On the Sunday before the presidential election, Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress used “Obama” and “Antichrist” in the same sentence.
I want you to hear me tonight, I am not saying that President Obama is the Antichrist, I am not saying that at all. One reason I know he’s not the Antichrist is the Antichrist is going to have much higher poll numbers when he comes. President Obama is not the Antichrist. But what I am saying is this: the course he is choosing to lead our nation is paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist.
Which prompted this rather pointed response from The American Conservative‘s Rod Dreher:
I am a conservative Christian who believes that Obama’s re-election is on balance a bad thing for American Christians, for a number of reasons. I see no reason why a pastor shouldn’t have given a sermon warning about the threats, as he saw them, of returning Obama to the White House. But invoking the Antichrist, and working the congregation up into thinking that this election was an apocalyptic choice (even if you non-credibly disavowed that this is what you were doing, e.g., I’m not saying that Obama is the Antichrist, but…)? Come on.
If I had been in that congregation and listened to that sermon, that would have been my signal to find another, more spiritually sober church. Apocalypticism is a narcotic among millions of American Christians, and it makes us drunk, ruining our political judgment and making us prone to say things in public that make ordinary people think Christians are crazy.
Come on, Church, be better than this. Again, I’m a conservative Christian who believes in traditional eschatological views on the End of Days, and who believes that this is an important topic of study and serious discussion among Christians. Just to make that clear. But the wildly disproportionate interest that popular American Christianity has with the End Times not only makes us look stupid, it also makes us actually stupid, insofar as it corrupts our prudential judgment with emotional hysteria.
You know, if Jeffress were a regular Christ and Pop Culture reader, he’d have known that we settled the Obama/Antichrist debate four years ago.