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Don’t see the connection? Check out my essay on the topic at PoliticsDaily. The lede:
So why does it seem as though every prominent shiksa wants to be a Jewish queen? As in Queen Esther, a favorite heroine of the Hebrew Bible who used her feminine wiles — and risked her life — to save the Jews of Persia from a plot to exterminate them.The latest Christian gal fitted for Esther’s crown was Miss California USA, a.k.a. Carrie Prejean. As soon as Prejean was dissed for publicly objecting to gay marriage on the basis of her Christian beliefs, she was held up by Focus on the Family and other evangelicals as a “modern Queen Esther,” who uses her good looks to witness for her faith and rescue God’s people.
Above all, the story of Esther allows conservatives to mediate-or accommodate-conflicting feelings about sex and purity, women and power. “I think in many ways she is a dubious role model,” says Anne Lapidus Lerner, director of the Program in Jewish Women’s Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. “But she does offer beauty and power together-and subservience. So it’s a good mix, it would seem to me, for people who are interested in seeing women as subservient but not totally powerless, and to see their beauty as something that carries them to whatever modicum of power they achieve.”