Obama and the Apocalypse

Inexplicably, Newsweek has decided to run a short article on those who think Obama is the antichrist (HT: Steve Benen). Here's a taste:

After years of tribulationnatural disasters, other cataclysms (such as the collapse of financial markets)God's armies will vanquish armies led by the Antichrist himself. He will be a sweet-talking world leader who gathers governments and economies under his command to further his own evil agenda. In this world view, "the spread of secular progressive ideas is a prelude to the enslavement of mankind," explains Richard Landes, former director of the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University.No wonder, then, that Obama triggers such fear in the hearts of America's millennialist Christians. Mat Staver, dean of Liberty University's law school, says he does not believe Obama is the Antichrist, but he can see how others might. Obama's own use of religious rhetoric belies his liberal positions on abortion and traditional marriage, Staver says, positions that "religious conservatives believe will threaten their freedom." The people who believe Obama is the Antichrist are perhaps jumping to conclusions, but they're not nuts: "They are expressing a concern and a fear that is widely shared," Staver says.

I sure am glad I don't belong to one of those fringe churches that thinks Obama's election is a sign of the end-times. I mean, even if they disagree with his views on abortion, who in their right mind would think that Obama's election has anything to do with the apocalypse? Oops:

His Eminence James Francis Cardinal Stafford criticized President-elect Barack Obama as aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic, and said he campaigned on an extremist anti-life platform, Thursday night in Keane Auditorium during his lecture Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul.

For the past few evenings, I've been watching this documentary on Bush's torture policies. I highly recommend it. But as I watch it, I frequently think to myself that the rhetoric some bishops (and Cardinals) are preemptively unleashing against Obama on abortion would be easier for me to stomach if they had raised an outcry that was even remotely as emphatic about the officially sanctioned use of torture by the outgoing administration. You know, intrinsic evils and all that.

Eduardo M. Peñalver is the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Cornell Law School. The views expressed in the piece are his own, and should not be attributed to Cornell University or Cornell Law School.

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