In the Old Testament, there is a story about how the Israelites, because they were bad, bad, bad, and had royally pissed off “God,” were exiled to Babylon for many years.
After a very long time, a young Jewish woman named Esther became one of the king’s wives.
We can argue (and scholars do) all day about exactly who that king was. Sometimes he is called Artexerxes, sometimes Ahaseurus, but it appears that those names are actually titles, and that he was actually King Darius of Persia. This is all terribly confusing but really doesn’t matter much because most probably three-quarters of the story is fiction anyway.
So, for the sake of brevity and so I don’t bore everyone half to death, I’m going call him King Darius, and assume that Esther’s king, and Nehemiah’s king, and Ezra’s king were all the same person.
That’s how it was presented to me when I was a kid.
Esther became queen. If she actually existed, she was probably one of many of the king’s wives, but they didn’t tell us that in Sunday School because immorality and of course, she had to be Queen Esther.
God had given this young girl this great position. The moral here was that if we young girls did as we were told and pleased God, he might also use us to do something wonderful.
The wonderful thing she did was to ask the king for a favor. The favor was that she wanted to explain to him that he had the wrong man condemned for a crime, and she wanted him to spare Mordecai (the condemned man). It’s a convoluted story and irrelevant here, but the king decided she was right and Mordecai, instead of being executed, became a big shot.
Two things to note here, because they are relevant. Mordecai, the male Jewish character, became the really big shot and was revered and practically worshiped. Queen Esther went back to the kitchen.
The other thing is that the king (King Darius, or Xerxes, or Artexerxes, or whoever the hell he was) did not convert to Judaism.
But the Jews got their land back.
Enter from stage left: Nehemiah.
Nehemiah had become the king’s cup bearer. He served in the palace. He had access to the king. Nehemiah was upset about the wall.
It pleased the king to send me. . .
Remember, the king had not converted to Judaism. The king was a heathen, somebody the Jews looked at as unclean and pretty horrible. But they needed him.
They needed him to help them regain their country.
They needed him to make their country great again.
They needed him to re-build the wall.
Nehemiah did just that. He built the wall.
A while later, along came Ezra.
. . .the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia. . .
God did it. Maybe Cyrus was the son of King Darius, and it doesn’t matter. God did it. The king? He couldn’t help himself.
Just to make it a little more confusing, here’s the letter they found, when somebody pitched a hissy fit about the Jews getting to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, with the instructions from either Cyrus or Darius or whoever he was.
Not only did “God” get this king to let the Jews regain their land, rebuild their wall and rebuild their temple, he got the Persians to pay for it.
What does this ancient, probably fictional, story have to do with anything? I gave you some hints. Did you pick up on them?
I keep seeing articles like this one.
A Google search for “Trump” and “Christian” will give you stuff like this. Journalists are collectively scratching their heads trying to figure out why Trump’s hold on the religious right is so secure regardless of what he does or says.
In the beginning, some of those on the religious right tried to turn Trump into a Christian. Here’s Dobson on the subject from way back then, before the election.
I don’t know if James Dobson is getting senile, or if he convinced himself what he was writing was reasonable and sensible, or if he’s just a big liar, but this was patently ridiculous and pretty much everyone knew it, including the rank-and-file evangelicals.
They know Trump is not one of them.
They know he’s a liar. They know he’s an idiot. They know he’s a womanizer. They know he doesn’t have the slightest idea how to be president. They know all this.
They don’t care.
He is Darius.
He’s the king that is going to give them their country back. He’s going to build the wall, and Mexico will pay for it. He’s going to protect them from the persecution that they are convinced they are suffering.
I have known that story about Esther and Nehemiah and the wall all my life. I can’t remember the first time I heard it. I’m sure it was in Sunday School and I was a kid.
The parallels between that story and Trump’s relationship with the religious right are striking and significant.
It doesn’t matter to the evangelicals if Trump is a Christian or not. They don’t care. Darius wasn’t a Jew. “God” used him anyway.
So Trump can lie, and cheat, and fuck anyone over (including the evangelicals), and it doesn’t matter. It’s useless to try to convince these folks that Trump doesn’t share their moral values. They already know that. They have Esther, you know. Her name is Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Because they need him, they will tolerate anything he does, including plotting with the Russians to sway the election. They will tolerate things from him that they would never have condoned had President Obama done them. They will blatantly defend him.
They just want the wall, to protect the temple, the temple that people like me are tearing down, brick by brick, as rapidly as we possibly can. They think Trump will do that for them, because they believe “God” put him in office, for “such a time as this.”
There is no way in hell to fight this with reason. They won’t see the light. They won’t change their minds.
We have to out-vote them.