An Open Letter to Ann Coulter

The World of Special Olympics

image John Franklin Stephens

The following is a guest post in the form of an open letter from Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens to Ann Coulter after this tweet during last night’s Presidential debate.

Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow.  So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?

I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow.  I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you.  In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.

I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied…

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Mr. Netanyahu, Stay Home!

Speakers of the House sometimes get confused. Under the U.S. Constitution the Speaker of the House is second in line behind the Vice President in the event something happens, God forbid, to the President. Sometimes Speakers – and foreign Heads of State running for their lives in elections back home – speak and act out of turn.

Read Mother Jones’ article Has Netanyahu Finally Gone Too Far with His Contempt for Obama? 


Obama and Putin 2

President Obama is not pleased by the hand on his back and the smirk on Mr. Putin’s face. Remember the Putin was KGB, the U.S.S.R. equivalent of the U.S.A.’s CIA, before he became President of Russia. CNN published this report about Russian bombers on patrol near U.S. borders.

in this picture, what do you suppose Mr. Obama and Mr. Putin thinking and feeling?

Obama: "Get your planes off our border!." Putin: "Try and stop us, Black Boy!"

Obama: “Get your bombers off our borders, you SOB!” Putin: “Try and stop us, Black Boy!”



Obama and Putin

This picture taken by AP photographer Ria Novosti at the APEC Conference in Beijing is worth a thousand words. Look at the faces of the black President and the white President patronizing Mr. Obama with his hand on President Obama’s back. Put into words: “I own you, Boy!” and “Get your hand off me!”

Putin: "He's my BOY"; Obama: "Get your hand off me."

Putin: “He’s my BOY”; Obama: “Get your hand off me.”

Boogie-Man Politics

Senator Ted Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz

Comparing Obamacare to the Nazis, Senator Ted Cruz (TX) said: “Look, we saw in Britain, Neville Chamberlain, who told the British people, ‘Accept the Nazis. Yes, they’ll dominate the continent of Europe but that’s not our problem. Let’s appease them. Why? Because it can’t be done. We can’t possibly stand against them.’”

So which is it? Sometimes you paint the President as a Communist. Sometimes you paint him as a Fascist. You can’t have it both ways, Senator. Hitler was a Fascist. Stalin was a Communist. Obama is neither. Somehow the three have been mixed together into a political Molotov Cocktail. It’s reported this morning that a huge crowd in Iowa gave Senator Cruz an enthusiastic 36-second standing ovation.

Is it a coincidence that the President he loves to smear is black? Boogie-Man politics has a sordid history in this country.

Those whose memories are longer see the sneer of former Senator Joseph McCarthy on the faces of those who, like him, use innuendo and character assassination to destroy public figures and elected officials who do not agree that a Right Wing agenda is the definition of “American.” The arrogant sneer always looks the same. Because it is the same.

Paul Robeson testifying, SOURCE: AP/Bill Achatz

Paul Robeson testifying,
SOURCE: AP/Bill Achatz

Paul Robeson, under investigation by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, doing battle with the Chair while testifying, spoke the words then that still echo in my ears. They still pertain to Boogie-Man politics:

“You are the Un-Americans, and you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.”

Watch out when finger pointing

“President Obama’s decision-making will be guided by what is in the best interests of the United States,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said following the UK vote [to disapprove of military action in the Syrian civil war]. “He believes that there are core interests at stake for the United States and that countries who violate international norms regarding chemical weapons need to be held accountable.” 

Hmmm. So…. what were Napalm and Agent Orange if not chemical weapons? 

When you point the finger demanding accountability, it’s always best to make sure it doesn’t point back at you.

Our hands are NOT clean.

Alt-Facts and the ‘Anti-Christ’

Talk radio host

Talk radio host

Views from the Edge re-publishes this piece on Maundy Thursday, 2017. It first appeared here on March 24, 2010. Sadly, nothing much has changed. The U.S. was sucker-punched by the apocalyptic spirituality of the alt-right politics of Rush Limbaugh and Steve Bannon.

