Who Is Jesus? Steve King Is Jesus!
Steve King is in a political purgatory. He's isolated from his party, stripped of his committee assignments, and facing a primary challenge next year. This apparently makes him just like Jesus Christ, if the King of the Jews had a soft spot for Nazis.
King made this comical comparison during a town hall in Cherokee, Iowa. He's got nothing better to do, so he's holding white sales at every county in his district. A 90-year-old pastor named Pinky Person, who we think used to date the Fonz, asked King about all the "persecution" Christians are facing in the United States. King strapped on his crown of thorns and explained that he knows all about persecution.
KING: It's been, for all that I've been through, it seems even strange for me to say it, but I'm at a certain peace, and it's because of a lot of prayers for me.
Back in February, King asked his constituents to pray for the soul of his career, but he admitted to the town hall that their thoughts and prayers weren't worth a damn. This is probably because just wishing for something to happen won't make it so. And if God exists, She doesn't waste Her time responding to the cries of white supremacists. King weirdly performed his own Passion play, likening his slap-on-the-wrist rebuke from his own party to the public beat down Jesus received.
KING: And when I had to step down to the floor of the House of Representatives and look up at those 400-and-some accusers — you know, we've just passed through Easter and Christ's Passion — and I have a better insight into what He went through for us, partly because of that experience.
Is King implying he was a Nazi for our sins? Because Christ suffered and died so we'd have eternal salvation through rock operas, whereas King paid a (small) price for his long history of racist remarks.
All this faux-crucifixon he's suffered makes King appreciate representing a district that is predominately Christian and white. After all, Jesus was at least one of those things. King contends that Christianity "defines American culture." No one's dreaming of a white Ramadan. He boasted of once having schooled a radio host who dared suggest that nowhere in the Constitution does it state the US is a Christian nation.
KING: There's plenty in our history, plenty in our culture and plenty in the experiences and the lives of our Founding Fathers that says otherwise. This is a Christian nation, and I'll prove it to you.
You'd think his argument would involve writings from the founders or maybe some speech Ronald Reagan gave. Instead, King used a really bizarre metaphor involving canine homicide. If someone runs over their neighbor's dog, mortally wounding it, their "natural response" is to explain what happened to their neighbor, maybe complain about them letting the dog run around without a leash.
KING: That's called confession.
Yes, only Christians ever confess to wrongdoing. They are also notable for their lack of horns. King observed that your Christian dog killer of dubious driving skill would immediately apologize: "I didn't mean to, I'm sorry; I'm sorry I killed your dog."
KING: That's called repentance.
That's also where we call bullshit, because King himself refused to apologize for his racist remarks in the New York Times interview that got him into this mess. He also blamed the media for distorting his statements and running over his neighbor's dog.
But let's skip to the part of the suburban fable King likes the most: The neighbor forgives you for turning Fido into a grease spot.
KING: That's called redemption... If it were any other way, we wouldn't be the America we are, and probably wouldn't be an America at all.
King doesn't seem to extend the concept of "redemption" to any undocumented immigrants, regardless of circumstance. After Donald Trump torched DACA, King callously suggested that the people affected could either "live in the shadows" or get the hell out of the country.
KING: That's the law and if you're going to waive the application of the law, to groups of people, it is amnesty and amnesty in America, with regard to immigration, is a reward for immigration lawbreakers and is a pardon for immigration lawbreakers coupled with their reward of the objective of their crime.
But DREAMers didn't even run over America's dog. It was their parents. King's eloquent blasphemy at the town hall especially moved Pastor Person, who double downed on the Christ comparison.
PERSON: When [King] came home for Easter and he realized what has been done to him in the House of Representatives — what has unjustly been done to him — he had an inkling of what it was like to have everyone against you, like everyone turned against Jesus.
Jesus H.! That's the big downside of possible impeachment proceedings against Trump -- all the wackadoodles coming out and claiming their president's getting crucified by Speaker Pontius Pelosi. Person says in all seriousness that Trump is an "ally to Christians." In reality, Trump would probably taunt a fasting Jesus on Twitter: "So-called 'son of God' is starving. Loser won't take my advice and turn stones into bread. Sad!"
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).