Jimmy Akin has great fun with some crank’s biblical “proof” that Obama is the Antichrist. 

Then, sadly, a bunch of Catholics embarrass themselves hoping and speculating in the comboxes that he is Antichrist anyway.  Some of the commentary runs:

Well Mr. Akin… it crushed me… but I know you are right… I saw the title and was hopeful… alas, I was wrong…
Good work, even if it isn’t what I wanted to hear!
Aw, darn it!  Mr. Video Maker really “tickled my ears,” until I read what Jimmy had to say.  Now I just feel silly!
Barack Obama is not THE Antichrist but AN Antichrist like all the other Antichrist’s that have existed throughout the ages.
Nah, but I personally believe he is a “forerunner” of the one who is yet to come (if the anti-christ is an actual person that is).
To be fair, he is the most evil, hateful politician of any party this country has ever seen.  Not quite as bad as Hitler and Stalin, but sometimes I wonder how close.
It’s all very interesting—this person’s claim and your rebuttal, but what I find disheartening is that there is nothing about President Obama that suggests calling him the Antichrist is absurd. He has spoken no words, performed no actions that could not come from the mouth of the Antichrist.
While I agree that this particular argument in this particular video doesn’t support Obama as the Anti-Christ, it doesn’t mean that he is not.  Nor that Obama isn’t the forerunner of the anti-christ.
I can certainly say that I would entertain the idea that Obama could be the anti-christ, or one of many anti-christs, or as Marty said “the forerunner of the anti-christ to come.”
I figure Rahm Emmanuel for the antichrist. He’s the personage behind the president. He coordinates what the presdint does, much like Karl Rove was the grand strategist for George Bush. Obama can’t function without his telepromopter, so someone’s writing it for him. Rahm Emmanuel is Jewish.   Even the name Emmanuel means something akin to “christ”. Too bad Rahm doesn’t mean “anti”, then you’d have your answer.  :-)
Clearly he wants to detroy the united states , but if he is the anty CHIST.

My comment:
The numerous comments expressing disappointment that Obama might not be the Antichrist, or hoping to find some other way to cling to the utterly ridiculous notion that he is, or firmly asserting that, even if he isn’t the Antichrist (which he still might be!  Hope Hope!) we can all agree that he is the most evil politician in American history, just short of Hitler and Stalin, is a sort of silly suburban cowardice that seems to have no real appreciation of what real martyrs who have suffered under real tyrants have gone through.  It is an insult to the memory of millions of suffering human beings around the world and down through time to watch this absurd combox thread unspool and serious comparison be made between this timid and tepid politician and Hitler(!) and/or Stalin(!!).  It’s every bit as ridiculous as the Bushitler rhetoric of the Left.  Get a grip, people.

When Obama orders you and your loved ones and millions upon millions of other Christians to be horsewhipped, machine-gunned, used for torches in his gardens, roasted on spits, gassed to death, flayed alive, drawn and quartered, or hung upside down and slowly lowered into vats of excrement to drown like the Japanese martyrs, then we can start talking about him as “the Antichrist”.  Till then, spare me the latest celebrations of the Feast of the ASCII Martyrs.  I hate having to write in defense of an Administration I think so little of.  But the fact is, there’s lots to oppose about this Administration without deploying the fevered nonsense of religious imaginations inflamed by too much Talk Radio.  Does he need to be opposed for much of his policy and rhetoric?  Of course!  His support for abortion, his nomination of Kagan, his enthusiasm for homosexual “pride”, his eagerness to drive us into world-historical levels of debt, his sleepy response to the oil spill, his Nobel Peace Prize Winning continuance of our disastrous foreign adventures are none of them anything I’m thrilled about.  And I realize people are speaking out of a deep sense of fear about the economy, the giganticism of government, the war, the growing hostility of our culture to the faith, etc.  That fear can sometimes lead us to say exaggerated things.

But that doesn’t mean that Catholics should embrace any crazy religio-political nonsense they happened to pick up on the web or the radio or FOX or abandon all semblance of charity or common sense when addressing Obama.  You and I have it great in this country.  Let’s not insult real martyrs by comparing a drop in our IRA portfolios with their agonies. When you do that, you stop thinking.  And when you stop thinking you start letting somebody else think for you.  So, for instance, last week I had readers springing to the defense of the cockamamie historical pronouncements of Glenn Beck with statements about how great a researcher he is in digging up the dirt on Obama.  One reader, darkly hinting that Obama is really a Muslim and greatly agitated by what appeared to be his bizarre theory that Obama was plotting to establish the Jihad on our soil wrote:

How about this quote from his book Audacity of Hope…“I will stand with the Muslims if the political winds shift in an ugly direction”. There is more, much more, but you just keep focusing on Glen Beck’s misguided take on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

There’s only one problem, Obama never said that. What he said was this:

Actual quote from “The Audacity of Hope” [pg. 261]: “Of course, not all my conversations in immigrant communities follow this easy pattern. In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific assurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

I pointed out that Obama was, in fact, addressing Arabs and Pakistani Americans, not Muslims, and that lots of Arab Americans are, in fact, fellow Catholics (just visit a Maronite Church).  I asked the guy about Obama’s actual quote, “This is a problem why?  Do think the Executive should not resist a mob call to intern an entire population of people based on their race or religion?”

What followed was a strenuous attempt on the part of the reader to not face the fact that Obama never said what the reader desperately wanted to persist in believing he said—as well as a perfect illustration of the “Ay-rabs are all a bunch of Muslim terrorists anyway” mentality that prompted Obama’s remarks.  You can read the whole wearying exchange yourself if you have the endurance. 

