Hillary’s Biblical Role Model

At CNN”s Compassion Forum (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/04/07/cnn-to-air-exclusively-the-compassion-forum/) in April, both Democratic candidates for President were asked about their faith. At one point, … Continued

At CNN”s Compassion Forum (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/04/07/cnn-to-air-exclusively-the-compassion-forum/) in April, both Democratic candidates for President were asked about their faith. At one point, Hillary Clinton was asked about her favorite Bible story. She said, “Ever since I was a little girl, [I have been] a great admirer of Esther … There weren’t too many models of women who had the opportunity to make a decision, to take a chance, a risk that was very courageous.”

There are those who believe that this week Hillary Clinton will gracefully bow out of the Democratic race for President after the last primary, presuming Barack Obama will have locked up the majority of delegates. But I am not so sure. I have read the biblical story of Queen Esther many times and I don’t see Queen Esther as someone who would gracefully concede defeat.

Now, it is fair to say that there are not a lot of Bible stories where women get to be brave, but nevertheless, Esther is very revealing as a role model for Senator Clinton, especially since she claims to have admired Esther since she was a little girl. This high regard for Esther reveals a good deal about this candidate.

Esther becomes the Queen of King Ahasuerus after he puts away his first wife for disobedience; Esther is Jewish, a fact of which the King is apparently unaware. One of the King’s henchmen plans to exterminate the Jews, and Mordecai, who had raised Esther, prevails upon her to try to save her people. Mordecai wonders if this is not even the hand of God, that Esther should be Queen at this particular historical moment. In a verse that may be on Senator Clinton’s mind today, Mordecai says, “Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” (Esther 4: 14)

Esther is brave, but she is also very shrewd. Through trickery and currying favor with the King, Esther saves the Jewish people. The story shows her to be quite bloodthirsty as well. Esther makes sure that not only is the King’s henchman hanged, but his ten sons as well!

Esther is apparently also popular with another woman in politics. In the new HBO movie Recount, Laura Dern gives a stunning performance as Katherine Harris, the Florida Secretary of State who certified that the Republican candidate, George W. Bush, had defeated the Democrat, Al Gore, in the popular vote of Florida. The Florida Supreme Court overturned her ruling on appeal, though this decision was then reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court. In the movie, the Katherine Harris character talks about her biblical role model. Again, Queen Esther.

Yes, perhaps it’s the bravery of Esther, but deception and ruthlessness are also much a part of Esther’s biblical resume.

So, this week, we may see why Queen Esther is Senator Hillary Clinton’s role model and how she interpets this text. In Hillary’s own Esther summary, she has “to make a decision, to take a chance, [to take] a risk that…[is] very courageous.” It would be very courageous to decide to respect the rules and concede the race when Senator Obama secures the majority of delegates.

But don’t forget Esther’s cunning and ruthlessness as well. That’s the question that hangs over this week like the hanging chads in Florida. What does Queen Esther mean to Hillary Clinton? Is it the same view of courage as Katherine Harris, or something different?

  • Kristen

    Wow, this is her favorite story? Well that just tells boat loads about her. The bible is full of love filled inspirational stories, and she chooses the story of Esther. I am not even surprised I guess. Hillary is for no one but her self and of course those who are for her. I would never want my daughter looking up to her. I don’t care what she has achieved, doing it with a little grace and class goes a long way. Hillary has neither and should sit her hind pots down. I am tired of hearing her annoying voice and manipulating the truth speeches.

  • Anonymous

    I got the comment about the “middle” name. i forgot i mentioned Barack “No Middle Name” Obama. Still, what a silly comment you made. You feel offended by that? How come you don’t feel offended by his lies?

  • Anonymous

    Robinhood:Lets face it if this were a man running you would not have written this type of column.AND THAT’S THE TRUTHINESS.

  • Mr. G

    I agree that what Esther did was brave, but to judge her tactics as ruthless? In the story, Haman was about to annihilate the entire Jewish population over a personal insult from one man. Her tactics were cunning, but her acts were less self-serving and less ruthless in the long run. That’s why she is regarded as a genuine heroine, because she was willing to do what it took, regardless of what would have happened to her. Whether or not history will judge Sen. Clinton as the same, we’ll just have to find out.

  • RCG

    Anonymous:Also, to be clear, I don’t like ANY of the candidates. I don’t see McCain as anything more than 4 more years of Bushy policies. Senator Obama has been offering a lot of vauge ideals, but not a lot of substance. Also, feeling a need to repudiate statements by pastors and walking away from churches being part of public discourse disturbs me. What one does with their religion is their business, but does not make them a better or worse candidate. A Satanist will get my vote if they show me they’ve got good policy. Senator Clinton voted for the Iraq invasion. Call it a mistake, or pass the buck with blame of false intelligence: it was a choice she made. I also don’t trust her disconnection from the pockets of big business.

  • Anonymous

    “A Satanist will get my vote if they show me they’ve got good policy.” “Choosing between the lesser of evils is not good policy. Sorry.”Believe it or not, despite your feeling repulsed by my choosing of words against Susan Brooks, you and i have something in common.I have posted many times here in the Wapo your same feelings: i have posted that we are forced to chose between the lesser of three evils.I, too, dislike all three candidates. My problem is with sexism used to attack Hillary. At this point, i will have to chose between three evils. But i like Hillary’s strength. And she’s not portraying herself as a “saint”, which Hussain is doing. Hussain is his middle name. The racism is in the part of those who want to eliminate it. I can’t get over people who feel offended because one uses his REAL name. This election campaign has turned me into a sarcastic human being. I try to make fun of it. Can’t take these stooges or myself -for that matter- too seriously. And i did like that comment about voting a Satanist. LOLSo there.

