By Jonathon Van Maren
One of the few pleasures one gets from Michael Coren’s sad shtick, in which he incessantly attacks his former customers, is that very few people have bought into his “total conversion to the Left” story (besides a few LGBT activists for whom he is a useful idiot.) With Coren’s latest outraged huffing and puffing, this time over Doug Ford’s repeal of the sex education curriculum, even Chris Selley of the National Post had enough, tweeting out several screenshots with the observation: “It just never ends.” One featured a headline from the Financial Post on November 20, 1996, where Coren demanded, “Don’t dissuade parents from homeschooling their children.”
Another was a Winnipeg Sun editorial from January 10, 2014, where Coren’s headline read: “Teachers: Stay out of politics,” with Coren admonishing that, “We see this clearly in the field of sex education, where teachers and educational bureaucrats have convinced us that only they can properly instruct children in sexuality and sexual formation. Apparently moms and dads—the people who had sex in the first place, thus bringing their offspring into the world—are suddenly fools and prudes who cannot possibly share their knowledge of birds, bees and condoms with those they love and care for most in the world. And of course, the type of sexuality in question is generally not mainstream and loving but perverse and animalistic.”
Now, of course, Coren has tweeted out a photo of some snaggle-toothed, overalls-and-suspenders-wearing farm kids with the sarcastic comment, “New committee appointed to oversee Ontario sex ed curriculum.” It is not, Selley noted, that he thinks Coren is wrong about the sex-ed or that people can’t change their minds—it is “the *constant sneering* at people who hold views he used to hold—in some cases VERY recently.” And it is true: Attacking Christians while insisting that he is the real Christian seems to be the only thing Coren has left, as if condemning 2000-year-old Christian beliefs was some form of Episcopalian penance.
The truth is that Coren has always been insufferable regardless of which side of the fence he was on, and nearly everyone knows it. Most of the commentariat and literati seem to barely tolerate him, because despite the fact that he’s come around on a few issues they hold dear, he’s still a pretty intolerable fellow to be around. (Those who take classes with him at Trinity report that he manages to shoehorn mentions of his failed TV career into his answer nearly every time he’s called upon.) He is also extremely infantile in a way that he seems to think is witty, but everyone else sees as rock bottom: One of Coren’s frequent responses to critics on Twitter is, “That’s not what you said to me in bed last night, naughty boy!” or some similar rejoinder. Coren’s humor would bomb at a high school open mic night.
Coren now attempts to simultaneously play the “love card” while smearing his opponents. He forgets that there are plenty of his old interviews floating around the Internet, in which he critiqued Miley Cyrus (“she’s got a boy’s body”), and told Tanya Granic Allen on his Sun News Show the Moral Maze that a girl he disagreed with was “ugly” and had botched her “boob job”—and that’s just the start of it. He is also vicious to old friends of his—during the provincial election he tweeted out that right-wing critiques of NDP leader Andrea Horwath were pretty weak, and that “I’d rather know more about the PC candidates who believe in debating the Holocaust!” Coren was referring to an ugly progressive smear aimed at former radio host Andrew Lawton—despite the fact that Lawton was a friend of his. No matter, though—Coren will throw anyone under the bus for his new team, even if he has to repeat things he knows are lies about people who were once his friends in order to do it.
The truth is that Coren has arrived at the progressive party a little late, and only by turning on his former friends and allies can he sing for his supper—it’s not as if writers that oppose Doug Ford or Donald Trump are in short supply, after all. And so Coren has taken to insisting on a single point, over and over, sometimes in nearly identical words: That Christianity does not condemn abortion or homosexuality. A few examples:
In Standpoint Magazine in November of 2015:
Jesus never speaks of homosexuality, Paul seldom mentions it, the Old Testament devotes a tiny amount of space to it and never even refers to lesbianism, while modern interpretations of the story of Sodom and even the Pauline letters lead to some very different conclusions about their meaning.
In the Toronto Star on June 5, 2017:
Jesus didn’t mention homosexuality, abortion, or euthanasia but He did speak a great deal about peace, love, justice, the dangers of wealth, the sin of materialism, and a preferential regard for the poor.
The Toronto Star, November 2, 2017:
That olive-skinned first-century Galilean never refers to abortion or homosexuality, seems delightfully unconcerned about how and why people make love, and is eager to understand and forgive those accused of sexual sin. But my golly He does go on and on about social justice, the plight of the poor, the sins of the rich, the corruption of power, and that the problems of the world are hypocrisy and self-righteous religiosity.
In a Maclean’s magazine column on the War on Christmas on November 23, 2017:
We must remember, however, that these are not issues that Jesus explicitly mentioned in the Bible.
In the Toronto Star, January 22, 2018 on the Canada Summer Jobs issue:
Abortion isn’t really mentioned in The Bible, and when there is a reference it’s vague and about God’s communal plan rather than abortion as we know it today. Poverty, refugees, and the marginalized are constants however, and Jesus seldom shuts up about them!
In the Globe and Mail in a column titled “The Battle for Christianity,” March 29, 2018:
Jesus himself said not a word about homosexuality or abortion, was far more concerned with justice and acceptance than with order and structure, warned the rich of the dangers of their wealth, praised and loved the poor and marginalized, and rejected the existing religious establishment.
In The Walrus on May 24, 2018 in an article titled “Conservatives don’t own Jesus”:
On the issues of abortion and homosexuality, for example, Jesus hardly says a word.
In the Globe and Mail on the TWU case on June 15, 2018:
Jesus never actually speaks of homosexuality, which was certainly well known and often discussed in 1st century Palestine.
And that’s just what popped up when I Googled a single phrase (I’m sure you can guess what it is.) Humorously, Coren’s “epiphany” was simply to discover some lazy, rootless post-modern exegesis used by those who wish to cling to some semblance of spirituality while abandoning everything Christianity ever taught. Perhaps only the old Michael Coren can respond to the new Michael Coren with the appropriate level of contempt. As he wrote back in 2007: “As for Jesus not condemning homosexuality, nor did He condemn bestiality and necrophilia…But you were referring to the Bible. I was showing that Christ did indeed condemn homosexuality, as does the Old Testament, St. Paul, the church fathers and all Christianity until a few liberal Protestants in the last decades of the 20th century who, frankly, are more concerned with political correctness than truth.”
I wonder if Coren works himself up into a lather each day by reading through some of his old columns.