The cult of Obama is back. A big-selling (but non-official) calendar at the Democratic National Convention includes this photo of President Obama’s birth certificate, along with the title “Heaven Sent.” Then it applies John 3:16 as if it were referring to Barack Obama!
I’m not blaming the president for this. It’s just a stark example of how people with a religious void will sometimes turn to charismatic human beings to fill it. Consider the religious devotion–the shrines, the reliquaries, the pilgrimages, the raptures–that some people have for Elvis Presley. But to divinize a ruler is especially dangerous since the worshiper accepts the unlimited power and the immunity from moral limits in the adoration of this earthly god. Christians were persecuted in the early church precisely for refusing to burn incense to the divinized emperor. Don’t be surprised if that becomes an issue again. Cultures can’t stay godless for long, but the god they turn to, by nature, will tend to be a cultural god.