Jimmy was born in Texas, grew up nominally Protestant, but at age 20 experienced a profound conversion to Christ. Planning on becoming a Protestant pastor or seminary professor, he started an intensive study of the Bible. But the more he immersed himself in Scripture the more he found to support the Catholic faith. Eventually, he entered the Catholic Church. His conversion story, “A Triumph and a Tragedy,” is published in Surprised by Truth. Besides being an author, Jimmy is the Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to Catholic Answers Magazine, and a weekly guest on “Catholic Answers Live.”
There’s a meme going around certain quarters that Republicans are nuts because a massive number of them believe that President Obama may be the antichrist.
I first encountered this on the Drudge Report, which linked to the British paper the Daily Mail, which has a story headlined:
Here’s the entirety of what that article has to say on the antichrist subject:
Nearly a quarter of Republicans believe the Democrat president ‘may be the Antichrist’, according to a survey.
That’s it! No link to the original poll. No clue about how it was run. Nada!
A lot of other people are blogging it without linking it, to which I can only say, “Shame on you. Linking is an essential part of blogging. You’ve got to show people the source so they can make their own judgments. Blogging an inflammatory subject with no link is Just Plain Wrong.”
According to the Harris Interactive group, the poll . . .
. . . finds that 40% of adults believe he is a socialist. More than 30% think he wants to take away Americans’ right to own guns and that he is a Muslim. More than 25% believe he wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a world government, has done many things that are unconstitutional, that he resents America’s heritage, and that he does what Wall Street tells him to do.
More than 20% believe he was not born in the United States, that he is “the domestic enemy the U.S. Constitution speaks of,” that he is racist and anti-American, and that he “wants to use an economic collapse or terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers.” Fully 20% think he is “doing many of the things that Hitler did,” while 14% believe “he may be the anti-Christ” and 13% think “he wants the terrorists to win.”
Among Republicans, the numbers are different:
Majorities of Republicans believe that President Obama:
* Is a socialist (67%)
* Wants to take away Americans’ right to own guns (61%)
* Is a Muslim (57%)
* Wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a one world government (51%); and
* Has done many things that are unconstitutional (55%).
Also large numbers of Republicans also believe that President Obama:
* Resents America’s heritage (47%)
* Does what Wall Street and the bankers tell him to do (40%)
* Was not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president (45%)
* Is the “domestic enemy that the U.S. Constitution speaks of” (45%)
* Is a racist (42%)
* Want to use an economic collapse or terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers (41%)
* Is doing many of the things that Hitler did (38%).
Even more remarkable perhaps, fully 24% of Republicans believe that “he may be the Anti-Christ” and 22% believe “he wants the terrorists to win.”
While few Democrats believe any of these things, the proportions of Independents who do so are close to the national averages.
What the press release doesn’t tell you, but what is in the poll summary table, is that a surprisingly number of Democrats believe similar things. They proportions are smaller than the above numbers, but significant number of Democrats believe that President Obama:
* Is a socialist (14%)
* Wants to take away Americans’ right to own guns (17%)
* Is a Muslim (15%)
* Wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a one world government (12%).
* Has done many things that are unconstitutional (9%).
* Resents America’s heritage (12%)
* Does what Wall Street and the bankers tell him to do (15%)
* Was not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president (8%)
* Is the “domestic enemy that the U.S. Constitution speaks of” (8%)
* Is a racist (7%)
* Want to use an economic collapse or terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers (8%)
* Is doing many of the things that Hitler did (6%).
* May be the Anti-Christ (6%).
* Wants the terrorists to win (5%).
The Republican party, of course, has a large Evangelical component that is interested in the end-times, inclined to think we are living in them, and thus on the lookout to scope out current political figures with an eye to whether they might be the antichrist. That’s just going to happen to some degree. (Note also: It says “may be” the antichrist, not “is”). It’s like back in the ‘80s when some were suggesting that Ronald Wilson Reagan was the antichrist because he had six letters in each of his three names.
The more surprising number—if any of these numbers were real (more on that in a moment)—is how many Democrats think Obama might be the antichrist. If six percent of your own party think you may be the antichrist, that’s potentially newsworthy.
Rather than the nutty/scary/evil Republican meme, the more newsworthy headline based on these numbers would be something like,
“More Than 1 in 20 Democrats Think Obama May Be Antichrist (And Compare Him To Hitler)”
But are these numbers even real?
The poll was an online one that apparently used leading questions. (It wasn’t the completely unscientific kind of online poll, but it used methodology that is at least questionable.)
So at bottom what it looks like we have is an iffy, leading poll being used to feed the meme of “conservatives have Obama Derangement Syndrome.” (As if we hadn’t just suffered through eight years of Bush Derangement Syndrome.)
When this kind of thing happens, and particularly when it involves religious matters (like who might or might not be the antichrist), it’s important to have a response.
So I wanted to give you the scoop on the poll (including a link! I had to search hard to find that!) and some perspective in case someone throws this your way (and they may; it was on Drudge, after all).
As a final bit of perspective, I’ll say this: Whatever his flaws may be and however profound they may be, President Obama does not fit the model presented in the Bible of the figure commonly referred to as “the antichrist.”
The book of Revelation presents the Beast from the sea (commonly identified with “the antichrist” that John’s epistles speak of, though they may not be the same) as a European monarch who literally demands worship and who puts Christians to death and whose name adds up to 666 in a common alphabetic/numbering system in use at the time. That fits Caesar Nero (right down to the name adding up to 666), but it does not fit President Obama.
Of course, there may well be a future fulfillment of the antichrist archetype (I expect that there will be)—and there is a great deal of liberty of interpretation here since the Church’s teaching in this area is very limited—but we shouldn’t feed the meme identifying President Obama as the antichrist.