  • Anonymous

    Is not voting at all good policy?

  • RCG

    Anonymous:Never! Never never never! Passivity in politics is what’s helping drive this country into the ground. Get out there, vote! The voter turn out rates “have reached record numbers!” but are embarassingly low. Get out there and vote, and hold our officials accountable! Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Pinckney (5/29/1797):

  • Richard Baum

    Xerxes was son of Darius the Great and Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus the Great. After his accession in October 485 BC, he suppressed the revolts in Egypt and Babylon that had broken out the year before and appointed his brother Achaemenes as governor or satrap over Egypt (Old Persian: khshathrapavan). In 484 BC, he took away from Babylon the golden statue of Bel (Marduk, Merodach), the hands of which the rightful king of Babylon had to take a hold of on the first day of each year, and killed the priest who tried to get in his way. Therefore Xerxes does not bear the title of King in the Babylonian documents dated from his reign, but King of Persia and Media or simply King of countries (i.e. of the world). This proceeding led to two rebellions, probably in 484 BC and 479 BC.Xerxes reigned from 486-465 BCE, a time when the Temple that the Jewish leaders wanted from King Cyrus the Great was already rebuilt in the reign of Xerxes’ father Darius in 516 BCE. According to the Greek historian Herodotus (5th century B.C.E), Xerxes was the son of Darius by Atossa, daughter of Cyrus.Hillary has lived the dreams of the scribes. She is no queen. Far from it.

  • Anonymous

    I’m going to be honest, brutally honest.The reason i use Hussain is because….I consider myself a center-left political person. For me that means that i look at the Middle East from political point of view. I don’t hate Palestinians, Israelis, Iraquis, etc, etc, etc. I know that the republicans use Obama’s middle name to instill fear.But i find Obama’s followers to be excruciating fanatic of Hussain. I find Obama more imoral than Hillary because he lies and covers his attachment with the radical left. I find the radical left ot be more dangerous than Hillary.So, given that Obama’s followers are willing to bend to fear and try to erase the man’s name, i simply enjoy using it to bother them. Anyone who is afraid of Obama’s name is not going to respond to logic or facts. I don’t care about them.

  • Greg

    The story is Hillary claimed the race would be over February 5th or early February and that is not YouTube, but from a respected National Broadcast Company in America.So why would she make a statement like that if she didn’t expect us to do the same thing early on?She also suggested Obama run as her running mate and he was ahead. This has nothing to do with her sex.We need to focus on the national election.

  • Arrabbiato

    Good god! What a disingenuous piece of character assassination, masked as it is by a “comparison” between HRC and Queen Esther! Is this woman Thistlewaite a REAL reverend? Surely not!

  • Mr Mark

    Queen Esther?Home For Purim, anyone?

  • GOD ALMIGHTY

    the bible as a historical document is RUBBISH full of propaganda and double talk same with the koran and the torah..all RUBBISH all three books are only fit for use as toilet paper . …hell is where all the cool people go i actually envy the devil he got the cool job i have to baby sit goody goody imbeciles they are so BBBBBOOOOOOOORING i wish i could die.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Mrs. Clinton has only one god, his name? Billy-Boy. Time she wises up and becomes an atheist!!!

  • Anonymous

    Wow, The Reverend Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite (read in plummy tones please) has become such a caricature. Rather than evincing love of fellow (wo)man she is nothing more than a liberal political hack bent on sharpening her claws on other women.And can there be any bigger cliche in Democrat politics than hanging chads? And can there be anything more stupid than a hanging chad and the whole fooferall that occurred because old Dem voters in Palm Beach County couldn’t seemingly muster the strength to poke a hole in a punchcard.Maybe the Reverend Thistlethwaite (plummy tones again please) should go to confession to confess her sin of cattiness against others. Meow

  • DP

    I don’t worry about Obama’s middle name. That’s the name he was given at birth and he has never attempted to deny it. It’s the same name as that of the late King Hussein of Jordon who was one of the greatest U.S. allies and peacemakers in the Middle East, but Obama haters don’t want to acknowledge that. Obama was named after his Kenyan father and I’ve known enough native Africans to be aware that Arabic sounding names are commonplace even though most of the bearers of such names have been conservative or evangelical Christians, but all some people can see is race and for them that is a great bogeyman that trumps everything else. I can’t even get angry with those who try to demonize Obama by using his middle name perjoratively because they make themselves look pathetic. Obama is not and has never been a Muslim, but there are those who will insist until their dying breath that he is one no matter how much proof there is to the contrary. The book of Revelation warns that there are those who will refuse to hear the truth so I’m not surprised.

  • S.A. Shipley

    Queen Esther is a refreshing heroine. A woman who used all the tools and people at her command to save the tribe of which she was a part. Hats off to her, who used her beauty, skill, confidants, courage, deception and cleverness. So much a better hero than, shall we say, Rambo?

  • S.A. Shipley

    Queen Esther is a refreshing heroine. A woman who used all the tools and people at her command to save the tribe of which she was a part. Hats off to her, who used her beauty, skill, confidants, courage, deception and cleverness. So much a better hero than, shall we say, Rambo?

  • Good Catholic

    Rev. Thistlewaite must have felt right at home in in TUCC. In reviling Queen Ester, a Jewish heroine of the Bible, she uses classically anti-semitic language (cunning, bloodthirsty, deceitful, etc.). This article could have been written by a member of the Nazi party. And comparing HRC to Katherine Harris? Truly shameful. When will the WaPo stop printing garbage like this?.

  • Anonymous

    You see that “sweet” smiling face, Susan Brook’s?It reminds me of this sentence by i forgot whom:” A man can smile and smile and still be mean”.A woman priest can smile and smile and still be a btch.

