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Birther eschatology

Many moons ago I taught high school students in Sunday School. It was an exceptional group. One of the most popular features of the class was the weekly $5 or $10 word, some fancy theological term that I would explain, and then they would feel good about knowing something their parents didn’t (except for our pastor’s kid). The $5 words were shorter or simpler than the $10 words. “Eschatology” was one those $10 words.

Eschatology is the branch of theology dealing with the end of the world. Modern evangelical Christians use the phrase “end times,” and Birthers have been using the phrase “universe shattering” of late. I introduced this month with an article titled, “Birther apocalypse,” and I will end it on a similar theme.

Of course today is the last day of March, the last possible day for the birther’s anticipated “Universe-shattering March Reveal.” Nothing happened on the Carl Gallups radio show last Friday, and I haven’t heard of any press conferences scheduled for today. I think it safe to say that March will end without the universe being shattered.

If interested, you can click back to my 2012 article, “The Long Form and the Great Disappointment,” for a quick look at an apocalyptic Christian sect called the Millerites and how their predictions of the end of the world didn’t pan out. That group fell apart after a couple of bad predictions. The modern Jehovah’s Witnesses were influenced by the Millerite tradition. They predicted the beginning of God’s kingdom on earth to occur in 1914. They postponed the date a few times, converted it into some sort of heavenly event, and then quietly gave up on dates.

The birthers, like Christians in general, have been undaunted by multiple failures of predicting future events. Christians have come up with literally hundreds of date predictions for the end of the world, as far back as 4th century. Birthers have been saying “any day now” for 5 years. Specific Christian sects do not seem to survive more than a couple of failed dates—new dates come from new sects. Birthers, however, don’t seem to have any limit for disappointment. It almost seems that Mike Zullo  can get away with an infinite number of failed promises. Perhaps the difference is that he’s never quite specific, whereas Christian apocalyptic prophets set dates, or maybe birthers aren’t really all that committed to Zullo in the first place and so the disappointment is less.

There are obvious parallels between Christian and Birther eschatology, and some differences. One parallel is in the righting of injustice and the vindication of the righteous. Christians look to the final judgment of the wicked and birthers look to Obama being removed from office and convicted of a crime. They look towards universal recognition that they were right all along.

Another parallel is the punishment of their enemies. The Christian Book of Revelation described the ultimate end of Satan:

And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world— he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
(ESV) Rev 12:9

and

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
(ESV) Rev 20:15

The birther parallel to Satan’s angels is what the Birthers would call “O-bots.” They look to the execution of Obama for treason, bringing to Mind LoneStar1776’s YouTube video, “Public beheading.” The O-bots are destined for a similar fate.

Where Birthers and Christians differ is that following the travail of the end of the world, a time of joy results:

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
(ESV) Rev 21:4

By contrast, the extreme right wing seems to be married to perpetual doom, no matter what happens. When Obama leaves office, they’ll just latch onto something else that’s destroying the world.

Dr. Conspiracy’s Guide to Eschatology

Christian Birther
Satan NWO Banksters
The Beast / Antichrist Barack Obama
The Whore of Babylon Ann Dunham
The Devil’s angels Obots
The Day of the Lord Universe Shattering
The Lake of Fire Federal prison
The Messiah Mike Zullo
The Church The Birthers
The Great Tribulation The Collapse of the US Economy and race riots
The faithful acknowledge Jesus is the Son of God The faithful acknowledge Obama is the son of Frank Marshall Davis
Heaven / The New Jerusalem (no corresponding concept)
The Scroll that only the Lamb of God was worthy to unroll The Reed Hayes Report
144,000 The number of birthers
The three plagues that killed 1/3 of mankind ObamaCare, ObamaCare and ObamaCare
The Rider on the White Horse Joe Arpaio
The Last Judgment Alabama Supreme Court decision in McInnish TBA

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28 Responses to Birther eschatology

  1. avatar
    Benji Franklin March 31, 2014 at 12:50 am #

    Karl Gall Oops!:” Listeners, we have got a bombshell program segment for you right now! The big Universe-shattering reveal that will end Obama’s Presidency is just minutes away and our criminal forgery expert and eye-witness just entered the studio and is ready to share this NEW TURRRRRRN of the investigation with all of you out there who thought this day would never come! I’m hearing it with you for the first time now, and for security reasons, until the trial and executions of traitors begins, he has a black bag over his head and will speak through a voice-camouflaging device.

