Candidate Worship

Note: I originally wrote this October 22, 2008, concerning the two leading candidates for the previous presidential election. A certain amount of this applies to the current presidential election. One key difference is that we now have a four year presidential record for Obama, and some very disturbing laws/executive orders he's passed confirming many of our worst fears. Think legalizing late term abortions within days of taking office, NDAA, drones, CISPA, nonsensical Federal raids on wholesome and local food producers and Gibson Guitars, ObamaCare and the infamous HHS birth control mandate which has taken aim specifically at the Catholic Church, and various dubious legislation essentially centralizing the power of the president and allowing him to do crazier things with much less accountability. Another key difference is that Obama's opponent in this election is a far more sinister character than McCain ever was, much further to the left on many issues than the “super evil must defeat at all costs” Democrat candidates of twenty years ago, deeply involved in some of the evil the Religious Right has long decried, supportive of much of the scarier legislation Obama has signed off on, and cruel. I don't see Romney being “worshiped” to the point that McCain and Palin were four years ago. However, he is being viewed with barely concealed shrill panic as the stopgap measure against total descent into dark tyranny that a second Obama victory represents, and people are eager to choke him down. In that sense, the dynamics are even more pronounced in 2012 than they were in 2008, with much more dreadful consequences down the road.

Today I caught a bit of the Glenn Beck(1) radio show and he played one of apparently many over-the-top pro-Obama adds(2). This particular one had people in the background singing the popular Christian chorus “Sanctuary(3)” with a prominent quasi-traditional drum beat, and on the screen (Beck was reading that part out loud) were words saying things like: “Take a few moments each day to… visualize Obama winning the election, visualize Obama taking the oath of office, visualize your heart filling with hope as Obama gets inaugurated…” There were also adoring voices in the background repeating “President Barack Obama!” This whole “Annointed One” theme is getting to be creepy.

So Obama worship is way obvious and over-the-top. But I’ve noted some McCain (or at least Palin) worship going on as well. It’s more subtle, but it’s there. A recent 20/20 program (no longer available) shows some snapshots of the worship afforded McCain and Obama.

Rulers as gods

So when did electing our president become an extended worship service? I first heard of it with the whole Greek columns theme of Obama’s convention speech. Then when Palin gave her convention speech, the entire crowd was electrified. I watched her speech and for a few moments I wanted nothing more than to vote for her (even if that meant I’d have to also vote for McCain). That didn’t last long for me–I just can’t get past McCain-Feingold no matter how I might feel about Palin.

The real question is why all this candidate worship. There was a time long ago when kings were considered gods and some notable Biblical heroes were cast into a fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to the king’s idol. When our country was founded, it was clear to the Founding Fathers that the president was definitely not a god. He was a citizen, a public servant, who was not above the law. He would serve for a brief period of time and when his term was over, he’d go back to his former occupation and blend back into the fabric of society.

With Bush having spent his two terms giving the presidency as many extra powers as he could get past a rather sleepy Congress (which by the way included both McCain and Obama), the next president will be more like a king than before. People are even starting to wonder if there will be elections in two years. OK, it’s people worried about Obama saying this, but I see it equally possible with McCain. Once a king, then I guess becoming a god isn’t too far out of reach, especially with adoring fans willing to bestow worship on you. But why would people want to have a king or a god rule over them?

Wanting an earthly messiah and savior

In the case of Obama, I think it’s pretty obvious. He appeals more to the young amoral and areligious of our society. Those would be the people raised in public school where you couldn’t pray or even have a school sanctioned moment of silence, where children learned the “Pledge of Allegiance” minus the “Under God” part, and where from kindergarten on they were indoctrinated with collectivist notions. Then they went on to college where in between their decadent partying they took classes from professors who went out of their way to impugn any respect for traditional religion they might have had left in their souls. So you have this large group of young people with no moral compass, no allegiance to God and with a huge void in their hearts and souls. We humans have a part inside of us that longs to worship, and when we aren’t able to direct that worship to the One True God, we find something–or someone–else. For many people right now, that’s Barack Obama.

The problem with Barack Obama for the other half of society, the half that still has values, still believes in God and still has some vague notion of what the Constitution is, is that he is a socialist, consorts with terrorists and other extremists, has a history of fraud with ACORN, is extremely pro-abortion, and to top it all off, may not even be elligible to run for President (not that I’ve heard much discussion of that last point). In short, he’s scary. When you listen to what he wants to do–redistribute the wealth of people like the now famous Joe the Plumber, curtail free speech and make gun ownership illegal, to give just a few examples–and you couple that with all the extra powers he’ll have as president thanks to Bush (not that I hear a word on that either from the so-called Conservative voices), it’s no wonder he has people terrified over what’s going to happen to the country should Obama win this election.

If the Obama supporters are looking for a Messiah, the McCain supporters are looking for a Savior. There is essentially one overriding reason to vote for McCain, and that is to save the country from Obama. Because McCain is the only candidate considered to have the chance to defeat Obama, his many faults must be overlooked because whatever McCain might do to further wreck the country, Obama will do so much more damage, and therefore he must be stopped at all costs, even the cost of principle. The insane hope placed in McCain is made more palatable by the presence of Sarah Palin–after all, she’s someone conservatives find they can get excited about–but it’s insane and it’s misplaced nonetheless.

The problem with voting for the lesser of two evils, worship and adoration aside, is that you are still voting for evil. Just because evil is the only thing that has a chance to win is no reason to choose it. If I got a dollar for everyone who says McCain and Obama are the only viable candidates I could singlehandedly finance a truly viable third party campaign. This election let’s remember who our Real Savior is and vote our conscience.


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