Johnny Teague is the Republican nominee for the 7th congressional district in Texas. He’s a hard-shell evangelical Baptist with a doctorate in theology.
Teague also fancies himself a novelist of sorts. A book he wrote in 2020 is pictured above. It hit the news again recently and caused a shit storm. And that is why Johnny Teague is malaka of the week.
I had never heard of Teague until TPM Morning Memo posted about him on Tuesday while I was Waiting For Bozo. TPM, in turn, was following up on a piece by Andrew Lapin at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Teague’s book The Lost Diaries Of Anne Frank purports to tell her story *after* being transported to the death camps and *before* her murder at the hands of the Nazis.
In Teague’s telling, Frank seems to embrace Christianity just before she is murdered by the Nazis.
“I would love to learn more about Jesus and all He faced in His dear life as a Jewish teacher,” Teague’s Anne Frank character muses at one point, saying that her dad had tried to get her a copy of the New Testament. Anne’s father Otto Frank, who in real life did survive the Holocaust, seems to have been spared a tragic fate in Teague’s telling because of his interest in learning about Jesus.
Later, Anne does learn about Jesus through other means, reciting psalms and expressing sympathy for Jesus’ plight.
By book’s end, Anne is firm in her belief that “every Jewish man or woman should ask” questions like “Where is the Messiah? … Did He come already, and we didn’t recognize Him?”
Oy, just oy.
Evangelicals such as Teague are philo-semites, which in the wrong hands is a perverse form of antisemitism. They claim to love Israel more than those slacker American Jews who vote Democratic and don’t think the Impeached Insult Comedian is the second coming. Their only interest is in converting as many Jews as possible to their twisted form of Christianity.
There’s something obscene about Teague’s attempt to transform plucky Anne Frank into a right-wing heroine. Teague is mainlining speculative misinformation about our heroine like heroin. People in the camps tended to be focused on survival, not metaphysical speculation.
I take this personally. I recall reading The Diary Of Anne Frank in either fifth or sixth grade. It was incredibly moving to see history through the eyes of another child. It’s always stuck with me. I could be wrong about this, but I don’t recall her musing about religious figures. Boredom and boys yes, Jesus and Moses, no.
As a Gore Vidal stan, I am not opposed to speculative historical fiction if it’s done properly.
The Master had some rules about how he handled real people in his fiction. He did his best NOT to have them doing or saying things they would not have done in real life. That’s why I prefer Burr to hip hop Hamilton.
What if any standards Teague has for *his* speculative fiction is murky at best. He’s unlikely to pay attention to a gay atheist like Gore Vidal. His interest is in conversion.
While Teague’s version of Frank doesn’t explicitly indicate she wants to convert to Christianity, she makes many comments praising Christians she meets in the concentration camp, noting of one woman, “What I love about her is her faith in God and her faith in Jesus.” Later, Frank says, “I am seeing a stark difference in some of the Christians here, as opposed to the others… It seems Christians are more willing to die than the rest of us.”
Willingness to die is a good thing? The Anne Frank I remember wanted to live and was willing to endure countless hours of boredom to survive. Teague has his Anne do and say things the real Anne would not have done. His Anne is a Jesus freak wannabe. It’s as if Hillary Mantel depicted Henry VIII as a selfless celibate in Wolf Hall.
The good news is that Johnny Teague is likely to lose his House race to Democratic incumbent Lizzie Pannelli Fletcher. The bad news is that The Lost Diaries Of Anne Frank is out there and likely to be taken literally by those who think that lizard people exist and Donald Trump is the messiah. And that is why Johnny Teague is malaka of the week.
The messiah in this song is not the one Teague has in mind. The last word goes to Yes: