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What is Barack Obama’s religion?

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

“Stoning homos” is not still the law

 

Our much discussed Pastor James David Manning put the sign above in front of his Harlem church. As one Christian to another, I reprove Pastor Manning for his error.

The history of the early church is told in the in the Bible’s Book of “The Acts of the Apostles,” believed to have been authored by St. Luke as a “part 2” of the “Gospel of Luke.” The book talks about the introduction of non-Jewish members into the Christian community and deals with the question of whether one had to be Jewish and follow the laws in the Hebrew scriptures in order to be a Christian. The debate is recounted in the 15th Chapter of Acts. Here is part of the conclusion:

For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell."
(ESV) Act 15:28-29

Now while sexual immorality (whatever that means) is prohibited, the rest of the burden of the Law of Moses, including any requirements for stoning anyone, were no longer binding on non-Jewish Christians.

It is rather ironic that Manning cites John’s Gospel, Chapter 81, on his sign because in that text Jesus intervenes to stop a stoning:

Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such [adulterous] women. So what do you say?" …  And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."
(ESV) Jn 8:5-11

The self-righteous folks even tried to stone Jesus:

The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?"
(ESV) Jn 10:31-32

In this season of Lent, let us strive to forgive the wayward ones like Pastor Manning.


1The oldest manuscripts of John’s Gospel do not contain this particular text. It is believed that it was part of a separate tradition, later added.

MCSO Cold Case Posse Prayer Support Group

imageWhen I followed the link to the MCSO Cold Case Posse Prayer Support Group Facebook page, my punking antenna was up; however, this seems to be a straight-up page supporting the Cold Case Posse. The group’s founder says:

This page is dedicated to covering the MCSO Cold Case Posse in prayer for the Lord’s wisdom and safety over these people. Join us today as the day nears when this criminal investigation will finally expose the fraudulent usurpation of the office of President of the United States. We will be posting articles and updates here on a continuous basis. If you are a man or woman of prayer please join us, especially now as the day approaches.

I have Mike Zullo on my personal prayer list, which means I have to be nicer to him in print than I might otherwise be inclined to be, and I can subscribe to part of that mission statement: wisdom and safety. I do not however, acknowledge that any day is nearing when Obama will be “exposed” for something he didn’t do. The only danger to the Cold Case Posse is the just consequences of their own actions. I can pray for justice tempered with mercy, but not that the Posse’s misdeeds go without recognition and sanction.

So far I have refrained from commenting on the Facebook page because I can’t think of anything to say that wouldn’t go towards confirming the prejudices against anti-birthers that many in the birther community hold. If it devolves into hate speech, I’ll reconsider.

I’ve been thinking about writing an essay titled “The Conservative attack on Christianity.” If I do, it will be published on one of my other blogs, perhaps Jesus was a Liberal, and I’ll leave a note in the Open Thread here. There is no shortage of precedent in the Bible for prayer to end oppression,1 and these birthers, fanned by the right-wing media, earnestly believe that Obama is an oppressor as well as a usurper, but the virulent hate speech we see coming from those attaching the President is inimical to Christian principles.


1Why do you hide your face?
Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?

–Psalms 44:24 (ESV)

There are many “antichrists”

There seems to be some controversy about whether talk show host, preacher and birther Cold Case Posse booster Carl Gallups has identified Barack Obama as “the antichrist.” He claims not, but leaves the door open according to the article “Is Obama the anti-Christ? It’s irresponsible not to speculate, birther pastor says” at Raw Story by Travis Gettys.

… Gallups insisted during an appearance Monday on the nationally syndicated Dr. Laurie Roth Show that he had never claimed that Obama was the anti-Christ.

“I’ll tell you what Obama is,” Gallups told Roth. “He is an anti-Christ, he is a depiction of some of the characteristics of the anti-Christ who is to come. It could be in the future that we’ll discover he fits all of them, or it could be someone else. But I’m telling you there are many characteristics that he displays.”


“Christ and Antichrist” by Ilya Glazunov1

The popular notion of the antichrist comes from fictional works like the Left Behind™ series of books and it’s thought by many that the antichrist is described in the last book of the Bible, Revelation. (The Wikipedia has a nice article on the antichrist if you want to understand how the specific texts preceding lead to what is commonly thought of as the antichrist today.) In truth, the word “antichrist” never appears in Revelation, but rather in two short letters in the Bible, attributed to someone named “John.” In that context, “antichrist” is a descriptive term, not a particular individual.

18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.  … 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.