  • Anonymous

    Arrabbiato:Good god! What a disingenuous piece of character assassination, masked as it is by a “comparison” between HRC and Queen Esther! Is this woman Thistlewaite a REAL reverend? Surely not!

  • MHughes976

    At least Senator Clinton knows, if she has read the Book of Esther, that the Feast of Purim is not the Jewish Halloween and so has the advantage of Senator McCain. The Hebrew Esther is conspicuous for omitting all direct references to God. It seems to have been drastically revised very soon after being written and taken the form of the Greek Esther in which several of the hard edges of the Hebrew version are softened. I read the book with fear and trembling. I’d rather the loyal, non-racist Ruth was taken as a role model.

  • robert thorn

    More commentary by creepy Protestant academics with their cocktail-hour anti-Semitism and their burnished progressive politics. The combo of CTS and CAP tells her story quite vividly.

  • Anonymous

    I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THAT “REV” IN FRONT OF HER NAME, UNLESS, OF COURSE, SHE IS OF THE “REV. WRIGHT” VARIETY-HA HA HA!+++++++++++That last part was funny.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Hmmm, like most of the OT, Queen Ester is a myth. Might as well have Hillary’s patroness be Ma Claus or the Wicked Witch of the East. simpletoremember.com/vitals/ConservativeTorah.htm

  • Anonymous

    She [Hillary Clinton] said, “Ever since I was a little girl, [I have been] a great admirer of Esther … There weren’t too many models of women who had the opportunity to make a decision, to take a chance, a risk that was very courageous.”Guess she never heard of Moses or Jesus. They are now both proved to have been women, actually the same woman who took chances and lost big time but only after a considerable fight. Hillary can now identify one for one with her. And there was a successful woman behind her.She heard of them alright, Moses and Jesus and knows the story of her life. Hillary has been to hoax-buster.org and so have you. Living the lie is seeing and continuing to pretend to believe the Bible is God’s word.

  • Vergil

    I do not agree that Esther was not a queen but a low member of the Persian harem as Richard claims quoting secular historians. The scribes have described her as a queen and attributed her with informing the King of the planned killing of an important Jewish leader who opposed the return of the Hebrews to Palestine. If Hillary compares herself to Esther, who is she trying to save and what feats does she have to her credit to deserve such a comparison. Bill and Hillary have an obscene plan to make Obama gouge millions of dollars to withdraw from the race.

  • Vergil

    I do not agree that Esther was not a queen but a low member of the Persian harem as Richard claims quoting secular historians. The scribes have described her as a queen and attributed her with informing the King of the planned killing of an important Jewish leader who opposed the return of the Hebrews to Palestine. If Hillary compares herself to Esther, who is she trying to save and what feats does she have to her credit to deserve such a comparison. Bill and Hillary have an obscene plan to make Obama gouge millions of dollars to withdraw from the race.

  • Joseph Andrews

    I’m wondering about the husband of Queen Esther (King Ahaseurus?); please compare and contrast King A. with William Jefferson Clinton! I look forward to reading your response.

  • Robinhood

    Lets face it if this were a man running you would not have written this type of column…

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Hmmm, and here I thought Bill was her biblical role model!!!!

  • Iris

    Esther shares the conniving features of old politics — the very features that the public has turned against in supporting Obama. Lord deliver unto us a leader who leads all of us, rather than spins and seeks personal gain at the expense of unity.

  • Jeremy

    Personally I think a better role model for the aspiring do-whatever-feminist-savior-of-the-people out there is Yael of the book of Judges. I choose her because its important for these women to feel comfortable getting their hands dirty and farm out such unlady like labor to their male surrogates: “Extolled above women be Yael,Judges 5:23-7

  • victoria2dc

    I don’t give a damn about the impact of Esther’s story to this campaign. The good senator has lost this battel and it’s time for her to jump on the Obama bandwagon and do whatever is necessary to beat McCain! Let her put her shrewdness and energy into the country by leaving the ego behind. More than being under the influence of Esther, she is a Scorpio. If you know astrology you can be sure that she is a true Scorpio… whom I hope will toss her ego aside and work for restoring the Constitution and law and order. Let her think about the country and not herself. Then she will look like a real hero!

  • Tommo

    It’s very scary to me that one is capable of talking about HIllary Clinton and Katherine Harris in the same breath. One Republican, and an imbecile; one Democrat, and a borderline psychotic. if their role models are the same, does it not follow that they would have an equally destructive impact on American politics?

  • Brewhaha

    Of course there are few viable female role models in the Bible — it was “written” and edited by men. And the OT is filled with vengeance. Maybe Hillary’s real role model is Lot’s wife — Mrs. Clinton’s afraid to look back for fear of being turned into a pillar of salt.

  • klintonkoolaid

    #########’George W. Bush, had defeated the Democrat, Al Gore, in the popular vote of Florida.’Huh? That was the point of ‘Recount’.The SCOTUS stopped the vote. Had the@@@@@@@

  • Paul

    To paraphrase Jesus, “be as innocent as a dove, but as cunning as a snake”. I think Hillary is a realist who knows that “good guys finish last” as Dukkakis, Mondale, Kerry, McGovern, Humphrey, and Gore, can attest. Esther was a good person who knew how to wield power and “play the game” as it was presented to her.

  • Laura

    I am interested to see all four previous comments were ani-Hillary. We humans have a tendency to enjoy beating up on someone “on the ropes”. We love winners. Hillary has shown by her fighting spirit and her ready smile, she is truly a daughter of Esther, and I am proud to call her “sister”.

