What Fills a Soul?
There are two news items I came across recently that provide a curious contradiction—and point us to the biggest question of our era.
One is the unexpected conversion to Christianity of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the famous apostate from Islam who for a long while embraced secularism. She now proclaims that Christianity is the necessary foundation for a defense of Western values.
But the story I want to start with is a newer development that seriously complicates Hirsi Ali’s claim.
Twice as Many Dabo Girls
Late last week, a news item came flashing across social media that was so deliciously good I had to reflexively guard myself against it. I wanted to believe it too much.
The story is that Florida police are investigating a charge of rape against Christian Ziegler, chairman of the Florida Republican Party and a key ally of Governor Ron DeSantis. That’s the tragic part of the story; here’s the comic part. The woman he allegedly attacked had previously had a consensual “three-way sexual encounter”—that’s the phrase the newspapers are using—with Ziegler and his wife, Bridget Ziegler.
Bridget Ziegler was one of the co-founders of Moms for Liberty, the organization that has been banning books they imagine to have inappropriate sexual content. And more: Mrs. Ziegler was also a prominent advocate of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, an extremely broad ban on discussion of sexual orientation in public schools. So the woman leading the charge in the latest Christian gay panic was having sex with another woman.
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You can understand my caution with this story. The Zieglers read like a couple of cardboard villains dreamed up by a third-rate television screenwriter—the puritanical holy rollers who are secretly swingers. I mean, did he actually have to be named “Christian”? Isn’t that a little too on-the-nose?
On the one hand, I wanted to resist this story because it so obviously validates my prior assumptions about religious conservatives. On the other hand, how do you think I formed those prior assumptions? By watching a series of similar stories, from the televangelist scandals of the 1980s, to the head of the National Association of Evangelicals doing meth with a male prostitute in 2006, to the saga of Jerry Falwell, Jr., and his wife, who engaged in their own “three-way sexual encounter” with the pool boy. As cartoonish as they were, those stories were all true.
And so is this one. The allegation of rape has not yet been tried in court, but affadivits indicate that Bridget Ziegler admitted to investigators her past “three-way sexual encounter.”
I guess there’s a reason this sort of thing is a cliché and a staple of fiction. Somebody remind Quark he’s going to need twice as many dabo girls.
The Culture War Christians
You can see how this undermines the rationale for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s supposed religious conversion.