When I come across an old story that mimics something that is happening today, I can’t resist the urge to draw parallels between the two. And, so it was with a tale entitled, “The Emperor’s New Clothes“, by Hans Christian Andersen.
In Anderson’s tale, there existed an emperor, whose love for fine clothes was well-known, and well-financed by all the people’s money.
Hearing of this, two men pretending to be weavers, come into the city with the claim that they could make the finest, lightest, and most magnificent cloth in all the world. Best of all, was their claim that the cloth would not be visible to anyone who was unfit for their positions, inept or stupid – and thus, the con.
Once the Emperor heard of the weaver’s amazing claims, he foolishly thought that by wearing these clothes, he could purge the undesirables from his city. After the Emperor paid the con-men a large sum of money to begin right away, they set out, pretending to make clothes made from an empty loom.
A procession to show off the Emperor’s new clothes was arranged, and the entire city gathered to watch. The fraudulent weavers, acting like mimes, dressed the Emperor in his new clothes, assuring him how wonderful he looked, and how light the cloth looked on him. Once they were finished the Emperor appeared in procession before his people.
His people had heard of the amazing claims made by the weavers, and now were offering resounding applause to the beaming Emperor. Aware of the clothes invisible properties, they weren’t going to admit that they hadn’t seen a thing; fearing they would appear stupid or inept, or unfit for their positions.
The charade was abruptly interrupted when a small child cried out… “But the Emperor has no clothes!”
A Modern Day Tale
Although there are different characters in the modern-day tale, the plot is not that different from Anderson’s tale – a plot that exposes vanity, deception, and self-preservation.
The Cast of Characters
In our modern tale, the President takes the place of the Emperor – who, like the Emperor, has an affinity for all things fine, and an insatiable need to be “one up” on everything and everybody.
The weavers in our tale, are those evangelical and religious leaders, who have coalesced around the president. For a mere sum of power, influence, and celebrity, they have provided him with a cloth of spirituality, made from an empty loom – an invisible cloth meant to give him the appearance of a lamb instead of a malevolent wolf.
Finally, the people in this tale, are all those evangelical minions, who for fear of being exposed as disloyal, or losing their gains (or jobs), pretend the president is fully clothed, lavishing him with accolades and superlatives, as he parades in front of them – dressed in his make-believe (invisible) new clothes, that have been fitted to him in mime-like fashion by the weavers.
The Epilogue To This Tale
Throughout the Bible, God speaks to the importance and value of children – often holding them up as an example of the faith, we as adults, are to have.
“At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” (Matthew 11:25)
“…Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
As in ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes“, will it take the honesty of a child, to expose the truth in this tale?
“But the President has no clothes!”