    “Now I can tell you this, our guest IS a law enforcement officer and a degree’d and licensed expert in fraudulent document identification AND President-on-Citizen homicide! Also major major MAJOR MAJOR Media is IN THE HOUSE in the person of Share Odd Rundown from The Pest and E-vail. We’re keeping our promise! Gripe-Captain Mike Zoo Low ushered in our guest and is providing security out in the alley.

    “So without further ado, mystery accuser, what exactly is the Universe-shattering evidence that, well let’s go ahead and say it, WILL END Obama’s reign within the hour,- YOU HAVE the Pee Pee Summons microphone!”

    Hooded Form:”Without a shadow of doubt I have determined beyond question that the putative President forged his own birth certificate and committed murder with the forging pen, and what not. (pause) ….. on foreign soil (pause) …… uh…. and a smogging gut… wait … I’m trying to read….. NO, Sorry! That’s ‘a smoking GUN! Sorry.”

    Karl Gall Oops!:”WOW! WOW! UnbeLIEVABLE! I’m SPEECHLESS! Share Odd from The Pest and E-vail, we’ll let you interview our special guest in a moment, but a Listener just called in with a question RIGHT NOW!
    What’s your question for our bombshell accuser, Stella calling from McMinnville, TN ?”

    Stella :”Archie? Archie Beacon? I recognized your voice! You ain’t no ‘document expert… no cop and such! Come ONNNNNN!”

    Hooded Form:”Hey, Stella! How’s Tony and the twins?”

    Karl Gall Oops!:”Now wait a minute. Mike Zoo Low assures me this gentleman is degreed forgery expert and an officer of the…..”

    Stella:”Dogcatcher, Karl. He’s a dogcatcher. But not officially . Never even caught one actually.

    Hooded Form:”Well, I bet I could catch one, if I took a mind to.

    Stella:”You’re busted, Tony! And you ain’t got no degrees in anything . “
    Hooded Form:”Mom always said I was disgusting, to a degree. Can I still keep the forty dollars, Karl?”

    Karl Gall Oops! (after the sound of a screen door slamming):” Ah, Mike Zoo Low has rejoined us in studio!” (sound of a gunshot)

    Hooded Form (gasping):”I can’t breathe!”

    Karl Gall Oops!”Not a matter of concern. Today’s announcement, soon to be my next book, truly exonerates all Obama accusers! This is exciting! So Share Odd, what’s your newspaper’s headline tomorrow?”

    Share Odd Rundown from The Pest & E-vail:”Black Paper Outrage: President’s Criminal Ineligibility Confirmed by Murdered Whistleblowing Constitutional Expert “

    Karl Gall Oops!”Fantastic! WOW! And we end today’s show with a call back from Shereef Joe Our Pie Hole, who we asked to reassure our listeners that he’s not going to disassociate himself from this investigation of Obama, just for political expediency in running for Governor of Arid Zona! He’s the most patriotic and selfless conscientious peace officer in America, tell us Joe Our Pie Hole, can we count on you to stand with us as a Birther to the end?”

    Shereef Joe Our Pie Hole “ I tell you, I’m not just so sure what a so-called ‘Birther’ is! I can only say now that I will either run for governor, or have another piece of pie. Thank you.”

