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End Times

- August 6, 2008

My friend Tom Sugrue has a good post pointing out how McCain’s “The One” ad seems to dog-whistle a Obama/Anti-Christ comparison to Christian conservatives. As Tom points out:

Premonitions of the End of Time might seem wacky to the Rustbelters, urban planners, Midwestern liberals, blogging history graduate students, and new neo-conservatives who make their way to this website. But to the fifty million people who purchased Hal Lindsay’s best-selling accounts of the last days, they are real. They are part of a disturbing but widespread political and theological vision of current events. McCain’s people know and understand this–and are playing on the hopes and fears of a group of voters whose turnout might well decide the election. It’s a strange, strange world out there, but it’s one that we have to understand.

Two points here. First, I don’t think this analysis of the ad is too far fetched since evangelicals are already making the Obama/End Times/Anti-Christ connection. Hal Lindsay recently claimed that Obama has “prepped” the world for the Anti-Christ.

Second, let me add political scientists to the list of people who need to pay attention to these matters. Theological mindsets are more important than are often realized. For example, Gary Jacobson found that in 2006 14 percent of respondents believed that George W. Bush was chosen by God to lead the U.S. in a war on terrorism and that another 15 percent believe that he might have been chosen by God.