November 13, 2008

Obama Is Not The Antichrist

the 44th President of the United States...Bara...Image by jmtimages via FlickrIn looking at the HitTail search results from Mississippi Atheists, I noticed a disturbing trend since the election was called for Barack Obama on November 4. I observed a strong surge in traffic from people searching for "obama antichrist evidence" and "obama antichrist" on Google. At first, I didn't remember that one of my co-authors once wrote a post containing these keywords. Sadly, these keywords were now attracting the nutjobs in droves. Yes, it appears that there are still plenty of people out there who believe (or want to believe) that the American voters just elected the Antichrist. As the mainstream media drones on about the Obama presidency uniting America, it would seem that some Christians are not ready to be united around anything other than religiously-motivated hatred and fear.

If we allow ourselves to move past the obvious point that there is no Antichrist and was very likely no Christ either, we see what is happening here for what it really is - fear. The Republican campaign may not have succeeded in getting their candidate elected, but it certainly succeeded in further dividing America and in convincing many Americans that they had reason to fear Obama.

That these searches happened right after Obama was announced as the winner tells me that many people were surprised and were beginning to struggle with how their country could have just elected some sort of demonic presence. If we give them more credit than they may deserve and interpret this as little more than a metaphor for evil, we see the scar of the Republican campaign of intolerance and misinformation.

The implications of McCain's strategy and its effects must not be minimized in the spirit of reconciliation. By demonizing Obama for holding different opinions (and this is precisely what McCain did), McCain worsened the cultural divide. His concession speech, while generally laudable, did nothing to undo the damage he inflicted.

"Politics is a dirty business," you say. Maybe so, but I want you to remember what happened here. A political campaign and their supporters pushed the view that their opponent was evil incarnate. Doesn't this strike you as excessive? And who was overwhelmingly the most receptive to this strategy? You guessed it - Christians.

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