  2. avatar
    Thinker March 31, 2014 at 4:54 am #

    I think it looks like he’s the most powerful man in the world who has a lot of real stuff to worry about. He has no obligation to respond to every or any incompetent conspiracy kook who buys into nonsense sold by grifters, liars, and morons like Mike Zullo, Jerome Corsi, and Orly Taitz. If Sheriff Arpaio or anyone else believes the President of the United States has committed a crime, we have very detailed, specific laws and rules about how to proceed. Birthers have availed themselves of many, many opportunities to convince judges, prosecutors, and politicians that a crime has been committed, or that they have been aggrieved and are entitled to some sort of relief, and they have lost every single time because they are wrong. They have a further opportunity to express their displeasure at the ballot box. They have lost that battle also.

    I have read many comments from birthers where they state that their constitutional right to redress of grievances is being violated by a political and legal and system that has never granted what they have requested. In fact, there is no right to redress of grievances. There is a right to petition for redress of grievances. They have done that. Their petitions have been heard and denied.

    What birthers did wrong from the beginning was to focus on the legal system, which told them very early on that their issue was political, not legal. If birthers would have focused their efforts on getting members of Congress or a serious 2012 presidential candidate on their side, they might have been able to oust President Obama by cooking up a fake scandal around this nonsense. But they didn’t do that. They let lunatics like Orly Taitz become the face of the movement, guaranteeing that nobody serious would ever take it seriously.

    Any Day Now:
    The evidence they want is easy to produce. For some reason the guy who has it, who happens to be the most powerful man in the world, refuses to produce it.To me that makes him look guilty.

  3. avatar
    Keith March 31, 2014 at 6:17 am #

    I found an interesting discussion of rumor, false report, and propaganda in the newsletter of the Royal Bank of Canada, circa 1957!

    RBC Letter: March 1957 — Vol. 38, No. 3 — Rumour, False Report and Propaganda

  4. avatar
    alg March 31, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    “Modern evangelical Christians use the phrase ‘end times,’ and Birthers have been using the phrase ‘universe shattering’ of late.”

    Hmmmmm….does this mean that Zullo is the Birther Messiah? Given his most recent statement: “If You Don’t Hear it From Me, It Isn’t True.”, one might think so.

    ” I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

    For now, we are Waiting for Zullo.

  5. avatar
    JPotter March 31, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Another excellent, thoughtful piece, Doc. Having spent a chunk of my youth amongst holy rolling, fire-breathin’, pew-jumpin’ old-time, back-country pentecostals, I’m always fascinated by eschatology, particularly the populist, millennial variety. I collect media related to it. Pretty atrocious stuff.

    I had a vision of doom of my own over the weekend. It was night, and I was living in my parent’s house (my dreams are almost always set in my parents’ house). I woke up in the middle of the night (sneaky way for a dream to begin), to use the restroom. I turn on the light in the hall bath to discover that the toilet had been replaced by an atomic bomb. Just sitting there, calmly counting down, just like they always do in the movies. Y’know, sterotypical red LED clock.

    “Oh, man, someone really has it in for me this time.”

    I grabbed my son and ran down the road to hide in the local gas station. Dock and cover! Peeking back toward the house, I see the device rocket through the roof and into the sky. “What? Launching an airburst from ground zero? That’s not fair!”

    That was a bigger bang than the birfers have produced, but it didn’t even completely flatten the dream house, much less shatter the universe.

    The next night’s dream was also apocalyptic, and more birfer-relevant. Criminal figures funded a mafia-themed theater production. At the first dress rehearsal, the director and cast turned on the producers and financiers, gunned them all down, and made off with the cash, unleashing a night of mayhem, until rounded up and neutralized.

    I hope all those infected with birfer mind worms go quietly than the nuts in my dreams. If nothing else, get themselves moved on to a new distraction. Keeps’em busy.

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 31, 2014 at 10:10 am #

    This article has been updated with “Dr. Conspiracy’s Guide to Eschatology.”

    Off topic comments moved to the Open Thread.

