15 January 1959|
Walthamstow, Essex, England, UK
University of Nottingham|
City University, London
Trinity College, Toronto
|Occupation||Author, columnist, talk show host|
Bernadette (m. 1987)
Michael Coren (born 15 January 1959) is a British-Canadian columnist, author, public speaker, radio host and television talk show host. He hosted the television talk show The Michael Coren Show on the Crossroads Television System from 1999 to 2011 when he moved to the Sun News Network to host an evening talk show, The Arena with Michael Coren, from 2011 until the channel's demise in early 2015. He has also been a long-time radio personality, particularly on Toronto talk radio station CFRB.
He has written more than ten books, including biographies of G. K. Chesterton, H. G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, and C. S. Lewis. His latest books are Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity (2012), The Future of Catholicism (2013), Hatred: Islam's War on Christianity (2014) and Epiphany (2016).
Coren married his wife, Bernadette, in 1987. They have four children. He is a cousin of the late British author and journalist Alan Coren, and is thus related to Alan's children Victoria Coren Mitchell and Giles Coren.
Life and career
Coren was born in Walthamstow, Essex, England, of Jewish heritage, and raised secular. After obtaining a degree in politics from the University of Nottingham, he moved from Britain to Canada in 1987. For several years, he was a columnist for Frank and then The Globe and Mail, before he began syndicated columns for the Financial Post and Sun Media in 1995. Following his departure from Frank, he became a favourite target of that publication, culminating in a spoof ad contest to "deflower" Michael Coren (a nod to Frank's notorious "Deflower Caroline Mulroney" contest, and a satirical jab at Coren's conservative leanings.) Coren had also been a favourite target of Frank back in the days before he began writing for them. Coren took exception to being labelled a "literary prostitute" during a 1994 interview.
His career as a broadcaster began in the early 1990s when he co-hosted a political debate segment with Irshad Manji on TVOntario's Studio 2. In 1995, he began an evening talk show on CFRB. In 1999, Coren briefly moved to Talk 640 for a short stint as its morning man. He returned to CFRB, where he hosted a show from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. weekday nights, and regularly filled in for other hosts until November 2005. Coren was dismissed by CFRB as a result of complaints arising from comments ridiculing the weight of an apparent guest. In fact, the guest was an actor and the segment was scripted. According to CFRB's Operations Manager, Steve Kowch, "Pat Holiday, our general manager and myself went through the tape of Monday night's show and were shocked ... it was totally out of bounds." Coren argues that it was a satire comparing in his mind public attitude to third world starvation with North America's obsession with slimming and self-indulgence.
Despite this acrimonious termination, Coren made regular talk show appearances on CFRB in July 2006, at the start of the 2006 Israel–Lebanon conflict, as he happened to be in Israel at the time. After receiving 60% approval from CFRB listeners in an August 2006 poll, Coren returned to the CFRB airwaves in September 2006 with a Sunday evening show. As of 22 April 2007, the show expanded from its usual one-hour slot at 7–8 pm to 7–9 pm. Coren celebrated by giving away double the prizes usually given out. In the fall of 2007 he and former Liberal Party of Canada president Stephen LeDrew launched a daily hour-long afternoon show on CFRB called Two Bald Guys With Strong Opinions in which the two argue about the issues of the day. After the departure of LeDrew, Coren was joined by Tarek Fatah after several on air auditions by potential replacement co-hosts. Coren was again let go by CFRB along with 12 other staff of the Toronto radio station on 27 August 2009.
On television, Coren hosted the Michael Coren Show on the Crossroads Television System until June 2011 when he left to join the Sun News Network where he hosted The Arena with Michael Coren weeknights beginning 30 August 2011. Coren also had a newspaper column published every Saturday in the Sun newspaper chain until February 2015. He has been a columnist for the Western Standard, Catholic Insight and The Women's Post and has contributed to National Post, Reader's Digest and several other publications. A self-professed Tottenham Hotspur fan, he has appeared as a guest host on The Score's The Footy Show.
Following his conversion to Anglicanism, Coren began to publicly embrace socially liberal ideas such as support for same-sex marriage. He stated that it negatively affected his career and that he became the target of personal attacks from former readers, observing that "there is none so angry as a fundamentalist scorned". In a 2015 interview Coren estimated that he lost $35,000 a year in income from lost speaking fees and his former recurring columns for Sun Media newspapers, Crossroads Christian Communications properties, The Catholic Register, and other conservative Christian publications. He also stated that contrition is a major aspect of his conversion and he regrets "so much of what [he] said, especially the tone" in his earlier career.
