If you haven’t heard by now, Sarah Palin compared criticism of her to “blood libel“, the disgusting medieval falsehood that Jews used Christian blood in religious rituals. While some have chalked this up to paranoia, I don’t think that’s correct (besides, Palin’s paranoia stems from the bursting of her narcissistic bubble). Because there’s an increasingly tendency among fundamentalists to view themselves as Jews. Now, this might sound odd, since they seem to have some difficulties with the Judeo part of Judeo-Christian. But they do see themselves as new and improved Jews. Some evangelicals are now incorporating Jewish rituals, such as the Passover Seder, into their own practices. Esther*, who saved the Jewish people from the depredations of Haman, is a very popular girls name. And let’s not forget this outburst by the staff of the theopolitical rightwing Arizona Congressman J.D. Hayworth:
Unable to defend his repeated praise of Henry Ford’s anti-Semitic “Americanization” program, U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth bailed on a scheduled campaign appearance Tuesday evening only to send in his place surrogates who repeatedly lectured the audience at Temple Beth Israel in Scottsdale and proclaimed that Hayworth “is a more observant Jew” than those present. [Source: Arizona Republic, Oct. 17, 2006]
The comment by Jonathan Tratt, a spokesman for the Hayworth campaign, drew loud and angry boos and caused nearly three-quarters of the crowd of more than 200 to walk out in disgust. After the walkout, another Hayworth surrogate, Irit Tratt, stood on the Temple’s bimah as she told members of the audience who gathered to ask questions, “No wonder there are anti-Semites.”
This wasn’t just a pointed dig: they meant it.
I’m sure paranoia factors into this phenomenon: there is a self-identification with Jews, due to the history of religious oppression. But they also view themselves as ‘improved and better’ Jews. This is nothing new: since the inception of Christianity, there have been repeated attempts to claim the mantle of ‘real Judaism’ by Christians. So, at some level, Palin is using the term because she believes it really does apply to her.
Sure, it doesn’t make any sense, but that’s never stopped the theopolitical right. (Consider creationists who want to teach the origin of biological diversity as depicted in the Bible. Well, even a precursory read of Genesis 1 and 2 yields very different creation stories. So which is it? They just don’t get that far; instead, they just double down and demand creationism even more loudly).
I don’t think people realize just how radical** their religious beliefs are, even in the context of Christianity.
*Esther is preferred to Judith. Esther was a queen who appealed to a king to save her people (allegorically, Christians view her as a symbol for the church, who is the bride of God). A nice, safe story. Judith fucked the brains out of an opposing general bent on destroying the Jews, and then, while he was sleeping, she rammed a tent spike through his head. Judy’s my type of gal.
Dang nabbit: Judith beheaded the evildoer, Jael spiked him.
**This is me trying to be polite…