|Westboro Baptist pickets|
At the recent inauguration, a few protestors carried signs that read "Antichrist Obama", "Fags Are Worthy Of Death" and "God H8s Fags," and stood on American and rainbow flags, according to a Washington Post report.
Parishioners in that godly establishment, who also picketed the burial ceremonies of the children murdered in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, have been outraged by Obama’s support of the gay community and, of course, his mention of gay rights in his inaugural address.
As a result, they evoked a hoary image of the antichrist from the more-vicious side of Christianity’s past.
|Image of the antichrist|
The antichrist idea arose from Bible. The word “antichrist” only appears in John I and II in the biblical epistles, but the concept is educed from other texts to refer to an evil creature who will battle with God. The good side wins, initiating a new era of people and love. Muslims also have an antichrist who will tussle with Jesus at the end of the world.
Basically, this is no different that Superman vs. Lex Luthor or Spiderman vs. the Green Goblin. Great heroes need equally great opposition. Otherwise, victory comes too easily. Professional wrestling follows the same credo: to build up the babyfaces, the heels have to been equally powerful or worse. Both religion and professional wrestling share that trait and create myths at the same rate.
That’s never truer than with the antichrist. That mythological creature has moved far beyond the devil.
Since Jesus was seen as god incarnate with human characteristics, the antichrist quickly morphed into a human with downright vicious qualities. It was just a question of identifying him.
Christians have had a field day with that opportunity. Most everyone of any prominence has been labeled the antichrist in the past 20 centuries, including American presidents, popes, other world leaders and more. Amazingly, I was also called the antichrist during a call-in radio show about religious history . In that case, the label is factually correct – to a point – since I reject the idea of a messiah. On the other hand, I don’t have any power or ability to confront a deity.
To “identify” that person, Christians have resorted to mathematical gymnastics. For example, Benito Mussolini, the Fascist dictator of Italy from the 1920s through the 1940s, earned that label because his title, “Duce,” can be written in Greek and assigned numbers for each letter. The result is 666, the mark of the devil, according to the biblical Book of Revelation.
Numerology also turned the pope’s title “Vicar of Christ” into 666, too. That’s true for President Franklin Roosevelt’s name as well as Bill Clinton’s. Bizarre religious guru Aleister Crowley took the number “666” as a nickname and was also called “the Beast.” When John F. Kennedy won the 1960 Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1960, he received 666 votes. The coincidence was enough for some people to label him the antichrist.
Others noted the Ronald Wilson Reagan has six letters in each of his name. When his term ended, he and Nancy moved to 666 St. Cloud Road. What more proof did anyone need of his antichrist status?
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, earned the distinction simply because he’s so wealthy. Mikhail Gorbachev, head of the atheistic Soviet Union, was called the antichrist before he dismantled the country. The problem was that he wanted peace, and to antichrist fanatics, the peace symbol is really an “inverted, broken Christian cross” meant to signal the end of the religion. Gorbachev’s birthmark on his forehead completed the picture.
Of course, there were the old standbys German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, Communist head Joseph Stalin and Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. Obama? He joined the list because the day after his election, the daily pick-three lottery number in his home state of Illinois was 6-6-6.
See? The proof is so obvious.
Not that the godly members of the Westboro Baptist Church need such evidence. Obama’s fair-minded effort to have all Americans treated equally is enough to outrage them. In their fantasy world, everyone else is the antichrist.
Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history. He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida. You can reach him at www.williamplazarus.net. He is the author of the famed Unauthorized Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion. His books are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers. He can also be followed on Twitter.
You can enroll in his on-line class, Comparative Religion for Dummies, at http://www.udemy.com/comparative-religion-for-dummies/?promote=1