Some Southern Baptist pastors name Kamala Harris “Jezebel”. What do you imply?

(RNS) – It wasn’t long after the nation’s first female vice president was inaugurated that some Southern Baptist Convention pastors began to compare her to the most vile woman in the Bible.

Two days to be exact.

On January 22nd, Tom Buck, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Lindale, Texas, identified Kamala Harris with the biblical Jezebel.

“I can’t think of a truly godly Israelite woman who would have wanted her daughters to see Jezebel as an inspirational role model for being a woman in power,” Buck tweeted.

Since then, in the face of criticism, he has doubled in size, tweeted, “I stand by it 100%,” insisting, “Should Jezebel, who ruled wickedly, be a role model just because she was a woman in power? If not, why would Kamala, ruled in an ungodly manner, be a role model just because she is a woman in power? “

Then Steve Swofford of Rockwall First Baptist Church in Texas preached on President Biden Thursday, calling him “cognitively dysfunctional,” adding:

“What if something happens to him? Jezebel Must Take Over – Jezebel Harris; isn’t that your name? “

Swofford serves on the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, “the group that runs the business of the country’s largest Protestant denomination outside of its annual meetings.”

Of course, many Southern Baptists, like the majority of Evangelicals, are Republicans who have tirelessly advocated former President Trump. But now some of his leaders seem to be mimicking Trump’s penchant for incendiary rhetoric – albeit with a biblical twist.

To the uninitiated, “a Jezebel” means:

Jezebel appears in the Hebrew Bible as an evil incarnation, an unbeliever who has become a catchphrase for female cunning.

She first appears in the Book of First Kings as the foreign royal wife of King Ahab, the seventh king of Israel. She is mainly known as the patroness and follower of Baal, the Canaanite god. Even her name, Jezebel, could be related to “Beelzebub,” another name for Baal. It can also be related to the Hebrew word “Zevel” or “Mist”.

Its main foil in the Hebrew Bible is Elijah, the prophet of God. Her death on the orders of King Jehu is particularly cruel. She is thrown out of a window, and by the time soldiers come to bury her, dogs have already eaten most of the body.

Jezebel also appears in the New Testament Book of Revelation where she is associated with sexual promiscuity and whore.

“By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of foods offered to idols,” says Revelation 2:20, although it is not clear whether the text refers to the same Jezebel in the Hebrew Bible .

In the United States, Jezebel has become a racist troop for a sexually promiscuous black woman – a description that began in slavery, extended through the Jim Crow era, and continues to this day.

David Pilgrim, professor of sociology at Ferris State University in Michigan, writes that it is becoming easier and easier to find black women, especially young ones, portrayed as Jezebels “whose only value is the sexual goods.”

Lisa Sharon Harper, a writer and activist who is also evangelical, said the use of the Jezebel drop was a window into the faith of white men of the south.

“They legitimize their own racist, white, supremacist worldview by basing it on a biblical reference,” said Harper. “This could be one way that white men are trying to bring black women back to their place that is below them.”

Charismatic Christians often speak of a “Jezebel spirit,” which they believe is the biblical queen’s evil influence in the world today.

Headlines in Charisma magazine point to Jezebel as the source of Harry Potter’s popularity. A Baptist pastor said Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman was a Jezebel, witch, and Jewish false prophet. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a United Methodist who, according to guests at the Jim Bakker Show, has been associated with Jezebel as well as the media.

In his 2019 book “Jezebel’s War With America: The Conspiracy To Destroy Our Country And What We Can Do To Turn The Tide”, radio host and columnist Michael Brown wrote that Jezebel was “back from the dead.” Or maybe Jezebel’s spirit never went away. “

Christian writer Sarah Bessey wrote in 2013 in her book “Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Reconsider the Bible’s View of Women” about the abuse of the trops to smear women: “If a woman shows leadership, she is accused of this Jezebel- To have spirit. ”

“I look forward to the day when women with guidance and insight, gifts and talents, callings and prophetic tendencies will be called and celebrated as Deborah (a biblical judge) instead of being silenced as Jezebel,” said Bessey.

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