March 10, 2008

Antichrist Superstar

Nicholas D. Kristof published an op-ed in yesterday's New York Times that insinuates that preferring another candidate to Barack Obama is a sign of bigotry.


...the most monstrous bigotry in this election isn't about either race or sex. It's about religion.

The whispering campaigns allege that Mr. Obama is a secret Muslim planning to impose Islamic law on the country. Incredibly, he is even accused — in earnest! — of being the Antichrist.

Proponents of this theory offer detailed theological explanations for why he is the Antichrist, and the proof is that he claims to be Christian — after all, the Antichrist would say that, wouldn't he? The rumors circulate enough that Glenn Beck of CNN asked the Rev. John Hagee, a conservative evangelical, what the odds are that Mr. Obama is the Antichrist.

I'm quite certain that there are some earnest, deluded souls out there that think Obama is indeed the Antichrist, but of course, there are people of questionable intelligence out there that feel the same way about George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, and even John McCain.

I must have missed Kristof's editorials excoriating these fringe theologists, but he certainly wouldn't single out those that would vote against his preferred candidate to the exclusion of others, would he?

But the "Antichrist" charge isn't at the heart of Kristof's argument, of course. This is:

These charges are fanatical, America's own equivalent of the vicious accusations about Jews that circulate in some Muslim countries. They are less a swipe at one candidate than a calumny against an entire religion. They underscore that for many bigoted Americans in the 21st century, calling someone a Muslim is still a slur.


Let's set aside for a moment the fact that Barack Obama is not now a Muslim—and never has been—to examine Kristof's basic grasp of reality.

He states, "These charges are fanatical, America's own equivalent of the vicious accusations about Jews that circulate in some Muslim countries."

"Equivalent?" Really?

Perhaps being at the New York Times he gets a different perspective than most Americans do, but I've somehow missed the Sesame Street demonization of Muslims in American children's television, where an Amerrican Martyr-Me Elmo tells U.S. toddlers their duty is to kill those of the Islamic faith. Such programming exists in the Middle East, targeting Jews in general and Israeli Jews in particular, along with America. Should I being paying more attention to what my daughter is watching, or are Bob the Bomber ("Can we kill them? Yes we can!") and Dora the Exploder only constructs of his fevered imagination?

We have not seen calls from mainstream American Christian or political leaders to bomb Muslims communities within our nation, nor have we seen mass celebrations in the streets resulting from the murder of innocent Islamic school children when terrorists target them. Or perhaps when an al Qaeda terrorist blows up a market in Baghdad there are parades in Times Square, and the Times simply doesn't see such demonstrations as newsworthy. Somehow I find that unlikely, even for the naked, one-sided advocacy journalism now so common at the Times.

It is a fact that in many Muslim cultures Jews are the target of a blind and irrational hatred, and their popular culture is primed, from birth to death, for xenocide. Somehow, we simply don't see "America's own equivalent," hatred against Muslims outside the editorial bullpen.

Kristof's argument is disingenuous and dishonest, but that doesn't keep him from then equating this false construct to the very real racial bigotry that all of us hope remains confined to America's past. As Kristof's own research shows, "A 2007 Gallup poll found that 94 percent of Americans said they would vote for a black candidate." Hopefully we are beyond a candidate's race being a significant factor in American politics.

It is baffling that Kristof seems to need to stoke fears of another kind of bigotry in order to support his choice of presidential candidates, but that appears to be precisely his motivation.

Perhaps by keeping this demonstrably false claim alive he hopes to distract Americans from focusing on Obama's many real shortcomings, including his record as being the most liberal Senator in the United States, that he does not recognize the right of self-defense and advocates banning entire classes of common firearms, that he would raise federal government spending by $287 billion a year (more than any other candidate), and that even his own campaign acknowledges he is not ready to lead.

Nicholas D. Kristof would rather accuses Americans of being bigots and put them on the defensive than have them examine the radical doctrinaire liberalism of his preferred candidate.

Kristof hasn't told us anything about ourselves, but he has exposed a lot about how he would shape the views of his fellow Americans.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 10, 2008 10:15 AM

People have been accusing presidential candidates of being the anti-Christ since Jefferson ran against Adams in 1796.

Lincoln was called an atheist, as was Wm. Howard Taft (a Unitarian). I was once told in 1980 that Ronald Wilson Reagan might be the anti-Christ because there are six letters in each of his names: "666." These guys were all Republicans!

The NYT writer appears "shocked, shocked" that this happening to Obama. Apparently he hasn't read enough diatribes from past centuries.

Posted by: Tertium Quid at March 10, 2008 10:42 AM

Kristof just hopes that the old race card can be converted into a religion card. So by accusing people opposed to a lightweight lefty like Barrack Hussein Obama of bigotry, maybe some number will vote for him to assuage their conscience/prove that they are not bigots.

For me, even if his failed ideology, sesame street foreign policy, and cheap emotionalism weren't enough, his muslim past during a war with Islam is more than sufficient to vote against him.

Posted by: iconoclast at March 10, 2008 11:21 AM

Of course we are all bigoted in one way or another. I don't care about race or gender when it comes to the presidency, but I do care about character and associations. Yes, I admit it, I am bigoted about Barack "Middle Name that Cannot Be Mentioned" Obama. I'm bigoted because he is a lightweight, because his politics are way way out there, because he is so totally naive about national security, not to mention the economy. But most of all I'm bigoted because he is a Democrat and I've never been one to suffer fools gladly.

