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In his impeachment defense, David Schoen picked a really weird hill to die on

David Schoen’s faith, from his phantom yarmulke to his Shabbat observance, has played no small role in Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. And yet, it was his take on another religion that raised eyebrows on Friday. Observers think he picked a super strange hill to die on.

While Schoen eschewed his kippah in a public setting yet again, he argued fiercely that a Trump supporter who promised in a tweet to “bring the Calvary” to the Jan. 6 rally was not — as many people might assume — misspelling “cavalry,” but talking about her plan to display an object of her devotion at the capital.

“The tweeter promised to bring the ‘Calvary,’” Schoen said, objecting to Rep. Eric Swalwell’s presentation of the tweet as evidence of Trump’s incitement. “A public display of Christ’s crucifixion, a central symbol of her Christian faith with her. A symbol of faith, love and peace.”

People weren’t sold.

Now, to be fair, a Calvary, taken from the name of the hill where Jesus was crucified, also known as Golgotha, is a kind of public open air sculpture. I checked (Jewish) and it was not as ludicrous as I initially believed. I was thinking a “Macbeth”-type deal where someone shifts a whole bit of landscaping — Scottish forests, crucifixion sod from Jerusalem — over to a seat of government for a showdown between new and old leadership.

The tweeter in question, Jennifer Lynn Lawrence, insisted that was the meaning she intended, noting that she wanted “salvation for everyone” and to bring the “crucifixion of Jesus Christ… back to Washington, D.C.”

But how exactly? The logistics seem tricky. Calvary sculptures appear to be quite large in scale and difficult to transport, though perhaps not as tough to haul as a regiment of horsemen. Or maybe just as “cavalry” no longer means quite the same thing as it once did, “Calvary,” long used as a byword for mental anguish, can evolve as well.

Perhaps, as Schoen’s team argues was the case with so much of the rhetoric leading up to the siege of the Capitol, this was all a metaphor. You know, that super common metaphor about hauling a monumental sculpture to the country’s capital. Kinda like when you tell your buddies you’re bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Shabbat.

We all do it! And everyone knows you just mean you’ll supply the wine.

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture reporter. He can be reached at [email protected].

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