I want to ask you about shame. I want to ask you about the way you dug your hands into a big pail of soapy water and scrubbed away at the dirt that is humanity.
and then I will press the play button on that ancient cassette player and let you listen to the words you wrote down on a piece of paper and handed to a woman to read as she voiced the role of Fatine in your radio drama recording of Les Miserables.
and then I want to ask you more about Fantine. they called her a prostitute in that alley and she was appalled. you could hear it in her voice, the way she spit the last syllable of her accused profession. "I am not a prostitute," she snaps.
except she was. and you changed it.
did you think you were doing her a favor, tidying her up and making her presentable for the hordes of Christian listeners that would be gathering around their listening devices with their children and their grandparents. did you want to make it easy for them not to answer questions from inquiring little mouths :: daddy, what's a prostitute?
but really, you did Fatine a disservice. and in the process, you did us all one, too.
Van Jean saves her, gathers her fever-riddled body into his arms, vows to tend to her little girl. the story is beautiful, yes. but it was beautiful the way it was. in fact, it was better before you changed this important detail.
she is worthy of saving because of her humanity. does supposed morality make her worthy somehow? does her profession of sex worker make her less allowable? or does it make you uncomfortable? that idea that Jean Val Jean, Prisoner 24601, gathers into his arms the body of a woman who has slept with countless men for the money they press into her palm -- does it make you clear your throat and side-step the issue?
obviously it does. because you took it away. you made her fragile and moral, a newly made virginal woman with a child from long-repented sin, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
what then do you do with this Man, Jesus, as he reached out his hands to the naked woman flung into the dirt with pointed fingers from Pharisees? will you scrub her clean, too, until she is covered from neck to toes with a cloak and pretend no one knows what's underneath?
to love another person is to see the face of God.
because when you take away Fantine being a prostitute, you take away the Gospel-glory that clings to the edges of everything. you take away the holy breathing of the One who speaks Life over the gory and the broken and the smelly and the base. He takes the sh***y and pitches His tent there.
so, Focus on the Family, Fantine was a prostitute.
and the glory in that is immeasurable.