  • Paul

    To paraphrase Jesus, “be as innocent as a dove, but as cunning as a snake”. I think Hillary is a realist who knows that “good guys finish last” as Dukkakis, Mondale, Kerry, McGovern, Humphrey, and Gore, can attest. Esther was a good person who knew how to wield power and “play the game” as it was presented to her.

  • jrosen

    TO John BailoTake another look at the Book of Job. God boasts to Satan (here not the Devil, but an angel whose name means “adversary” or “opposer”, incidentally the first mention of such a character in the Scriptures) about what a righteous man Job is, praising God and obeying all his commandments. And Satan points out that God has done very well by Job, what with his wives, children, flocks, and such, and claims that should these be taken away, he would curse God to his Face.And God takes the challenge, essentially trying to win a bet with Satan over how truly pious Job is. You know the rest….the trials of Job and so forth. It isn’t God who finds Job too high-and-mighty (he knows nothing of the behind the scenes intrigue) but one of Job;s “comforters” (I never remember which is which) who reasons, a la Rev. Hagee on New Orleans, that it must be Job’s fault.In the end, God simply over-awes Job with his power (omnipotence makes right, you might say) and after Job reluctantly acquiesces he gets all his stuff back and more. It doesn’t say what Satan does next.The Book examines “why do bad things happen to good people?” and to my mind, doesn’t do very well with an answer. That Job should suffer so just because God’s vanity is pricked seems to me more an indictment of God than of Job. And what this has to do with Esther escapes me completely. But then, these boards have never been noted for logic, consistency, factuality, or even relevance . Take this post as a case on point.

  • kevin

    Why would we guess what part of Esther character Hillary emulates. Isn’t it already obvious!

  • MikeMcNally

    Hillary isn’t in this to win anymore. She just wants to inflict as much damage on Obama as she can without coming right out and saying it. She wants her supporters to feel as if she actually has won and Obama is underhandedly stealing it from her. This will help galvanize their hatred towards Obama. It’s amazing just how easily Hillary and her supporters lie. She’s claiming having won more votes in the primary, but that’s only if you don’t count people who voted for Obama. She claims to be winning in electoral votes. I hate to break the news to her supporters, but she has ZERO electoral votes. I have as many electoral votes as Hillary has. Bin Laden has as many electoral votes as Hillary has. Using her logic, that means Bin Laden is just as popular in the USA as she is. It will be such a huge relief when we no longer have to hear her lying blather on the news every night. It’s degrading to all Americans.

  • Greg

    Please! If her mission wasn’t self serving then I could go along with it. But her constant flipping for reasons to remain in the race reminds me of Bush reasons to go to war with Iraq, the war she voted for.If this were a male candidate being asked to drop which has been the norm do we have a problem with it? No. She wants to change the rules to force her as winner. She lost an honest race and I hope the people of Florida and Michigan will now see that she NEVER had their good intentions in mind until she realized she truly needed you. Put it simply she used the emotions of those two states to push her agenda like Bush did for the Iraq war. Keep in mind Hillary was Republican before Democrat so it shouldn’t be surprising.She had my respect, but she lost it with this campaign and the many lies. Hopefully a woman that really stands for strength and a fighter will run in the near future and win the race, but the tactics she used and continues to use with her twisted math means she will never get a vote from me.

  • tclune

    It seems to me that the most interesting part of the Esther was that she was self-centered throughout her young life as portrayed in the Bible. Prof. Thistlewaite’s reference to how Mordecai persuaded Esther to help the Jews is lamentably partial. Here is the actual passage: “[Mordecai] sent back this reply [to Esther], ‘Don’t think that you will escape being killed with the rest of the Jews, just because you live in the king’s palace. If you don’t speak up now, we will somehow get help, but you and your family will be killed. It could be that you were made queen for a time like this!'” [Esther 4:13-14, CEV]Mordecai understood his audience — this young girl needed to see what was in it for her before she would take a chance. Hillary seems to have decided that she can’t win the nomination this year, so her best chance of becoming POTUS is to destroy the Democratic party’s chances this year, so she can run again in four years. She needs to be approached by a wise councillor who can explain to her how this strategy will destroy her if we hope to see her act in a way that aligns with the larger interests of the Democrats.

  • BrigN.

    I find it rather appalling that the Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite uses her platform here to join the chorus of those who beat up on Senator Clinton. It is now obvious that she must have been perfectly at home when she was a guest preacher in the same church the same Sunday as Father Pfleger gave his despicable performance.

  • gooch73

    You seem to know a lot about the story of Esther, but you know very little about Hilary Clinton, or Katherine Harris. Considering Esther is one of the few women of significance even mentioned in the bible is it all that hard to understand why so many woman identify with her?Bloodthirsty, cunning and ruthless? This is what you see in Hilary Clinton? Shame on you.The one lesion I take away from your shallow and twisted logic is your hate, not Hilary’s or Katherine’s or even Esters – yours.

  • satcon

    I too am an admirer of Esther. We went to the same high school. I suspect the Esther Hilary claims she admires had no more in common with your Esther than did mine. Moreover, should Hilary do as you anticipate, and it is entirely in the realm of possibility she might, any political future she might still have will be destroyed. She is conniving, unscrupulous, and ruthless but I suspect that when it comes to the matter of political survival going forward she will want to preserve that.

  • Rowena Walker

    My goodness, how well Ms. Clinton fits the Queen Esther model! Thank you for the discussion.Queen Esther obviously believed that the end justified the means. In the case of the elimination of the Jews, this is, indeed, a moral dilemma. I see why she was admired.I fear that in the case of Ms. Clinton, her own ego is the “end”, and unlike Esther–whose motive seemed not to be her ego–this is not noble. We are in trouble as individuals if we believe that we are so important as to go to extreme ends to fulfill our own destinies. It is not necessarily noble, for example, to be determined not to quit. It depends on what you’re not wwanting to quit! When one’s ego is involved, it’s the wrong “end”.Aristotle cautioned against wanting anything so bad that one loses balance.

  • Rowena Walker

    My goodness, how well Ms. Clinton fits the Queen Esther model! Thank you for the discussion.Queen Esther obviously believed that the end justified the means. In the case of the elimination of the Jews, this is, indeed, a moral dilemma. I see why she was admired.I fear that in the case of Ms. Clinton, her own ego is the “end”, and unlike Esther–whose motive seemed not to be her ego–this is not noble. We are in trouble as individuals if we believe that we are so important as to go to extreme ends to fulfill our own destinies. It is not necessarily noble, for example, to be determined not to quit. It depends on what you’re not wwanting to quit! When one’s ego is involved, it’s the wrong “end”.Aristotle cautioned against wanting anything so bad that one loses balance.

  • rannrann

    Well, Ester, Smester, whatever.Hillary Clinton has been pushed out of this race by everyone but the voters who are still voting for her in numbers..I hope she listens to them and not the Barak Obmam Movement who enlists anyone and everyone to help write her off and out…

  • Karen R

    It is most interesting to see how readers filter this opinion piece through their own political prejudices and feelings about the treatment of women in our society. There are other female role models in the Bible – Judith comes to mind, Mary and Mary Magdalene, Ruth. So for the young Hillary Rodham to pick Esther is indicative of the personal qualities that pushed her to become the first woman in our history with a real chance to be President. I suspect the child saw Esther’s courage and the adult valued her cunning and ruthlessness. Now that her campaign appears to be ending, we will see if her faith can bring her grace as well.

  • interpreter

    The point of the Esther story was her heroism in saving her people, the Jews. Her focus started out self-serving, but she grew into a leader with more concern for her people than for herself. Since the 90s, Hillary has worked hard for the people of this country. During her campaign, she’s wavered back and forth, from being a champion of the people to being obviously divisive and self-serving. Like all of us, she is capable of both. Right now, her choice is very clear: will she prove that she’s still more concerned about the people than she is about her own ambitions? If she is the woman I think she is, she will step aside, quit running, and support the chosen Democratic candidate–for the good of the country.

  • canyon1

    The only image I can perceive relates to the Garden of Eden.

  • EdR

    Trying to contrast Katherine Harris and Hillary Clinton in the same light is just plain twisted.

  • Jack Winters

    It is not a sign of courage to only be concerned about yourself and not those that you are charged or who you claim to be charged to protect. A decision by Hillary to continue this vain fight will not release the Democratic Party from destruction. That act would only destroy the party. Hillary may be Esther in her own eyes. But it is a delusional view. She is not a biblical character protecting the flock. She is a politician who cannot win without tearing her own flock-the party- apart. Her run to this point has already gone over the line to the harm of the party. Her role model if anyone should be someone- male or female- that appreciates not self sacrifice- she will not be harmed by losing this nomination- but appreciates the need to work together to bring real hope and change to this country. It’s time for her to grow up and act like a real mature person and accept that she lost. Get over it and move on.

  • Jeannie

    Had Esther not been both brave and cunning, her people would have perished. This seems to be what Thistlethwaite would prefer have happened. The American people and the people around the world need a Democrat in the White House in 2008. ALL indications are that Hillary will win the White House in a landslide, and that Obama would lose big to John McCain. I hope Hillary continues her quest, and is as courageous and ruthless as it takes to make sure she is the Democratic nominee and our next president.

  • Babs Johnson

    John Waters could make an hysterical comedy about this page in our lives.

  • dcp

    Ruth and Mary are good role models in the Bible, but people forget Deborah in the book of Judges. She was phenomenal. She actually served as the equivalent of commander-in-chief as she lead the armies of Israel against their enemies. However, Deborah rose to power out of her own virtue. Hillary might be more comparable to Esther or Eve, whose significance derived from their husbands. Yeah, I can definitely see Hillary convincing her husband, Uncle Sam, to bite the apple.

  • william

    being from the university of chicago i wonder how you feel about rev wright-however i can not believe that the clinton’s have ever known a loving god–so you may be right considering the god of the old testament seemed to be very cruel and racist at times-maybe it was the writer’s of the old testament that were full of fear and racist, but i do agree that the clinton’s are full of fear and racist!! wwjd seem’s to be the question of the day–it is better to understand then to be understood- let’s hope if clinton becomes the queen that she dosn’t lynch obama and his wife and daughters!

  • Margie Benes

    “Esther is brave, but she is also very shrewd. Through trickery and currying favor with the King, Esther saves the Jewish people. The story shows her to be quite bloodthirsty as well. Esther makes sure that not only is the King’s henchman hanged, but his ten sons as well!”

  • Dianna Penny

    As a substitute Sunday School teacher, who has read both the Old and New Testaments a number of times, I find that Queen Esther’s story does not put me in mind of Hillary Clinton. When I think of Hillary, I think more about Deborah in the book of Judges, Chapter 4. It’s true that Esther was a clever young woman whose cunning saved the Israelites from slaughter at the hands of Haman, a hostile henchman of King Ahaserus (or Xerxes in some translations), but Deborah was more seasoned and mature, leading the Israelites to a stunning military victory with the help of her lead general whose name incidently was Barak, who was proud to have her beside him on the field of battle as they faced an enemy who was a bit more disparaging of women, but whom they defeated anyhow. Deborah was next to the last of the ruling judges (Samuel was the last) before the Israelites adopted a system of monarchy rule. Deborah’s story is a fascinating Biblical example of gender equality. I don’t how Hillary’s story will ultimately play out, but I see in her Deborah rather than Esther.