  7. avatar
    bovril March 31, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    Heaven / The New Jerusalem

    I believe in Birfoon terms this is very much the mythic ’50’s TV show of “Leave it to Beaver”

    People knew “their place”,
    Commies were the enemy and to be shot/hung,
    “Gay” meant happy and no such people existed outside of the Ebil Media of Hollywood,
    Ethnic white Americans were the only folks on visible display (apart from the occasional Amos ‘n Andy caricature)
    Mom ‘n Apple Pie
    No LIEBERALS
    No Hippies
    100% employment , 100% of the time
    Wimmin knew their place was in the home and preferably in the kitchen
    Teenagers didn’t exist

  8. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG March 31, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    I know what happened! It was a typo! Zullo didn’t say the universe would be shattered. He said it would be Shatnered. So keep your eyes peeled for sudden reruns of T.J. Hooker!

  9. avatar
    Bonsall Obot March 31, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    I think the Magic Reset Button will do for Heaven/New Jerusalem for these kooks.

  10. avatar
    Dave March 31, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    I am not a Christian myself, so perhaps I don’t know what I’m talking about, but it is my impression that most Christians feel sorrowful, and certainly not joyful, at the prospect of the eternal damnation of sinners. In that regard, birthers are the opposite of Christians — their visions of the torment that will be visited on those who oppose them seem to be all they live for.

    I have quite a few relatives who are Seventh Day Adventist, from whom I know that Adventists do not believe in eternal damnation; they believe that sinners die a final death and that’s the end of them. This is hard to justify on Biblical grounds (though Adventists think otherwise) but I think it stems from their view that the destruction of sinners is necessary but tragic, and that God will be merciful and not vengeful.

  11. avatar
    The Magic M March 31, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    Dave: and that God will be merciful and not vengeful

    Makes sense. I’ve always thought there is little difference between allowing Satan to run Hell and entice people to sin, and being Satan himself. A vengeful God would certainly be nearly indistinguishable from Satan.

  12. avatar
    CarlOrcas March 31, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    This article has been updatedwith “Dr. Conspiracy’s Guide to Eschatology.”

    Great stuff! But I would make one suggestions for this one:

    The Lake of Fire Federal prison

    I’d suggest FEMA Camps. Federal prisons are already jammed and the camps are just sitting there waiting.

  13. avatar
    Arthur March 31, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    Dave: I am not a Christian myself, so perhaps I don’t know what I’m talking about, but it is my impression that most Christians feel sorrowful, and certainly not joyful, at the prospect of the eternal damnation of sinners.

    In my experience, fundamentalists and other types of religious extremists have an intense need to assert that they are right and everyone else, including other Christians, are wrong. It is common to hear fundamentalists speak gleefully about a time when they will be vindicated and those who disagree with them will be cast into everlasting fire. Like birthers, who use their so-called “love of the Constitution” to justify their hate and bigotry, religious extremists use “love of God” to justify their own intolerance.

  14. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 31, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    The vocal right-wing Christian nut jobs may be like that, but Evangelicals I know personally are really nice people.

    Arthur: It is common to hear fundamentalists speak gleefully about a time when they will be vindicated and those who disagree with them will be cast into everlasting fire.

  15. avatar
    Dave March 31, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    There is a universal problem that any group tends to get lumped, by people not in the group, with their noisiest nutjobs.

  16. avatar
    OllieOxenFree March 31, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    Doc,

    First, outstanding article.

    As to the “Heaven/ New Jerusalem” having, “no corresponding concept,” I am inclined to disagree.

    One of the most common memes among birthers is if just one congressman or”honest judge,” would stand up to, “the regime,” there would be a, “restoration of the Constitution,” and the United States would return to the “Once Great Republic of Our Founders.”

  17. avatar
    Keith March 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG:
    I know what happened! It was a typo! Zullo didn’t say the universe would be shattered. He said it would be Shatnered. So keep your eyes peeled for sudden reruns of T.J. Hooker!

    Where’s the microfilm, Mike?

  18. avatar
    Benji Franklin March 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: The vocal right-wing Christian nut jobs may be like that, but Evangelicals I know personally are really nice people.

    That’s been my experience too, Doc. I have the impression that the extremism is fueled by fundraising mega-churches and right-wing politicians trying to create and adopt one-issue voter support from people who would never consider voting for them otherwise.