Coren is also a public speaker, particularly at religious gatherings.
In his earlier, satirical Aesthete column in Frank magazine Coren was by his own admission deliberately provocative. In response to a 1994 interview question about AIDS he responded:
Look, people are dying all over. When it was blacks in Africa dying of AIDS, no one gave a toss. Nobody gave a toss. Suddenly, it's middleclass men in California and everyone goes crazy about it. It's a double standard. I'm trying to provoke people into rethinking comfortable points of view.
On the subject of AIDS Michael Coren wrote a column in 2006 titled "Why is AIDS so special?" in which he said "At its most simple, stop fornicating." "AIDS in the West is still overwhelmingly a threat to male homosexuals and intravenous drug users."
In an article which appeared in Sun Media in 2007, Coren said "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."
His articles and speeches often include stories of his own personal spiritual journey. Coren's father was Jewish as was his maternal grandfather, while his maternal grandmother came from a family of Welsh coal miners and converted to Judaism. Coren's father and uncle were cab drivers. Coren has said that his father's family left Poland in the 1890s, a few decades before the Holocaust. He said "People have called me an anti-Semite. I thought it quite rich since my father's family was massacred in the Holocaust". Michael Coren was profiled on Credo on Vision TV, and said that his father told him he could not attend his son's wedding in a Catholic church without becoming "physically sick".
He converted to Roman Catholicism in his early twenties while still living in England, later saying that he "converted to an institution."
He left Roman Catholicism for evangelical Christianity in the 1990s, after a conversion experience, greatly influenced by Canadian televangelist Terry Winter. In 1991, Coren said in a column for a humour magazine: "The evangelical Christians may be intolerant, small-minded, and repellent, but at least they hold a consistent set of beliefs". In a 1993 book review he said "Can anyone imagine a detective priest? Regrettably, it is easier to conjure up the image of a priest being questioned by secular detectives over abuse charges." Also in 1993, he had a falling out with the Catholic Church over an unflattering profile he wrote of Archbishop Aloysius Ambrozic for Toronto Life magazine. The bishop, who had made Coren a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre in October 1992, was quoted using words including "friggin" and "bitch", and said that the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco was a "conservative Roman Catholic and not a bad fellow". Coren defended himself, saying "He's an archbishop and he was vulgar ... obviously what thousands of Roman Catholics expected me to do was lie. I still get hate mail about the article."
After this incident, Coren said that he didn't consider himself a Roman Catholic anymore. He said, "My wife is Catholic and the children will be raised Catholic, but that's it. It's just not there for me." Daniel Richler observed that Coren loves scandal, but hates having it come his way. In one of his columns for the satirical humour magazine Frank, Michael Coren depicted Mother Teresa getting drunk in a bar.
In early 2004, he embraced Catholicism again. He cites Thomas More, C. S. Lewis, Ronald Knox and his godfather Lord Longford as spiritual influences, and remains connected to the ecumenical scene in Canada and beyond.
In 2014, Michael Coren once again left the Roman Catholic Church and began worshipping with the Anglican Church of Canada, being formally received into the communion the next year. In an interview with the National Post on 1 May 2015, he cited the Catholic Church's teachings on homosexuality and contraception as some of the reasons for his conversion to Anglicanism.
In contrast to his previous conservative views, Coren now identifies as a Christian socialist. He is also not pro-life anymore, but pro-choice. Coren supports infant circumcision, which he calls a "tradition [Jews and Muslims] consider holy and essential, based not in abuse and cruelty, but in concern and love for their child", and has said that its opponents are "irreligious zealots".