  • Supascience

    When the Biblical accounts of Ester are entered into the equation Hillary’s assassination statements become all the more ominous.

  • mouli

    Hillary = Square Root of(Shrewdness * Ruthlessness * Vengence etc)

  • ted

    It is time for Hillary to bow out gracefully.

  • JanD

    Thistlethwaite your understanding of scripture is laughable. But it fits, you being unregenerate. If you are a Jew hater then yes Esther would be “deceptive and ruthlessness” but if you were a Jew on the verge of being wiped out of existence then Esther is a hero and biblical giant. But Jews being wiped out would be ok with you wouldn’t it Thistlehwaite? You ignorant ignorant woman.

  • Earl C

    You have presented a rather accurate portrayal of this biblical account in a short space. Your analysis is very interesting indeed.However, the politics of our culture is still a far cry from the type of rule of Esther’s day. Of course, deception is alive and well. It does seem at this point that Hillary feels compelled to make a point, whatever that point is. I do not see that Barack senses that he is God’s gift to America at this time. However, I do sense that Barack has been greatly blessed with a great campaign, a gift of oratory, an outstanding mind, humility, and awareness of the moment. He seems very much at ease with people of all stripes. His humanity is demonstrated every day in the way that he responds to situations. I particularly noticed his response yesterday to the person who had fainted in the crowd, his calling for assistance, and his appeal to those assembled to seek shade. He shows a genuine concern for people. He is more than just talk.

  • A reader

    Hillary would have been the democratic nominee long ago if she would have opposed the Bush invasion of Iraq. Instead, she took the risk to support Bush betting that the invasion would be a repeat of the 1990 Desert Storm. She may have the guts to make risky decisions but she does not have the foresight that Obama does. Remember Obama at the time opposed the invasion and foresaw the debacle

  • Earl C

    In your reponses, many of you have forgotten that Hillary herself has mentioned Queen Esther as a role model. Too many of you are attaching the messenger.

  • Earl C

    In your reponses, many of you have forgotten that Hillary herself has mentioned Queen Esther as a role model. Too many of you are attacking the messenger.

  • dt

    I would like to think otherwise, but looking collectively at what Clinton has done as a candidate, the misinformation that she has passed on to public (e.g.one of many, “I won Texas” when by the only metric that counts, the delegate count, she lost), her “kitchen sink” approach to campaigning, etc. absolutely convinces me that she comes closest to Katerine Harris–win at any cost and use actions that are consonant with the collective nations interests only if it contributes to her winning. I do not trust her, and see her as being indeed clever, but also extremely devious. We’ve had enough misinformation and policies that have caused a vitrolic separation of the people of this nation. We do not need another four (or eight) years of this.

  • Martha Sterling-Golden

    In 1980, Sen. Edward Kennedy went to the Democratic convention 1,976 delegates shy of the nomination in his challenge to incumbent president Jimmy Carter, thus I am perplexed by the wave of intensely personal criticism directed at Senator Clinton for taking her campaign to the convention when she and Senator Obama are virtually tied.Esther notwithstanding.Martha Sterling-Golden

  • RCG

    Thank gods there are only two political parties in our government. We the well-informed, non-manipulated People know in our hearts that there are only two, completely polarized views to every issue. Fortunately, the Us v. Them strategy of politics puts emphasis on political fraternity, jostled against eachother like competing sports teams – even giving speculative statistical coverage of Electoral votes not yet given, and half-votes of delegates. If it weren’t for all this sensationalist coverage, we might actually get distracted by the issues and transparency needing to be addressed.So she chose Esther out of the other notable women in Christian scripture. Why is her religion important at all? Where, in the Constitution, does it say that a cadidate has to have a religion, that it is endorsed by any party, or that there needs to be an inquisition into their religion to determin suitability for office?We are a nation of Laws, not of Men… but we sure as heck don’t act like it.

  • Anonymous

    This is a very intelligent attack on Hillary. You have twisted a story of valor, used the personality traits that supposedly were necessary on those days to accomplished a great act, and turned them into weapons to vilify Hillary. You have,literally, used every word in the book to portray Hillary as a monster. It’s painful when a woman attacks another woman by portraying her persistence in asserting her rights as a character flaw.Your low brow readers will follow the bait and, as usual, will thoughtlessly continue the “discussion” without questioning your intentions (obviously you are pro Hussain) or your skillful use of communication to manipulate public opinions. They will see your attacks as “commentary”, while you use words that instill negative emotions to discredit Hillary’s legal rights to continue in the race instead of facts.You are a shrewed journalist, another one in the list of Hillary basher, nagging about how dare Hillary persist in challenging saint Hussain. You, my dear, you are a btch.

  • Venkat

    “Like Katherine Harris”????!!! You and people like who constantly disrespect Mrs. Clinton are the the reason why John McCain will win the whitehouse. Perhaps, that is what you want.

  • RCG

    Anonymous:You only called Senator Clinton by her first.Portraying rights as a character flaw is an intelligent act too. According to others who cited more on the story of Esther, those rights may have simply been in self-preservation. Call it valor or survival, it’s a matter of perspective.Also, indolent name-calling, ‘btch’, is the epitome of intelligent ‘discussion’.

  • dcp

    The Constitution does not have to say that a candidate has to have a religion. The masses want a candidate with a religion, and so you have to “give the people what they want.” That’s the way a democracy works.

  • Enemy Of The State

    I can’t remember any politician in the last several decades, save Nixon, who seems as nuts as Clinton. She wants this so bad, it literally scares me.