  19. avatar
    The European March 31, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

    The Magic M: Makes sense. I’ve always thought there is little difference between allowing Satan to run Hell and entice people to sin, and being Satan himself. A vengeful God would certainly be nearly indistinguishable from Satan.

    I was still a boy when I found out that God´s features did not fit the reality of this world. So I became agnostic at the age of 14.

  20. avatar
    Suranis March 31, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    At the end of Dante’s Inferno, you are greeted by the scene of satan half frozen in ice, eternally raging, hateful, struggling to be free and basically totally impotent. Its shown through the poem that the people who land in hell do so pretty much by their own designs. The notion of the super powerful satan is largely a modern invention, and those who blame satan for sins are largely hose trying to shirk their own responsibility for their own actions.

    But you are right that a God that allows free will bears some of the responsibility for people acting wrongly. That’s one of the reasons God had himself whipped, spat on, tried in a corrupt court and nailed to a cross.

    Having studied a bit of Dante, I much prefer the imigery in Purgetorio. Inferno is pretty much a horror story that acts as a prelude to the other books.

    The Magic M: Makes sense. I’ve always thought there is little difference between allowing Satan to run Hell and entice people to sin, and being Satan himself. A vengeful God would certainly be nearly indistinguishable from Satan.

  21. avatar
    Craig HS March 31, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

    (no corresponding concept) = all three houses controlled by the Tea Party, with education, the military, health care, SAVED from those evil socialists!

    I give it about 5 seconds before the divisions open up and heaven turns into hell.

  22. avatar
    Joey March 31, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    “Heaven/New Jerusalem” for Birthers is Barack Obama is in Terry Lakin’s old cell at Ft. Leavenworth and a Republican majority in both Houses of Congress has appointed Sarah Palin as President and Congressman Trey Gowdy is Vice President.

  23. avatar
    sef March 31, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    Craig HS:
    (no corresponding concept) = all three houses controlled by the Tea Party, with education, the military, health care, SAVED from those evil socialists!

    I give it about 5 seconds before the divisions open up and heaven turns into hell.

    That giant sucking sound you hear is all of the U.S. intelligentsia emigrating to kiwi land.

  24. avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater March 31, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

    Joey: Congressman Trey Gowdy is Vice President.

    Oh is Trey the newest flavor of the month?

  25. avatar
    Publius March 31, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

    I think Heaven/ New Jerusalem for birthers is Obama removed from the Presidency for being ineligible, then tried for treason and at least sentenced to a long prison sentence. This, combined with all laws signed by Obama as President being declared null and void. And presumably, replacement of Obama by a birther-friendly President.

  26. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 31, 2014 at 11:52 pm #

    Gowdy used to be my representative when I lived in the 4th District. Back before there was a Tea Party the guy was half-way decent.

    Joey: Trey Gowdy is Vice President.

  27. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 1, 2014 at 12:00 am #

    I’m reading Joe McGinnis’s Palin Book. Truly scary.

    Joey: Sarah Palin as President

  28. avatar
    The Magic M April 1, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    The European: I was still a boy when I found out that God´s features did not fit the reality of this world. So I became agnostic at the age of 14.

    I still remember how I treated Jesus as a kind of imaginary friend when I was 16, but I never was into all the “divine” stuff, so I’ve pretty much always been agnostic. Took me a little longer to become actually critical of religion (i.e. lumping it in with the other non-scientific stuff like astrology).

    Publius: I think Heaven/ New Jerusalem for birthers is Obama removed from the Presidency for being ineligible, then tried for treason and at least sentenced to a long prison sentence.

    That wouldn’t even begin to satisfy them.
    They will still want all the “co-conspirators” (courts, Congress, military, …) to receive similar punishment.

    They will still believe the 60+ million Obama voters are Communists intent on destroying the country – if not this time, then the next time.

    I never quite understood how a mindset that ends up with approving of genocide would form and develop, but I think many wingnut communities in the US are a good example to study.