Lou Engle’s “Esther Call” will be finishing in Dallas, Texas today on Good Friday. The “mass event […] focuses on God's forgiveness for those who have been involved in abortion […and calls on] viewers to pray for an end to the bloodshed of innocent lives.” Along with co-leader Laura Allred, Engle has called on women to repent for the nation’s abortions on behalf of America’s women.This Engle campaign sounds to us like an extreme hijacking of a biblical story which distorts it for aims that are diametrically opposed to the original intents of the narrative.
That’s a far cry from the original Esther—a biblical queen who used the power of prayer, fasting, and a ballsy appeal to the king to save the Jews after her stubborn cousin Mordecai nearly got them all massacred.
One video calls on women who have been “hurt” by abortion to come together to “release the pain,” a process through which political change will be possible. At face value, Engle seems to be calling on some conservative Christian reconfiguration of girl power—uniting women so they can refine their political voice.
Problem is, for these Esthers power is only realized through the humiliation of themselves and their peers.
The biblical Esther doesn’t really do any ‘pain-releasing.’ She’s busy using her cleverness, faith, and womanly wile to protect her people after her cousin puts them at risk with his ego (Esther 3:1). Engle’s Esthers, however, will only be able to protect their land once they repent their own failings.
In other words: Sure! Women can have power to influence national policy… if they start crying about what dirty sinners they are. Engle borrows from rhetoric about women’s power, but tells them to turn that power in on themselves.
Anti-Abortion Activist Lou Engle Hijacks and Twists the Story of Esther
Katie Toth at Religion Dispatches calls her op-ed the Lou Engle's Bizarro Esther recalling the Superman comics Bizarro Superman from the Bizarro world where everything is skewed almost to the opposite of what it should be. She explains: