Good morning, class! Today I'd like to tell you about six of our shining lights, six of the most important people you'll ever hear about in this class, six people about whom you may of heard the most bold-faced lies!
David didn't throw stones at a man named Goliath! He consulted his knowledgeable older brothers who were more acquainted with the situation. A detailed appraisal of the force his own party was up against quickly convinced him that a global economy is best served by getting beyond mere nationalistic concerns. He initiated peacetalks that culminated in a joyous resolution: the "ruler" of "Israel" (both terms were later recognized as hatespeech and were rejected by all in David's party) rejected a show of arms. Instead, he fair-mindedly gave half of "his" land -- including "his nation's capital" -- over to Goliath's party of the Philistines.
Daniel didn't get thrown into a den of lions! Who told you that? He championed the rights of atheists to declare a "God-free month"! He even went so far as to show his open-mindedness by taking a break from his own Puritanical prayer schedule. At the end of the month, he was so free that he never went back! (And incidentally, his three best friends were never thrown into a fiery furnace! What bosh! The hottest thing they ever entered was a sauna! After showing their undying support for their king during a multimedia recognition extravaganza, his three friends initiated an "Do Ask, Do Tell" policy to report the minutest acts of insurrection directly to the king himself. Under their watch even these plots decreased to the lowest levels of any recorded period. After their first experience at a public rally, they encouraged the king to hold them monthly. It's never so easy to unite consciousness (and incidentally pick out dissenters) than in a crowd of 3,000!).
Joseph didn't get thrown into prison! He started the first successful pluralistic Free Love initiative in recorded history! While others during his time were oppressed by a patriarchal society, Joseph saw the value of a matriarchal system! He even led the way for Freudian dream analysis!
Esther didn't fear for her life! She realized the unique perspective that new generations enjoy, and rejected the right-wing-fundamentalist-extremist (Fascist!) views of her uncle. She recognized the unmerited preference that her people enjoyed, and was extremely supportive of Haman and his fellow freedom fighters. She was a frequent spokesperson in the Babylonian media, speaking out against the radical claims of Jews, and seeking to bring attention to the persecuted plight of Ammonites oppressed by Jews everywhere. While not directly attacking the biased account of Jews being a peace-loving, law-abiding people who had endured a vast history of suffering, she helped to popularize the understanding which we now know is true: that any injustice that a Jew receives at any time is amplified by 10,000 before it is repeated to anyone else. With her help, Babylonians came to see the truth -- that Jews were indeed money-grubbing, self-promoting radicals who had no mercy for the people groups they displaced and oppressed. As a Jew herself, she also was widely successful in her public addresses to her people. She could speak directly to the Jews and tell them their own unflagging stubbornness was the reason for their conflict with the Ammonites! If they would only soften their cultural mores and show the proper amount of deference for those over them, they could coexist in peace! She was able to relieve their misguided fears that Haman and other Ammonites were planning a merciless ethnic cleansing campaign. (Anyone who tuned into the Babylonian Broadcasting Network knew that it was the Jews, not the Ammonites that were the aggressors!) Without her support, it is entirely possible that Ammonites would not have seen the kind of political and personal success that solidified their position in history and freed them from the bondage of Jewish oppression.
John the Baptist wasn't beheaded! He began an astonishingly progressive "Reinvent Marriage" campaign. Under his watch, couples in his city who best demonstrated The New Morality were profiled in the Jerusalem Times. Naturally, the first couple to be profiled were Herod and Herodias. During their interview, they were even able to mention the Interpretive Dance course that Herodias' daughter was offering! Once they "came out," many other creative couples were more than willing to share their story. When not planning his next issue, John spearheaded the "Go Brown" campaign -- impressive by even our modern standards. He showed us how to get back to nature, enjoy water for itself, and recycle materials that others reject. Surprisingly, he even broadly hinted at One who was to come -- a community organizer who would bring salvation in the form of government assistance! (Think about this children: you know Who he was talking of!)
Moses didn't wander in the desert for forty years! He didn't threaten his nation's Pharaoh with statements from "God." Oh no! He recognized his place as subordinate to the government, and came to realize that his schizophrenic tendencies could best be dealt with through modern Egyptian medicine (he liked froglegs anyway). He happily labored in Egypt after realizing that his people were being given the best possible education they could ask for: a worker's education! He organized labor committee meetings with ninety-nine representatives from Pharoah's government, and one incredibly lucky Israeli worker-representative! These successful meetings proceeded for sixty-six and one half years! And they were even supported by dues from the workers themselves! He wisely recognized the usefulness of his people, and joined the People's Educational Council. He also was instrumental on the People's Propaganda -- ahem -- Informational Bureau. Under his direction this bureau accomplished what many thought impossible: the dwarfing of its early successes in the No Straw Is Good Policy and the Midwives for Birth Control (Before or After Birth) campaigns.
I haven't the time to go on, as I would like to. I'd like to tell you the truth about Nehemiah -- that he wasn't threatened with hate mail! That he didn't carry out obscure construction projects for hate mongerers, but hosted town hall meetings where he encouraged his people to form religion-bridging relationships with their neighbors! I'd like to tell you about Jeremiah -- who wasn't thrown into a well, but as chief advisor to the king, always reassured him that they would be victorious! Oh, and if only I could tell you about Elijah, who didn't carry out mountain-top histrionics, but quite logically started a Foundation for Pagan Religious Expression -- complete with its own piercing and tattoo parlor. Noah, Gideon, Jael, Joshua, Abigail, Naboth, Stephen, Paul, Jesus -- so many stories, so little time. Rightwingers will try to tell you that the most notable events in their lives were when they resisted. But I assure you: these people were most notable when they assented.
The abiding lessons in these men's lives, children, is that it's always best to bend! Recite it with me: Best to Bend, Best to Bend. Exactly! Don't stand when everyone else is kneeling! Don't stand when everyone else is bowing! Bend means Blend. Say it again! Yes! Bend means Blend! As you can see from the examples of David, Daniel, Joseph, Esther, John-the-Baptist, and Moses, holding to antiquated "ideals" never gets your name recorded in history. Consistency is no virtue. Recognize those in authority, and obey them, no matter what!