I have been covering the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak from the beginning when “suspected” cases were first reported in Guinea this past February, both on this website and on The Global Dispatch. I’ve looked at it from many angles–the disease, case counts, the spread and epidemiology, the potential treatments and the two US missionaries who got infected in Liberia.
However, in the past week or so, two “celebrities” have either wrote about or tweeted about the return to the US of Samaritan’s Purse missionaries, Dr. Kent Brantly and Mrs. Nancy Writebol, who both contracted the dangerous virus working in Liberia, in which I feel as if I should comment on.
First is conservative author and lawyer Anne Coulter, who published an op-ed Wednesday titled, EBOLA DOC’S CONDITION DOWNGRADED TO ‘IDIOTIC’. Let me start out by saying that Ms. Coulter is well known for being bombastic and hyperbolic in her columns, books and in-person interviews. I get that, it’s her shtick, that is what has likely made her a wealthy woman. Secondly, she and Mr. Trump, who I will address later, are clearly entitled to their opinions.
However, I feel Coulter is way out-of- bounds in her piece.
Like most who appear on left and right-wing media, everything is about politics, and Coulter is no different.
She states, “Why did Dr. Brantly have to go to Africa? The very first “risk factor” listed by the Mayo Clinic for Ebola — an incurable disease with a 90 percent fatality rate — is: “Travel to Africa.”” And at the end of the piece she describes Dr. Brantly as a “Christian Narcissist”.
I hardly believe that the Brantly’s or the Writebols went to Africa out of Christian narcissism but because they were called by God to do so. There are a number of verses in the Bible that go over this exact topic, here are a few examples:
Mark 16:15 – And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Acts 1:8 – But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Matthew 28:19-20- Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.
Dr. Brantly has even discussed this recently saying, “My wife Amber and I, along with our two children, did not move to Liberia for the specific purpose of fighting Ebola. We went to Liberia because we believe God called us to serve Him at ELWA Hospital.”
The Christian Post quotes Brantly as saying, “In October, [my wife] Amber and the kids and I are moving to Monrovia, Liberia, to work as medical missionaries at ELWA Hospital,” Brantly told the Southeastern Church of Christ in Indianapolis. “For two years we will live and work and serve among the people who, until the last 10 years of peace, have known nothing but the violence and devastation of war for the previous 20 years.”
Brantly added that although he had “never been to Liberia,” he was going “because God has a call on my life. God did not give us a spirit of timidity,” he explained, citing the Apostle Paul.
What Ms. Coulter doesn’t get is that it’s a calling, not an intellectual, analytical or narcissistic decision made by an individual.
In addition, the Brantly’s went to Monrovia last October to serve the Liberian people who desperately need the help and to hear the Gospel, prior the the EVD outbreak. They and the Writebol’s clearly had a burden for the people of Liberia.
I’ve known many missionaries over my many years and all were “called’. All have a burden for whatever people God sent them to. Some had a burden in their heart for the people of China, some Africa, some Appalachia and some Tampa, Florida.
Coulter points out in the article of the lack of missionaries in the US and of course God need Christians here and abroad, but for her to call what these brave, charitable, Christian families, and so many others as narcissistic is taking it way to far.
Two final points about Anne Coulter:
First, where o where are the criticisms of Coulter’s thesis from the people at Fox News or conservative talk radio? If someone from a competitor TV or radio show had written or said the same thing, I believe these people would be scorned by the former.
Second, maybe Ms. Coulter, who writes many over-the-top books and articles, should examine herself concerning narcissism in her every writing–writing things that are going to grab attention no matter what. Maybe it was a good time for her to put out an article with the keyword “Ebola”.
One thing Anne Coulter got right was the risk of bringing the two missionaries back to the States, “There’s little danger of an Ebola plague breaking loose from the treatment of these two Americans at the Emory University Hospital”; however, Donald Trump on the other hand has gone off the deep-end on Twitter concerning the dangers of bringing these two people home.
Of course, Mr. Trump is way off base concerning this topic, just as he was with the vaccine-autism link he tweeted about in March. But he certainly garners a lot of attention for his misguided tweets, unfortunately.
To Mr. Trump, instead of me writing at length on this topic, I turn it over to Dr. Tara Smith, a Kent State University infectious disease professor and author of the blog, Aetiology. Her article on Mic. com, Everything you know about Ebola is wrong, addresses Mr. Trump’s and others concerns.