While we were all laughing at Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his phony filibuster for failing to understand the moral of Green Eggs and Ham, mocking Ted Cruz for his lack of testicular fortitude, objecting to Ted Cruz for comparing his opponents to Hitler appeasers, and obliterating Ted Cruz with cold logic, Bryan Fischer was lionizing him.
Yes. Lionizing him. Ted Cruz, you see, was like the Prophet Elizah facing down 850 prophets of Baal:
This has really been Ted Cruz’s fight. Remember in the days of Elijah, he thought he was the only one but God said, ‘No, I’ve got seven thousands who have not bowed their knees to Baal’ but somebody had to stand up and confront the prophets of Baal. That was Elijah.
Now, our Elijah today, confronting the prophets of Baal, is Ted Cruz [so Cruz’s opponents are not only Hitler appeasers but prophets of Baal? – HH], and last night was his ‘show down’ on Mt. Carmel. Remember that deal at 1 Kings 18. You’ve got all the prophets of Baal. There’s 400 or 850 of them depending on how you count [who knew mathematics was so relativistic? – HH]. Enters Elijah. So you’ve got everybody on the other side of Mt. Carmel, against God, against what is right, they are against the spokesman for the truth. They are against Elijah [sound like heroes and freedom fighters to me – HH]. He is standing all by himself against 850 prophets of Baal and Elijah stands there all day to defend the truth and defend God to stand for what is right. And in the end, as you are aware, he prevails.
(I joke about Fischer’s math skills but his problem is not really with math but with fact, so let me explain: At 1 Kings 18.1-46 the prophet Elijah engages in a contest with 450 prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. The text mentions, in addition to those 450 prophets of Baal, 400 prophets of Asherah (1 Kings 18.19). When Elijah inevitably triumphs, he orders the arrest and execution of the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18.40) but of the prophets of Asherah we hear nothing more. In other words, there were no 850 prophets of Baal – HH)
Well, last night was Ted Cruz’s Elijah moment. That was Ted Cruz on Mt. Carmel taking on the prophets of Baal.
Well, really now….
So Fischer wants allegory? Do you know what the prophets of Baal represented historically, as opposed to biblically? They represented diversity and pluralism. They represented religious freedom. The prophets of Baal did not demand that you not worship YHWH. They demanded only that they, too, had a voice.
But there was no First Amendment to protect the prophets of Baal, just as there one day may not be a First Amendment to protect Islam and other, smaller religions, and so the forces of YHWH slaughtered them.
It is a salutary lesson for our times. And a sobering one.
As Kyle Mantyla acerbically observed on Right Wing Watch yesterday,
Fortunately for the other members of the Senate, Cruz didn’t take his “Elijah moment” all the way to its Biblical conclusion:
And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.
In other words, Elijah was a mass-murderer. In modern parlance, a terrorist. Imagine today if a religious figure killed in one stroke 450 other religious leaders who refused to bow to his religious dogma. Morally relativistic Bryan Fischer is celebrating Elijah for doing exactly what he demonizes radical Islamists for doing today.
Of course, you know why Elijah killed the prophets of Baal: Because they had the audacity to disagree with Elijah. Because they refused to worship YHWH alone. Because they, like most American today, felt that they had a right to worship Baal.
As David Lochhead writes of that episode:
God is portrayed, in an anthropomorphic way, as violently egocentric. The punishment exacted for offending God is crude and barbaric. This is a god who demands violence and commends violence when it is performed in his cause. This is a god who is intensely competitive toward the other gods and who treats vindictively anyone who has commerce with them.
Fischer portrays Elijah as a hero but the things done in YHWH’s name seem far less heroic when you continue reading through 1 and 2 Kings:
As Finkelstein and Silberman note, “in order to effect a thorough cleansing of the cult of YHWH Josiah launched the most intense puritan reform in the history of Judah. His first targets were the idolatrous rites being practiced in Jerusalem, even within the temple itself.” These included the worship of Baal and Asherah, according to 2 Kings 23:4-7. Even the so-called foreign cults which had received patronage as early as the time of Solomon were not spared. And the traditional hilltop worship of the Gods of the Jewish people (the “high places” of the Old Testament) was wiped out: “And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense from Geba to Beersheba” (2 Kings 23:8).
Nor did Josiah limit his persecutions to the traditional Jewish lands: “And the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, to the south of the mount of corruption, which Solmon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And he broke in pieces the pillars, and cut down the Asherim, and filled their place with the bones of men” (2 Kings 23:10-14).
Religious terrorism, pure and simple. This is what Pat Robertson is no doubt talking about when he speaks of a “Godly fumigation” of our society.
The prophets of Baal were victims of religious tyranny. They were martyrs for their beliefs. Indeed,they were martyrs for religious freedom and should be celebrated as such today. They were victims of the same religious tyranny embraced by people like Bryan Fischer, who want religious liberty for themselves while denying it to the rest of us.
I hate to say it, but Bryan Fischer is actually right for a change. Ted Cruz is very much a modern-day Prophet Elijah.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.