  • Jack

    Somehow I don’t see Hillary getting anyone drunk and beheading any one. Hillary’s service is as a planner and an advocate and her inspiration was her faith and an altruism I don’t pretend to understand.Yes, Hillary took a chance and put herself out there for all that ridicule. But why? Why want it so bad? She is a smart cookie – she knows that Bill might not be around 10 years from now (or 8 for that matter). People with triple and quadruple bypass surgery get around 9 years extra years from a surgery like his then they die. She also knows she might not care for being President or even being in Politics if he passes away. She probably feels a little frustrated because she knows that given what the current administration did to the economy not even she and Bill’s best efforts might have saved this country from crashing and burning.She is probably angry. Afterall she and Bill are multimillionares – they weren’t going to spend the next 8 years playing golf or lining their pockets. They were going to work their hearts out for the American people. She probably feels very angry when people say she is on a power trip. 110 million dollars is already a lot of power.I feel cheated because as much as I respect Mr. Obama and will support in him November there won’t be another like Bill and Hillary Clinton in my lifetime. Our grandchildren and great grand children will probably call us the “stupid generation” for not giving them a second chance to fix the mess we are in. God bless.

  • Shootingsparks

    One of the most revealing things about this election is, at least for me, learning how toxic and widespread racism is in the Jewish community…

  • SAM

    Hillary Clinton wouldn’t be what she is now if she was not the wife of a former US president. This attached and non- instrinsic prestige does not qualify the lady for US presidency nor even the Senate.

  • Sandra Arnoult

    So her specialty is…ah, “contextual theologies of liberation, specializing in issues of violence and violation.” This is the intellectualization of the Gospel and explains her tone….which is utterly lacking in Christian charity. Maybe she should go back to school and re-read some of the New Testament passages on forgiveness and redemption. Maybe there would be something, too, about humility. Contextualize that.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Hmmm, like most of the OT, Queen Ester is a myth. Might as well have Hillary’s patroness be Ma Claus or the Wicked Witch of the East. simpletoremember.com/vitals/ConservativeTorah.htm

  • Pam

    Oh, please. This is a reach. Let her be.

  • norman ravitch

    Religion has made pharisees of Bill and Hillary.

  • Anonymous

    “Trickery”? “Deception” “Ruthlessness”? “Bloodthirsty”? I can’t believe what I just read. What Bible are you using? I am extremely disappointed that you would have such a dim view of Esther. I can only imagine that you have fashioned this image of her so that you can make parallels to Hillary. Showing Hillary in an awful light seems to have been your intent from the start. Esther is my hero. And, for goodness sake, she’s the only woman in the Bible with her own book!Now, please understand…. I am not a Hillary fan. I voted for Barack.But, in all fairness, you could have easily painted a kinder, gentler, more heroic picture of Esther for your comparison. But, I assume that that would not have met your goal.

  • dcp

    Esther is not the only woman with her own book in the Bible. Remember a woman (and book) named Ruth?

  • John

    When I was a kid I loved watching Bugs Bunny. Bugs was really funny and he lived in a hole in the ground. So that means I’m also funny and live in a hole in the ground. Thank you for enlightening me.

  • alex

    Well, it may just be that the king’s henchman may be considered the right wing republicans that have been trying to exterminate the Clintons and their followers. Esther was a smart and cunning woman and so is Hillary. I look for a bruising battle between McCain and Obama with Hillary being right in the midst. It’s going to be fun.

  • eager reader

    The Post website is set to give me the Religion material several times a day whether or not i click on it. It does not increase my appreciation. It frustrates me and makes me invent abusive terms for it.

  • Kevin99999

    One of the most idiotic and hateful posts.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    90+ commentaries about a fictional woman!!!Ester was/is a myth. Might as well have Hillary’s patroness be Ma Claus or the Wicked Witch of the East. simpletoremember.com/vitals/ConservativeTorah.htm

  • ichief

    As someone with a degree in theology, I’ve read Ms. Thistlethwaite’s posts with interest even though I’m repelled by the principles of liberation theology that she espouses, a theology that presents a model of God who takes sides and is not averse to using violence to achieve desired results.I was introduced in seminary to both liberation theology and process theology and have always felt more at home with the all-loving God of process theology, who leads through persuasion rather than coercion, a model of God drawn from the personal attributes of the historical Jesus who taught such precepts as “turn the other cheek.”Reading today’s blog, I’m struck by how cleverly Thistlethwaite maligns Hillary Clinton by associating her with Kartherine Harris and emphasizing negative characteristics of the biblical heroine, Esther.Thistlethwaite is apparently attempting a last minute smear of Hillary Clinton in an effort to help push the badly limping Obama over the finish line.In my opinion, Thistlethwaite’s post in today’s On Faith is no different from the diatribes of Rev. Wright and Father Pfleger against Hillary Clinton. But that should come as no surprise – Thistlewaite is a member of Trinity UCC, and she has likely cheered those two religious leaders on.

  • Clinging to Religion

    Dear “Reverend” Brooks,Are you really a Christian? I find your behavior unbecoming of any Christian much less a so-called Reverend. What exactly posesses a person who purports to be a religious person, to write such a nasty essay about a public servant? You are not a good example for others. Perhaps you should re-consider your career. Maybe you can get a job with the Axelrod/Obama campaign for the summer so you can trash some more people. Oh that’s right, that’s the Chicago way as your fellow Chicago religious comrades Wright and Phleger have reminded us over and over again. You just reinforced the nastiness.Senator Clinton has done more to help others than you ever will.