1 John 2 (ESV)

Identifying Obama as an antichrist by the Biblical definition is problematic since it is based on public proclamation, i. e., “confession.” Here’s what Obama said in public:

This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this ‘Amazing Grace’ calls me to reflect. And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short.  It calls me to praise God for the gift of our son — his Son and our Savior.

Continue Reading →

Revelation

This article is inspired by an exchange I had at Obama Release Your Records. It went like this:

Guest: GOD told me Kevin is going to hell. I can’t wait till Kevin calls GOD a liar.

Dr. Conspiracy: God is not [a] liar, but apparently you’re off your meds again.

Guest: Then your (sic) going to Hell. Your GOD is Obama, the son of Satan. Obama the community organizer, trained by Saul Alinsky who dedicated1 his book "Rules for Radicals’ (sic) to Lucifer.

Yes Kevin, you are known for the company you keep. Take a good look around you and you’ll see the flames of hell.2

GOD told me that is where you are going. For eternity.

Dr. Conspiracy: Call the psychiatric hot line, quick.

Our Pastor preached the sermon today with a Bluetooth headset in his ear, and partway through he said “I have to take this,” and touched the headset and then related his end of the phone call from Jesus. Since he had the headset on, this was obviously planned, and it was done to illustrate a point, not to make anyone think that God endorses T-Mobile. By the same token, I just assumed that “Guest” was saying what he said for effect, not because he was actually having the auditory hallucinations that would justify my “off your meds” response.

I assumed we were both kidding, but I suppose he could have been serious. Some of the birthers are a little strange.

The Mormons believe that any of the Mormon priesthood (and that’s pretty much every adult male in good standing with the Church) may receive revelations from God; however, they believe that the revelations received are appropriate. An individual receives revelations about what he should do; the First President of the Council of Elders is the “prophet, seer and revelator” for the entire church. For example, when birther plaintiff Cody Judy claims to have received a revelation that he should be leading the Latter-day Saints,  that revelation was above his pay grade—it was not an “appropriate revelation.”

By the same token, birther beliefs in Constitutional interpretation are equally inappropriate when they say that judges in 200 lawsuits didn’t follow the law, and that legal scholars and historical authorities “don’t trump [their personal interpretation of] the Constitution.”

Whether of divine origin or ones own moral compass, a revelation, that “I’m right and you’re wrong” in the context of an argument that you’re losing on the facts and the evidence, is highly suspect.

I don’t get messages from God, but sometimes I have moments when the right thing to do becomes clear. What do to about the birthers is not that clear. So I just keep blogging and hope for a revelation.


1Just for the record, Rules for Radicals was dedicated to Jason Epstein, Cicely Nichols, Susan Rabiner, Georgia Harper and Irene. There is a quote about Lucifer, but it is not in the book’s dedication.

2I did have a vision of flames creeping up from the bottom of the TV screen below Jerry Falwell when he was hawking a book that said Bill Clinton murdered Vince Foster, but I think I had just dozed off (true story).

Obama antichrist web site down in wake of Newtown shooting

You may have heard of the Westboro Baptist Church near Topeka, Kansas, from their practice of anti-gay picketing at military and celebrity funerals. Their latest publicity stunt is picketing a vigil for the victims of the recent Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting. There are not many things that I can think of lower than exploiting someone’s grief.

In retaliation for this latest, the hacking group Anonymous has posted online the names, business information, addresses and phone numbers of the members of the Church (it’s a small group).

I won’t publish a link to the member list, but I will publish Anonymous’ list of web domains owned by the church:

  • westborobaptistchurch.com
  • beastobama.com
  • blogs.sparenot,com
  • godhatesfags.com
  • priestsrapeboys.com
  • jewskilledjesus.com
  • signmovies.com
  • godhatesthemedia.com
  • godhatesislam.com
  • godhatesamerica.com
  • godhatestheworld.com
  • americaisdoomed.com (not listed by Anonymous)

Obama antichrist signI checked several of them this afternoon and the sites were all not responding, although just a minute ago, BeastObama came up long enough for me to snag the screen shot at the right, although the site remains extremely slow or times out. This could be a distributed denial of service attack, or something more pedestrian.

The Obama antichrist conspiracy theory is somewhat different from the usual ones in that instead of a conspiracy of individuals who allegedly keep the truth about Obama hidden, this conspiracy involves supernatural powers as well. One of the proofs of this conspiracy is that, according to them, saying “Yes, we can” backwards sounds like “Thank you, Satan.” Check out the video.

Popular imagination about the identity of the antichrist, or the “beast” mentioned in the New Testament book of Revelation has persisted since John wrote it some time near the end of the first century CE. During the Protestant Reformation, the Pope was one target of such speculation.