Something from the Christian tradition – the idea of ‘the Anti-Christ’ – is lifting its ugly head, a word and concept that could trigger unthinkable tragedy unless we clean up our civil discourse.

According to Harris Interactive Poll taken between March 1 and 8, “more than 20% believe [President Obama] was not born in the United States, that he is ‘the domestic enemy the U.S. Constitution speaks of,’ that he is racist and anti-American, and that he ‘wants to use an economic collapse or terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers.’ Fully 20% think he is ‘doing many of the things that Hitler did,’ while 14% believe ‘he may be the anti-Christ’ and 13% think ‘he wants the terrorists to win.”

The poll reflects what we all know: our civic health as a nation is being poisoned by inflammatory rhetoric from both sides of the political aisle. This toxic disregard for truth lies behind the results of the Harris Poll. Trigger words like ‘socialist,’ ‘communist,’ ‘terrorist,’ ‘anti-American,’ and ‘the Anti-Christ’ and the allegation that America’s first black president is the nation’s chief domestic enemy take us beyond the McCarthyism of the ‘50s. This cocktail is lethal.

As a Christian pastor I rue the use of Christian scripture to stoke the fires of fear and hate. The Christian life – or spiritual life of any sort, for that matter – is a life of discernment about the powers that shape ordinary life. It is not blind to evil. But loud spirituality is an oxymoron. We need to be reminded that all the great religions hold some version of the essential tenet expressed in the First Letter of John. “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness still” and “If any one says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.”

Labeling the President of the United States ‘the Anti-Christ” gives deranged minds a license to kill . . . in the name of the non-violent, crucified Jesus. If some deranged American patriot like the Marine who plotted to assassinate the President should succeed . . . God forbid! . . . the blood will be on the hands of all who remained silent when the hate speech was being poured into the public stream of consciousness. And if you claim to be a disciple of Jesus, get yourself to church Maundy Thursday and Good Friday to ground yourself again in the love that conquers hate and fear.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Maundy Thursday morning, Chaska, MN.




I rarely use the word. But a conversation today makes me say it. Some things are just plain evil.

The ticket seller at today’s church fund-raiser said, “Obama’s trying to take all the guns away!”

“No, he’s not. No one’s proposing taking guns away. Nonsense. Nobody is arguing that. Where’d you hear that?”


“FOX is not news. It’s right-wing propaganda.They’re the 10 Commandment station.

“Remind them of the Ninth Commandment. ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor’.”

How to handle a heckler: Romney and Obama

Yesterday Unedited Politics re-posted this video of a would-be president.

It led me to this post of the President Obama handling a heckling reporter at the White House.

Now that you’ve seen them, notice the difference in the summary headings over the two videos. “Mitt Romney heckled by.…” focuses only the heckler, not on the candidate’s response. It evokes sympathy for Mr. Romney. “President scolds reporter….” elicits sympathy for the heckler. Language frames perception.

But the video-tapes tell a different story, no matter what the words say. The tapes tell the story of the character and style of Mr. Romney and the President and the way they handle a rude opponent.

How do you describe the difference? What qualities of character and style do you want in the Oval Office next January? Leave your comment here.

Grammar quiz

Can you find the split infinitive in “The Only Animal Dumb Enough…”

Valois Cafeteria, Chicago

I just received this email from my friend Steve:”…sitting in Valois Cafeteria in Hyde Park (They have a list on the wall near the menus, ‘President Obama’s Favorites’).

“I was where I was till you interrupted me & pulled me into your hair-styling shop — I hate you guys with Good Hair.

“Would your great insight (and I mean that sincerely, although the Existentialists never quite persuaded me to join their ranks fully) be better or worse if there was not a split infinitive?

“Now back to my Rice Pudding.”