Obama the Antichrist?
Here’s one of John McCain’s recent ads:
You would think that the rational response to this ad would be to chuckle to yourself, as it does do a nice job of making fun of some of the messianic fervor that some of Obama’s fans have. (Yeah, I’m voting for him, but I’ve no illusions that Obama is anything more than an above-average politician.) Amy Sullivan, however, feels differently.
But even this innocuous interpretation of the ad — which includes images of Charlton Heston as Moses and culled clips that make Obama sound truly egomaniacal — taps into a conversation that has been gaining urgency on Christian radio and political blogs and in widely circulated e-mail messages that accuse Obama of being the Antichrist.
The ad was the creation of Fred Davis, one of McCain’s top media gurus as well as a close friend of former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed and the nephew of conservative Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe. It first caught the attention of Democrats familiar with the Left Behind series, a fictionalized account of the end-time that debuted in the 1990s and has sold nearly 70 million books worldwide. “The language in there is so similar to the language in the Left Behind books,” says Tony Campolo, a leading progressive Evangelical speaker and author.
As the ad begins, the words “It should be known that in 2008 the world shall be blessed. They will call him The One” flash across the screen. The Antichrist of the Left Behind books is a charismatic young political leader named Nicolae Carpathia who founds the One World religion (slogan: “We Are God”) and promises to heal the world after a time of deep division. One of several Obama clips in the ad features the Senator saying, “A nation healed, a world repaired. We are the ones that we’ve been waiting for.”
The article manages to get more ridiculous from there, if you can believe that. For someone who had done a lot of reporting on Evangelicals, I have to admit that I’m surprised that Amy Sullivan is peddling this particular line of garbage. The ad is clearly just making fun of Obama, nothing more, nothing less. As Ross Douthat notes:
[T]he people who think Obama might be the Antichrist and the people who think the McCain campaign is cannily designing its campaign ads to exploit fears that Obama might be the Antichrist deserve each other. (The difference, of course, is that the former group consists of minor-league kooks, obscure bloggers and chain-email peddlers, whereas the latter consists of Democratic strategists and writers for Time Magazine – the same Time, one might note, that has not once but twice put Barack Obama on its cover with a halo around his head.)
Read Ross’s whole post, which provides some nice takedowns of Amy Sullivan’s specific points.
Frankly, I don’t think you could paint a better picture of elite Democrats as being out of touch with evangelical religious life than by pointing out the fact that this article exists.
(cross-posted to Heretical Ideas)