Oh my. Amy Sullivan, a Christian journalist of the Democratic persuasion, someone I normally find to be thoughtful and rational, has fallen deep into the magic mushrooms with her latest piece in Time Magazine, An Antichrist Obama in McCain Ad?
The "story" is that some Democrat talking heads believe that McCain's recent ad tweaking Obamania, called The One, is actually a secret message aimed at conservative Christians suggesting that Barack Obama may be the Antichrist. You know, the spawn of Satan? That evil pretender whose rise to power is predicted in the Book of Revelation? The Machiavellian genius personified by Nicolae Carpathia in the lamentable Left Behind book series?
Here's Amy Sullivan:
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."
And it gets worse.
The visual images in the ad... also seem to evoke the cover art of several Left Behind books. But they're not the cartoonish images of clouds parting and shining light upon Obama that might be expected in an ad spoofing him as a messiah. Instead, the screen displays a sinister orange light surrounded by darkness and later the faint image of a staircase leading up to heaven.
If poor Amy is sounding suspiciously like those people who see the face of
Jesus Jimmy Carter in an oil stain on the floor of the local Jiffy Lube... well, it's been a long, hot summer and the woman may need a vacation.
The ad in question, when not viewed through psychedelic glasses, mocks the phenomenon of Obama worship that seems to have spread like wildfire among his
disciples supporters who, let's face it, seem to believe they are witnessing something miraculous instead of just another politician looking for votes.
As the Get Religion folks rightly point out, it was Oprah "Priestess-of-Feel-goodism" Winfrey who first christened Obama "The One" in what was a not-so-subtle messianic reference. And the Obama self-adulation in McCain's ad comes from Obama's own lips. He really said "We are the ones that we've been waiting for." Creeps me out every time I hear it.
Sullivan didn't completely make this stuff up, of course. There are some apocalyptic Christians who have been watching Obamania with trepidation. Many of Obama's young supporters seem convinced that he will usher in the Age of Aquarius in Washington. It's astoundingly naïve, of course. Obama, if elected, will turn out to be disappointingly human, and far less of some new breed of politician than many hope he will be.
I like Barack Obama. He is bright, refreshingly articulate, a moral and genuine Christian man with a sincere desire to bring change to America. As a conservative Democrat, I disagree with Obama's vision for American on a number of points, but find I agree with him on a great deal. I don't know yet who I'll vote for and I won't be using this space to lobby for my favorite candidate.
I'll admit that I have been very uncomfortable with this Messiah-like worship of Obama, and I wish he would take a cue from the Bible and tear his shirt the next time the crowd begins chanting "Obama, Obama." Unfortunately, his supporters would miss the symbolism and might kill each other for a piece of his sweat-free garb.
Watching him at these rallies, I have the feeling he enjoys the adulation. And hey, who wouldn't? I imagine it must be tough keeping your feet on solid ground when everyone claims you can walk on water.
McCain's ad asks a very pertinent question, and you don't have to play the thing backwards to get the point: Yes, Barack Obama is a sensation, but can he lead? That would make a much better discussion piece than some wild-eyed speculation about subliminal messages.