (This trip may be the first real-world demonstration of the economics of Obamacare.)
"There's little danger of an Ebola plague breaking loose from the treatment of these two Americans at the Emory University Hospital. But why do we have to deal with this at all?"
She goes on to list some of the social ills affecting the US, like its high murder rate, drug abuse, and the culture of sexual promiscuity.
"Can't anyone serve Christ in America ... no there's nothing for a Christian to do here," she writes.
"If Dr Brantly had practiced at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles and turned one single Hollywood power-broker to Christ, 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.
"America is the most consequential nation on Earth, and in desperate need of God at the moment. If America falls, it will be a thousand years of darkness for the entire planet."
Among those who have read her blog is Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he is angry about what he interprets as nigh on "racism" towards Africa, and "toxic" nationalism towards America "that flies right in the face of the gospel of Jesus Christ and in the command of Christ given in the Great Commission".
Rather than as a way of escaping the cultural war going on in the US, Christian missions in other countries are, he writes, "obedience to the command of Christ".
"True gospel missionaries—those faithful to the command of Jesus Christ—are not driven by "narcissism" to use Ann Coulter's word, they are indeed heroic. More than heroic, they are simply faithful," he says.
"Christians are under the obligation to be obedient to Christ long before we should enter into any kind of calculation about whether or not it is good for the United States of America."
Mohler isn't the only one to have taken issue with Coulter's latest column. Rod Dreher, writing on the American Conservative, said it was "revolting" that Coulter could suggest Dr Brantly and his family went to serve impoverished Africans "for the personal glory".
Dreher describes Dr Brantly as a "hero. And so are all those men and women like him."
However, he does suggest there is room for reflection on whether American Christians have the right priorities.
"I think there's nothing wrong, and everything right, about going overseas to serve the poorest of the poor. Do not misunderstand me here. The problem is, how often do we think about the suffering of the poorest people in our own country?
"Unlike Ann Coulter, I don't believe it's an either-or question, nor do I question the motives of people who do what I have never done: go overseas to help the poor."
He concludes: "It's extremely easy to hate Coulter's column (you just have to have a heart, or a soul), but to be honest, I think it's fair to ask ourselves, as Christians, if at least some of us have a Mrs. Jellyby thing going on regarding foreign missionary work."
As for David Writebol, the husband of infected nurse Nancy Writebol, who was serving with SIM, he is staggered at the amount of criticism she has received.
"It's just astonishing to see the reaction of people, and I think it exposes the underlying philosophy and worldview of the age where ...an individual is really of no account and when someone goes to extraordinary lengths and measures to minister to and perhaps help an individual then that's looked down upon," he said, according to the Daily Mail.