Friday, August 08, 2008

McCain uses religion to undercut Obama

From Fred at slactivist (a Christian, by the way) comes two posts on the McCain campaign's calling Obama the Antichrist (the auteur and unsubtle):
There's not a second wasted here -- every image, gesture, note, word and allusion points in a single direction, everything in the film says a single thing: Barack Obama is the Antichrist. Yes, it's propaganda, but like the films of Eisenstein or Riefenstahl, it's also art -- unsubtly didactic, yet beautiful in its unity of purpose.

Tragically for Davis, however, it turns out that accusing your political rival of being the Antichrist is considered a bit over the line. Apparently according to conventional American political mores, the claim that your opponent is the ultimate personification of evil, the 10-horned beast of the Apocalypse, is regarded as sleazy gutter politics of the worst sort.
The reference there to "the language [Obama] uses" reinforces what Maud Newton said about Obama's assets being used against him. LaHaye is talking about what we have repeatedly seen as a recurring, emphatic theme in Left Behind and throughout the entire premillennial dispensationalist sect: Those who seek peace and pursue it might be the Antichrist; those who speak of love, peace, unity and brotherhood might be the Antichrist.

So beware the peacemakers, recoil in horror from Middle East peace talks, fear the United Nations, wet the bed over nightmares of a One World Government and keep a terrified, watchful eye on anyone who suggests that international relations might consist of anything other than hot and cold war.

That's the message of Left Behind, and that's the message of John McCain's Left Behind ad.

And that message is getting through.
And from Steve Waldman at this post on a Eleison Group memo analyzing the Obama is The One ad.
The McCain campaign has responded to initial criticisms about their "THE ONE" ad by saying it was meant merely as a joke poking fun at Obama's strong support and Messiah-like imagery. But this was not some YouTube video put together in someone's basement. It was a professionally and carefully produced ad that had a much more sinister subtext that millions of Americans will pick up on. The makers of the ad chose all of Obama's quotes very carefully and the ad is rife with image after image equating Senator Obama to the anti-Christ, and especially to Nicolae Carpathia, the anti-Christ in the popular Left Behind series.

This is the use of religion at its very worst in politics because it is an attempt to subtly and perhaps even subconsciously play on some of the deepest fears of millions of evangelical Americans. From the title of the ad (that immediately reminds anyone familiar with the Left Behind series of the name of the false church set up by the anti-Christ) to the quotes (with no respect to context) and images that the McCain camp chose to use, which basically allude to every symbol of the anti-Christ possible short of flashing 666 on the screen, this ad is an attempt to stir up already circulating falsehoods about Obama and add more fuel to the fire.

The McCain campaign clearly believes that Democrats and the press will not be attuned enough with the people who bought over 70 million copies of Left Behind to realize what is happening. But as with apocalyptic writing that can seem just plain odd until one really studies them and understands the symbolism and contextual language of the time, there are numerous parts of this ad that make no sense in a high-budget presidential ad unless they are understood for what they really are: attempts to scare people with contextually bankrupt scriptural and Obama quotes and imagery tied together to send messages of fear that Obama is somehow the anti-christ.
It's very detailed; check it out. McCain's campaign has crossed some kind of line here. It's disgusting - and it's frightening.

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At 9:30 PM, August 09, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous had this to say...

This is one of the worst examples of using religion as a weapon in a campaign. Anyone doubting that this was intentional should check out this article in the WSJ where the authors of the Left Behind series agree that the ad has many parallels to their work:

And Time reveals that the ad was made by a close friend of Ralph Reed,8599,1830590,00.html

Anyone interested in reading the full memo released by the Eleison Group can find it here:


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