Posted by: Sara at March 10, 2008 11:53 AM

I agree that it is inappropriate to falsely claim that Obama is a Muslim, although I don’t believe that being a Muslim in and of itself should be anything about which someone should be ashamed. I do think, however, it is important for America to better understand the kind of “Christianity” which has so fascinated Obama for the last 20 years. Obama claims to belong to a Christian Church called Trinity United Church. He considers the just-retired pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to be his “mentor and spiritual advisor.” According to the church’s website, their members are “unashamedly Black and unashamedly Christian,” and swear allegiance to the mother continent, Africa. Obama’s church gave the racist and Jew-hating Louis Farrakhan a “lifetime achievement award” last November. Rev. Wright teaches Black Theology, and thinks about everything pretty much in terms of black versus white. He called 9/11, for example, a “wake-up call to white people.” Commenting on the recent murder of Natalie Holloway, he decried the press coverage by stating that “one 18—year-old white girl from Alabama gets drunk on a graduation trip to Aruba, goes off and gives it up while in a foreign country, and that stays in the news for months.” Rev. Wright likes to throw around the name of James Cone a lot when it comes to his theology. James Cone is another proponent of Black Theology. Here are just a couple of James Cone's quotes: (1) "To be Christian is to be one of those whom God has chosen. God has chosen black people." [Black Theology and Black Power, pp. 139-140]. (2) "While it is true that blacks do hate whites, black hatred is not racism." [Black Theology and Black Power, p. 15] (3) "All white men are responsible for white oppression." [Black Theology and Black Power, p. 24] (4) "Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man "the devil." [Black Theology and Black Power, p. 40] (5) "If there is any contemporary meaning of the Antichrist, the white church seems to be a manifestation of it." [Black Theology and Black Power, p. 73] **** Need I go on? These are the kinds of concepts that Obama has been soaking up for 20 years. The focal concern or center of black theology is the white oppression of blacks. Therefore, the usual theological discussions about God, Christ, and salvation are much less relevant. Although I respect anyone’s right to belong to any religion they wish, this does not sound like a positive form of "Christianity" for any of those who are not members of the "chosen people." And, maybe Obama needs to be a little more candid about the brand of "Christianity" to which he adheres.

Posted by: Fred at March 10, 2008 12:44 PM

"Incredibly, he is even accused — in earnest! — of being the Antichrist."

Kristof's comment may be due, in large part, to a satirical comment made on Glenn Beck's show recently. In fact, Beck said the liberal press would take his words out of context -- even though listening to the segment the satire was abundantly obvious.

Posted by: DP at March 10, 2008 12:56 PM

Quick question.

Obama is ranked as the most liberal Senator in the US according to your little link. Clinton is notched as the 16th most liberal. However, since Obama was elected, only 10 votes separate their voting records.

Now, I'm not calling into question the National Journal's evaluation criteria, however what on earth the National Journal is using for its evaluation criteria?

What's more, how did Barack Obama score higher - in his single term in office - than Edward Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, and John Kerry with their collective century-long terms in the Senate?

One more thing. Before you get all breathless about raising federal spending by $287 billion / year (or 1148 Bridges to Nowhere or 33% of the annual Medicare Plan D Bill or roughly 29 IraqMonths), keep in mind how a good, conservative, Republican President busted the national debt by an extra $4 trillion dollars. I'm not saying Obama would, in any way, piss away money like the current CiC. Only that fiscal responsibility hasn't been a major Republican concern in over 7 years. Kinda late to jump back on that bandwagon now.

Posted by: Zifnab at March 10, 2008 04:42 PM

True however, we are talking about a candidate now not the outgoing President and the Messiah (pbuh) will bust the budget even more where as another candidate MCcain has promised he will veto any bill with earmarks in it and he has a long record to back up that pledge.

Posted by: Oldcrow at March 10, 2008 08:41 PM

Kristoff wrote, as I recall before the 2004 election,that he supported democrats because, as he put it "I want to be read". Like all members of the press he does want to be read, for career security. This piece seems to me all about his "I want to be read" position. It is geared to New York Liberals, the last remaining faithful readers of the Times, and is perhaps premised on the hope Obama will win,thus giving him an ass kissing leg up. If Obama is elected and turns out to be useless, so he, Kristoff, is no longer "read" as much, he will write about something else that is in vogue with who ever is reading the remains of his rag. The Times is approaching the status of the Enquirer anyway, hence the use of terms like antichrist, a term also geared to incite contempt in his secular readers, even if he found it used somewhere in a legitimate quote.


Posted by: mytralman at March 10, 2008 09:02 PM

"... where as another candidate MCcain has promised he will veto any bill with earmarks in it and he has a long record to back up that pledge."

If by "a long record" you mean "a long voting record", I'm sorry to say that McCain's voting history doesn't back that statement up at all.

Barack isn't taking campaign contributions from PACs or lobbyists. McCain's campaign is run by PACs and lobbyists. The idea that McCain is going to "clean up government" better than Barack is simply laughable.

Posted by: Zifnab at March 11, 2008 10:00 AM

Matthew 24 is the seminal chapter in the Bible when speaking of the signs of the coming Apocalypse which it terms the Great Tribulation. And in verse 5, when asked what these signs would be, the Messiah put this at the top of his list:

“Take heed that no man deceive you.

For many shall come in my name saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

23 Then if any man say unto you, Lo here is Christ, or there, believe it not.

24 For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

Posted by: J Meeks at March 13, 2008 11:04 AM