Earlier this year, the Christian film "God's Not Dead," was released. It was an indictment of academia, liberalism, and some business people, but as the Ebola crisis unfolded in West Africa and in nearby Atlanta, maybe those who attack Christianity aren't who we think they are.
In the film "God's Not Dead," a Philosophy professor debates a Christian student on whether or not God exists. That's probably not an unrealistic event on college campuses, but the movie has the professor force all students to sign a document that says "God does not exist" to get a passing grade.
As television screens are crammed with commercials for the Blu-Ray version of this film, which is about to be released, we're facing the Ebola crisis. Two Americans who went over to Africa to try and fight the disease became infected themselves. They've come to America to get the top notch treatment, and our prayers are with them.
It's a story worthy of a movie like "Apollo 13." You've got two Christian doctors who were going to Liberia to help those less fortunate, working for Rev. Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse. Graham is, of course, the son of Rev. Billy Graham. You have the military at Dobbins Air Force Base, helping bring them to America, and those at Emory in Atlanta working around the clock to help save these Christian evangelizing health care workers.
Of course, there are legitimate concerns about the safety of the caregivers and the potential release of this disease, which is dangerous, but not as easily spread as plagues in a late night SciFi channel horror film. But the care, the technology, and the can-do attitude of the missionaries, military and medical professionals have much of the world looking at us and saying "Ain't that America."
And then... in walked Ann Coulter. You can read her column here. I had to read it to believe it.
She accuses Dr. Brantly of being a Christian narcissist, wasting two million dollars of Samaritan Purse's money, preferring the "disease-ridden cesspools" of Africa to working in America. She slams him for not working in America, either in a poor Texas county or trying to convert Hollywood directors to Christianity, attacking him for risking making his wife a widow and his kids fatherless. She even makes a snarky comment about this being an expensive example of Obamacare, demonstrating the true goal of throwing these Christians under the bus.
Why did Paul leave the lands near Israel to spread the word of God to those heathens in Greece? Why did Francis Xavier leave Europe to tell the good news to India, Japan and Taiwan? Why did Charles Borremeo risk his life to cure the sick? All could have focused on healthy believers at home. Instead, all three, and millions of other Christians, gave their lives to give everyone in the world a chance to learn God's message (and yes, I learned about them folks in college). That's probably because Jesus said in the Gospel of Mark (second chapter, verse 17) "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
I wonder how people all across America, who take Christian mission trips in Central America, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, feel when they read this column, which basically claims that all they help they provide is worthless?
By risking their lives in the service of humanity, these brave missionaries will win more respect, and even Christian converts, than they would if they wrote a series of snarky and xenophobic columns and books. They, and others, are the real ones who prove that "God's Not Dead."
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.