  • Hillary Billy Hillbilly are racists

    Arnold Schwarzenegger’s SS Father and Uncles What happened to Our Constitution stating the separation of church and state?The media especially Fox and Cnn are jokes.Did anyone link Arnold Schwarzenegger with his father and uncles who were German SS?”Will you renounce your support for Kurt Waldheim?”A little refresher course may be in order. Kurt Waldheim, a widely esteemed former secretary general of the United Nations, was running for president of Austria in March 1986 when it came to light that he had participated in Nazi atrocities during World War II. Waldheim had always maintained that he had served in the Wehrmacht only briefly and that after being wounded early in the war, he had returned to Vienna to attend law school. In fact, Waldheim had resumed military service after recuperating from his injury and had been an intelligence officer in Germany’s Army Group E when it committed mass murder in the Kozara region of western Bosnia. (Waldheim’s name appears on the Wehrmacht’s “honor list” of those responsible for the atrocity.) In 1944, Waldheim had reviewed and approved a packet of anti-Semitic propaganda leaflets to be dropped behind Russian lines, one of which ended, “enough of the Jewish war, kill the Jews, come over.” After the war, Waldheim was wanted for war crimes by the War Crimes Commission of the United Nations, the very organization he would later head. None of these revelations prevented Waldheim from winning the Austrian election, but after he became president, the U.S. Justice Department put Waldheim on its watch list denying entry to “any foreign national who assisted or otherwise participated in activities amounting to persecution during World War II.” The international community largely shunned Waldheim, and he didn’t run for re-election.

  • Anonymous

    “You and people like who constantly disrespect Mrs. Clinton are the the reason why John McCain will win the White House.”I could not agree more with Vekat. But the Obama supporters will never learn this because this is the first campaign for most of them. They call everyone names who disagrees with their candidate because they cannot argue the issues. Then they expect those that they disrespected to come over for a big unity hug. Too late for that.

  • paul taylor

    Queen Esther?Ok, you convinced me. It takes a woman, or is it a queen, to be a true sexist…? Hillary is simply running a campaign the way a candidate should be, the way a man would be running it: with self assurance and conviction. But, you say, that is biblical female narcissism? And, perhaps, that is the role of the man, in mankind’s biblical nature? (You do know the bible was written and edited by men)?Yes, yes, Miss Queen Thistlethwaite, YOUR highness. Whatever you wish, your desire is our reading menu of the day. Unfortunately. And, by the way, Miss Queen T….do you have a horse in this race?

  • Chagasman

    Katherine Harris is a slime bag who manipulated the law to get her party’s nominee elected. Katherine Harris is a Republican, which is the same saying she is a ruthless, manipulating, greedy, monomaniac with no compassion and a sould of ice. There’s no comparing Katherine Harris with Hillary Clinton.

  • Chagasman

    Katherine Harris manipulated the law to get her party’s nominee elected. Katherine Harris is a Republican, which is the same saying she is a ruthless, manipulating, greedy, monomaniac with no compassion and a sould of ice. There’s no comparing Katherine Harris with Hillary Clinton.

  • JaxMax

    Hillary’s REAL Biblical role model was the wicked Jezebel.

  • edgfield

    Perhaps it’s significant that Esther is the only book in the Protestant version of the Bible that never mentions God.

  • AKF

    Interesting–it appears that cunning and ruthlessness is tolerated in sucessful men…but not acceptable for sucessful women.

  • Tony Davis

    I really enjoyed your illumination of the Queen Hillesther perspective. Quite insightful.Thanks – TD

  • greg

    I think the comparison or somewhat comparison of Ms Harris to Ms Clinton is very revealing in providing insights to the motives of the each woman….

  • Anonymous

    to ICHIEF:Your post is good. And I agree with your understandings about this commentary, in the WPost.It seems that neither President Bush nor the fanatic Muslims are alone in their beliefs in violence. Now, “liberation theology,” maybe based upon the radical Islamic model?This “liberation theology” you talk about is surely anathema to Christianity. At least to the Jesus of Nazareth I understand. So I strongly recommend that those people who support this new theology oppose their god, whom they believe has a violent nature, with all their hearts; just as Jesus did.

  • JBE

    Yes. Kathleen Harris is a perfect example of what Hillary Clinton has become as a person and a candidate.A weaseling, lawyering, whining, INEVITABLE LOSER who will now try and steal the VP slot.NO VP SLOT FOR THE LYING, WHINING, LOSER CLINTON!

  • Laura Klinger

    Certainly Queen Esther was a heroine to her people or else why would so many little girls be given the name of “Esther”, including my own dear mother. It is interesting that so many Obama supporters revile Hillary and accuse her of rather dastardly deeds. Certainly, you can support Obama without trying to destroy Hillary. That is VERY counterproductive to helping your candidate Obama win in November. Hillary has her supporters,judging by how far she has come. They may just stay home election day. Obama needs all the help he can get. Out there there is still prejudice and he is still an unknown to many people. Hillary has been there, done that. The smartest thing Obama can do is welcome Hillary as his running mate. She will “go to the well” with him. She would not let him or us down. This election is Democratic, if we don’t blow it through lack of common sense and too much talk.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    125+ commentaries about a fictional woman!!!Ester was/is a myth. Might as well have Hillary’s patroness be Ma Claus or the Wicked Witch of the East. simpletoremember.com/vitals/ConservativeTorah.htm

  • J.DEL

    O…. Great just what we need. A democratic queen .

  • dcp

    Hey, I completely forgot about Jezebel until someone else mentioned her. Hmmm, interesting comparison…She was married to the king as well but much more obvious in her ambitions.

  • Joan Storey

    And…lest we forget in the moment….Obama is ruthless and cunning also. And his wife is double digits on the ruthless chart herself!