- Theatre Royal: 100 Years of Stratford East (1985) ISBN 0-7043-2474-1
- Gilbert: The Man Who Was G. K. Chesterton (1990) ISBN 1-55778-256-3
- The Invisible Man: The Life and Liberties of H. G. Wells (1993) ISBN 0-689-12119-9
- The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1993) ISBN 0-7475-1229-9
- The Man Who Created Narnia: The Story of C. S. Lewis (1994) ISBN 1-895555-78-7
- Setting It Right (1996) ISBN 0-7737-2940-2
- J. R. R.Tolkien: The Man who Created the Lord of the Rings (2001) ISBN 0-7522-6156-8
- As I See It (2009) ISBN 0-9812767-0-9
- Why Catholics Are Right (2011) ISBN 0-7710-2321-9
- Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity (2012) ISBN 978-0771023156
- The Future of Catholicism (2013) ISBN 0771023510
- Hatred: Islam's War on Christianity (2014) ISBN 0771023847
- Epiphany: A Christian's Change of Heart & Mind over Same-Sex Marriage (2016) ISBN 0771024118
According to his biography for The Arena, he had the following four awards (2005–2008):
- 2005: The Ed Murrow Award for Broadcasting.
- 2006: The RTNDA Radio Broadcasting Award.
- 2007: The Communicator Award in Hollywood.
- 2008: The Omni TV Award.
Other awards:
- 2009: North American "Telly Award"
- 2010: North American "Telly Award"
- 2012: The Queen’s Jubilee Medal for his "services to media".
- 2012: The Catholic Civil Rights League Archbishop Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life,
- 2013: Named "Columnist of the Year" at the Catholic Press Association awards in Denver.
- 2016: Word Guild Award for column writing
- 2017: Doolittle Award for Preaching
- 2018: Moral Theology Award, Trinity College, University of Toronto
- 2018 Word Guild Award
- 2018 Church Press Award for column writing
- In his new book, Michael Coren does battle with enemies of Catholicism, National Post, April 16, 2011
- "Michael Coren to deliver 'straight talk': Talk show star to join Sun News Network prime-time lineup", Toronto Sun, 28 June 2011
- "Sun News Network goes off the air". Globe and Mail. February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
- "I seldom hear about her [Heather Mallick], but did when she wrote an obsessively fawning piece after the British author and journalist Alan Coren died. The reason was that the noted editor and TV personality was my cousin, and a dear man who helped me more than I can say and whom I miss very much." Opinion column by Michael Coren entitled "Canada: A rogue state?" Hardly Ottawa Sun 5 December 2013.
- Michael Coren - Oxford Reference Retrieved 2016-10-20.
- Ovsenny, Christopher (Spring 1994). "Cloak and Dagger". Ryerson Review of Journalism. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- The show began as a one-hour program from 7 to 8pm but as of 22 April was expanded into a 2-hour show. Coren celebrated the occasion by giving out double the normal amount of prizes usually given on the show. Michael Coren Reinstated on CFRB Radio, by "Popular Demand", LifeSiteNews, 7 September 2006.
- The Michael Coren Show, CFRB website, accessed 30 December 2007
- Two Bald Guys With Strong Opinions, CFRB website, accessed 30 December 2007
- O'Toole, Megan. "The Motts, Michael Coren out as CFRB retools"[permanent dead link], National Post, Toronto, 27 August 2009.
- "Michael Coren's change of heart: from moral conservative to social liberal". Tapestry with Mary Hynes. CBC Radio. July 3, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
- Mahoney, Jeff (November 2015). "The conversion of Michael Coren". The United Church Observer. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
- Michael Coren: Why is AIDS so special? The Toronto Sun, Saturday 19 August 2006 http://torontosun.com/News/Columnists/Coren_Michael/2006/08/19/1764549.html
- Blizzard, Christina & Coren, Michael, Debate over sexual orientation dividing Christians, The Sun 22 May 2007, http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Features/2007/05/22/pf-4199026.html Archived 7 July 2012 at Archive.is
- TorontoSun.com – Michael Coren – We should nuke Iran
- TorontoSun.com – Michael Coren – How wrong can I be?
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- Concerned Women For America-Targeted for Hate: A Canadian Columnist Pays Price For Disagreeing with Homosexual Agenda "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 October 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2008.
- Michael Coren-Irving deserves contempt not jail http://torontosun.canoe.ca/News/Columnists/Coren_Michael/2006/02/21/1453974.html[permanent dead link]
- "Facebook post". Anglican Diocese of Toronto. 23 April 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
- Brean, Joseph (2015-05-01). "'I felt a hypocrite': Author Michael Coren on why he left the Catholic Church for Anglicanism". National Post.
- Michael Coren: Iceland’s proposed circumcision ban sparks a bigger fight over rights – Maclean's.
- The Curious Case of Michael Coren, The Bridgehead, 6 January 2015
- "Canada's Home for Hard News and Straight Talk". 14 October 2013. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2018.