Finally, defeated by facts, the guy concluded, not with a concession that Obama never said what the reader claimed, but with the dark indicting words: “I’m truthfully starting to wonder about you as it relates to Obama’s cult.”

Cuz, you know, not crediting every cockamamie rumor about Obama in the teeth of easily documentable evidence to the contrary does make one an “Obama cultist” in some people’s worlds.

These are the words of somebody who has decided to let somebody else (in this case, his favorite Talk Radio pundits and websites) do his thinking for him.  He doesn’t care that his “quote” is documentably false.  He just cares that it’s useful for attacking his ideological enemy.  And so he uncritically accepts what his ideological tutors tell him.  They belong to the correct Tribe.  And anybody who questions them is vehemently suspect of belonging to the Wrong Tribe: the Tribe of Obama Cultists.

All this tendency to hope that a person is even worse than one thought is what C.S. Lewis is warning about when he writes (about Nazis, by the way, not about a mere schlickmeister like Obama)

Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything — God and our friends and ourselves included — as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.

That’s the first danger of that kind of thinking.  It can send you to Hell if you persist in it. 

The second danger is this: sin makes you stupid. That is, it “darkens the intellect” as the Church has always warned.  So when you adopt sinful methods to win in fights that really have merit to them, you wind up fighting stupid and often sabotaging your own cause, even when it is a just cause.

Here’s the thing.  I’m no fan of this administration.  In addition to the stuff noted above, I am also gravely concerned that Obama, following a trend of Imperial Presidencies in recent decades, has arrogated powers to himself (like the power to declare anyone on earth, citizen or foreigner, an enemy of the state and have them murdered without arrest, trial or evidence) which ought to scare the daylights out of Americans.

But here’s the funny thing.  Obama’s dramatic act of overreach here does not trouble the very people who tend to play around with all the “Obama is the Antichrist” nonsense—because they are frequently enthusiasts for the War on Terror, they are more likely than average Americans to support war crimes when it comes to that war, and they think such exercises of Executive Power keep them safe.  Now I have no problem with fighting radical Islamists who want to kill innocent people.  It seems to me to fulfil the “just cause” or ius ad bellum portion of Just War teaching.  However, the other part of Just War teaching, ius in bello tells us that just because you are at war does not mean that you can do anything, no matter how grossly immoral or stupid, in order to win.  A lot of Catholics don’t really get that, so we’ve heard a lot of nonsense about the rightness of torture or sweeping away the rule of law (as Obama has just swept it away), just to win the war on terror.  We pushed for it with Bush and now that Obama is going even further than Bush, many on the Right, following their ideological instructors in Right Wing Media, agree. So out of a tribal fealty to these ideological priorities, conservative Catholics, right in the middle of their crackpot “Antichrist” theorizing, simply overlook real instances of Obama’s extremely dangerous whittling at the Constitution while indulging crazy fantasy theories that he is also just about to start puking pea soup, butchering Christians by the millions, and proclaiming himself the God of the Universe in a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem.

That why I find this weird.  There are real dangers with this Administration.  The “ends justify the means” thinking that undergirds abortion now undergirds an executive mandate to commit murder without arrest, evidence or trial against anybody, foreigner or citizen, the Executive designates as an enemy of the State.  But many Catholics keep focusing on fantasy scenarios about Obama the Antichrist (which makes the Church look ridiculous) and ignoring those dangers that happen to be approved by some of the more zealous proponents of Salvation Through Leviathan by Any Means Necessary—because they are letting somebody else do their tribal thinking for them.  The problem is not that Obama is about to declare himself the God of the Universe.  It’s not that he’s just about to clap all Christians into concentration camps or inaugurate a vast campaign of slaughter and persecution against the Church.  (Indeed, the Obama Administration recently sided with Rome in protecting its immunity from one of the recent frenzied and silly attempts to haul the Pope into US Courts.)  It’s that he’s another American politician who is continuing a long trend of slowly whittling away at the Constitution. It’s that he’s paving the way for some future politician who will (no doubt in reaction to an emergency, either real or manufactured) start purging “elements” from American society deemed a threat to the regime.  But if we acknowledge *that* then we’d have to look at members of our own tribe who have likewise labored to pave that road to tyranny—and we don’t want to do that because it would threaten our tribal allegiances.  This leads to the supreme irony: that Obama’s own supporters are starting to get that Obama has seriously betrayed his office (and are experiencing buyer’s remorse):

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Respect My Authoritah
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Meanwhile, not a few of his conservative Christian critics, in their zeal to say anything and everything to attack him, forget completely the words of Scripture (“love does not rejoice in evil, but rejoices with the truth”)  and wind up saying any cockamamie thing that comes to hand, including the weird charges that he is, simultaneously, the Second Coming of Jimmy Carter the Incompetent and a diabolical fiend bent on Global Domination, the destruction of the United States, and the annihilation of the Church, a man who may well be a willing servant of Satan and a secret Jihadist and The Antichrist, all while ignoring the fact that back here on earth, he can be credibly charged with expanding on the dangerous legal policies of his predecessors and with really dangerous fiscal policies—all without being Rosemary’s Baby.  Such people need to take deep cleansing breaths and calm down.  Then they need to mount Antichrist/Hitler/Stalin-rhetoric free arguments rooted in reality and not in bizarre conspiracy theories that normal people tune out as the ravings of hysterics.  Lord knows there’s material for such critiques.