Friday, August 15, 2008

Barack the Anti-Christ?

On CNN today it was reported that a McCain ad is hinting - not so subtlety - that Barack is the Anti-Christ! That made me do a double take. What? They mentioned a blog that was dedicated to the topic and they had a post about the ad. I was reminded of a short essay I wrote for a History class last quarter and decided this may be an appropriate time to share it. I first thought that the question the professor presented us was referring to racial cultures, but on reading closer I realized the text was actually talking about the cultural differences between the "blue and red" states of mind and geography.

  • I would really love to hear your different views on this.
  1. Do you believe the anti-christ is going to be a political figure as presented in the Left Behind series?
  2. Do you think Barack or any current figure is possibly the anti-christ?
  • Here is the essay question and my answer:

How should the effects of the ‘cultural wars’ on US society over the past 25 years be represented?

This is a hard question to address in any non-biased way, since the cultural wars referred to are still being fought today. "The struggle to define America" continues over the pervasive airwaves, around the water-coolers, and on into family reunions and around dinner tables on a daily basis.

I think that rather than sorting itself out and moving on America has become more divided and emotionally entwined than when the yuppies were first identified in the 80's. While there were definite strong differences between Democratic voters and Republican voters their different ideas about what constituted American Values has only grown deeper over the years to where it has reached the point where conversations between opposing sides almost impossible.

One of the factors in this inability to communicate comes from the mistrust of the other's sources of information. Right wing conservatives believe the "liberal media" distorts facts and sways the public toward secular abominations such as gay rights and anti-patriotism. While those on the left have grown continually more distrustful of the right wing talk show hosts and the opinions they spread as fact. This statement probably identifies my liberal leanings, which were seeded in the 80's when I debated my conservative classmate regarding the 1988 election.

I am not sure how this divide should be represented other than to show the trend toward an increasing animosity within our country. Perhaps more important is where it will lead us in the future. I have heard some predictions of it leading to rebellion against increasing executive power resulting in mass riots and civil war. I do not really think this will happen, although history has taught us that it is a real possibility. Probably the pendulum will continue to swing in one direction and then the other.

The historicism of some causes them to believe it will eventually come to rest in a millennium of good government and peace will fill the land. My own personal historicism causes me to be very uneasy with the amount of influence I have witnessed by religious leaders on our government as I see many fighting for an end to the separation between Church and State. I believe the Beast spoken of in Revelation is the evil power that results when faith and politics mesh. Here is a quote from Revelation 13:11,14, 16, 17 that I understand to illustrate this coercive power:

"Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, and he spoke with the voice of a dragon....he deceived all the people who belong to this world. ...He required everyone - great and small, rich and poor, slave and free - to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark..."

I believe the right wing's push against multiculturalism, and for preserving what they see as true American values, could lead our country to demand conformity from it's citizens. This feels especially ominous as the Executive branch of government expands the power available to it in the case of an emergency. I fear the backlash that could come against the non-conformists if our government pulls out all the stops in response to a natural or man made disaster. Ultimately, I do not look to our government for peace of security. My trust and hope is in the Creator of this world, and His promise to make it new.

1 comment:

Dade said...


A couple thoughts: the conflict between Right and Left, Red and Blue, is exacerbated and stoked by people who believe it will serve to their advantage. This is the Karl Rove method of politics: get people to hate and fear one another and use those emotions to gain support.

Regarding the anti-Christ: I'm not at all convinced that the passage in Revelations will necessarily occur. If one interprets the Bible literally, one falls into the trap of fundamentalism. From my own secular humanist perspective, I think Bible stories should be interpreted as metaphors. The lessons we derive from them are valid, regardless of whether or not they are literal or "true." In short, I don't know that there will ever be an "anti-Christ," just as I don't know that there was ever a Great Flood that drowned all of humanity apart from Noah and his family. The important thing is to try to understand the lesson that is being conveyed by the scripture.

Anyway, sorry so long-winded.