Monday, September 29, 2008

Ugly Religious Extremism––Christian Style

Sly. Innocent. "Just curious." "Trying to share information." "No harm or offense intended."

Try noxious, vile, creepy, racist, hateful. Sinful. Pathetic.

The "Obama is Muslim terrorist" email has been flying around with sincere-sounding Christian phrases attached. "Pray when you send this email on to everyone in your address-book." Sort of like a disease carrier praying over his viruses. The latest bogus suggestion is that Barack Obama is not only a secret Muslim but also the anti-christ.

It's untrue, and well known to be untrue––it was well and thoroughly debunked a year ago (hard to believe it needed debunking)––but it doesn't prevent "sincere Christians" from spreading the lie. Getting the letter from another "Christian" also helps people trust it, and pass it along. Isn't there a rule in the Bible against bearing false witness? Or is that only regarding neighbors?

Are enough Americans gullible enough, ignorant enough or simply obedient enough to vote against Obama just because of this rumor? Yup. Just because some other Christian has whispered in an email that they heard from a friend that someone said that a preacher who went to a seminary somewhere said the letters in Obama's name multplied by the number of the apostles after subtracting Judas plus the numeric value of the letters G, O and D times the number of letters in Jesus full name (Christian name and surname) equals 666. (Someone quick do the math.)

Am I saying that people are stupid? No, I'm saying the people who send you this noxious lying material think you are. You know who they are. And we all know who is using these methods.

The whisper campaign was helped by the McCain ad of a few months ago. The one using code-phrases from Christian end-timers and the none-too-subtle insertion of a minaret behind Obama. Gosh, who does those ads? Do you think they had any intention of inflaming prejudice? What does God think of those people?

The authors of the Left Behind novels say Obama isn't really the AntiChrist (sound of angry moan from disappointed crowd) but it's hard to stop a mob after it's lit all of its torches and grabbed its pitchforks.

"LaHaye and Jenkins take a literal interpretation of prophecies found in the Book of Revelation. They believe the antichrist will surface on the world stage at some point, but neither see Obama in that role. “I’ve gotten a lot of questions the last few weeks asking if Obama is the antichrist,” says novelist Jenkins. “I tell everyone that I don’t think the antichrist will come out of politics, especially American politics.”"

There you have it. Obama is NOT the antichrist. Go home and tell everyone you spread that rumor to that you were wrong, and pray real hard that your false-witnessing can be undone. Otherwise... what happens to people whose sins cause real harm?

But this antichrist accusation isn't new with right wing media talkers. Long before Glenn Beck asked the antichrist question about Barack Obama, he said Hillary was the antichrist, and Don Imus said she was Satan... Lots of creeps out there. Lots of influential lies being told, and the most Democrats say about it is that it's not helpful. Turn the other cheek? Doesn't sound antichristy to me––sounds almost Christian. Will it be enough? Can goodness triumph over evil religious extremism? If Obama wins, yes. God help America.


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