Sunday, June 8, 2008

Obama Worship and Obama's Silence

The Apostle Paul Worshiped and Refusing It (Acts 14)

Jesse Jackson Jr. is not an obscure New Age journalist from San Francisco. He is a United States Congressman from Illinois and the son of Jesse Jackson, a prominent figure in American politics for the last 30 years. As Harold reported in the previous post, Rep. Jackson said,
"The event itself [Barack Obama's nomination to be the Democratic party's presidential candidate] is so extraordinary that another chapter could be added to the Bible to chronicle its significance.”
(, in "Black Lawmakers Emotional About Obama's Success," reported this without comment in a serious of responses to the historic development.)

This is not an isolated statement. It has actually become quite common to describe the presumptive Democratic nominee in Messianic or at least semi-divine terms. See Jonah Goldberg's "Messiah in Our Midst" and his more thorough documenting of this in The National Review, as well as my post, "Obama Offers Civil Religion on Steroids." Re-read "Is Obama an Enlightened Being?," the article the provoked the previous post. He denies that he is doing a "superhero messiah" thing. And yet... "Many spiritually advanced people...identify Obama as a Lightworker." He can "help usher in a new way of being on the planet." He can even "help us evolve."

Ask yourself, "What would I do if people were saying these things about ME?" Surely you would caution them to sober up and adjust their expectations. (1) It's wrong. (2) As a professing Christian, he should redirect glory to God. (3) It's bad for the republic. (4) It's bad for him politically, as it establishes expectations he cannot possibly meet.

Notice what the Apostle Paul did when the people of Lystra, led by the priest of Zeus, started worshiping him after he healed a crippled man.

"When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, 'The gods have come down to us in human form!'...But when the apostles Barnabus and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 'Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you.'" (Acts 14:11-15)

But Obama has not uttered a word of that sort. I am curious to see what effect this talk eventually has on him, especially as it is coming (arguably) even from his wife. This is what happened to Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, when he let the praises of flattering crowds go to his head.
"On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, 'This is the voice of a god, not a man.' Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died." (Acts 12:21-23)

Not only has Obama not distanced himself from this sort of talk, the way he eventually did from Jeremiah Wright's outlandish rhetoric, he encourages it. He may even have initiated it. In his speech in St. Paul (ironically) marking his effective securing of the Democratic nomination, he promised the faithful that,

“generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs for the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Never mind the notion that we have never taken care of our sick, to say nothing of the sick all over the world, but will he really turn back the tides and "heal" the planet? Yes, we know what he means. He is going to introduce legislation to address global warming. But that's not how he puts it. William Kristol, in "A Campaign We Can Believe In?," notes that, "In his evocation of healing powers and dominion over the waters, Obama summons up echoes of the Gospels and Genesis." He presents his candidacy in millenarian and arguably messianic terms. It stirs up the crowds. It has secured the nomination. But it is dangerous and the mark of a demagogue of a sort most threatening to liberty.

To my knowledge, we have never seen anything like this in American politics. It is the sort of immoderate politics that leads to tyranny and horrific tragedy. There are limits to what can be accomplished through politics and in general through these flawed things we call human beings, even the best of them. When we reach for the Republic of Virtue ushered in by an Enlightened Being or a cadre of such extraordinary men, what we get is...the Terror.

Obama has many questions to answer between now and November. His silence in the face of this political veneration, if not worship, raises one of the most important ones. This may put the Constitution and the character of the American people to an historic test.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

excellent post, my friend. You illucidate many points that crossed my mind as I put up the previous post, especially the idea that Obama should have put this kind of Messiah talk down from the start, but has not. That says a lot, does it not?