Fred Clark of The Slactivist recently put up a post about how evangelicals’ beliefs about the end times are influencing public policy, especially the belief that the UN is just a placeholder for the coming one world government that will be led by the Antichrist and will be dedicated to the extermination of Christians. To many, this may seem like a weird conspiracy theory. To me growing up, it was, well, normal.
Consider this from Fred’s post:
Agenda 21 has become a right-wing bogeyman based on the false claim that it constitutes some kind of threat to local or national sovereignty. That claim is due to it being an international effort through the United Nations, which is suspect because all good Christians who read the Bible and, you know, go to church and stuff, know that the U.N. is just biding its time until the Antichrist uses it to establish a tyrannical one-world government.
A couple of things sprang to mind immediately as I read this.
The time my dad told us kids that when the government cracks down and takes over we need to immediately head to the armory, take it over, and mount the resistance from there.
The time I read the Left Behind books’ description of a group of patriotic Americans doing just this – taking over the local armory and fighting against the UN’s takeover of the United States only to be blown up and utterly defeated – and wondered if that would be me someday.
The time I put the stones outside of my cabin at camp into the outline of the words “Get the U.S. out of the UN,” and then received extra points for this during cabin inspections.
The time I was taught about a secret UN treaty that the U.S. Senate almost passed in 1993, a treaty that would have essentially amounted to a UN takeover in the name of environmentalism and as the forerunner of a one world government.
It strikes me that there is a lot of overlap between evangelical Christians’ beliefs about the end times and the ideology of the militia movement. Both want the U.S. out of the UN and both fear that the UN is on the cusp of a global takeover. Both see anarchy in the nation’s future. One camp I attended as a teen was actually an odd combination of Christian Right politics and militia movement ideology.
Here’s another excerpt from Fred’s post:
Tom Head — a judge, an actual judge who presides over actual cases in a court of law — is campaigning for a local property tax hike to hire more county police. Head, a Republican, says the additional police will be necessary to overthrow the one-world government he expects will quickly arise should President Obama be re-elected:
“[President Obama] is going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N. Okay, what’s going to happen when that happens? I’m thinking worst case scenario here. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. We’re not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations. We’re talking Lexington-Concord take up arms and get rid of the guy.
“Now what’s going to happen if we do that, if the public decides to do that? He’s going to send in U.N. troops — with the little blue beanies. I don’t want ‘em in Lubbock County. Okay. So I’m going to stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say, ‘You’re not coming in here.’”
Yes. This is so familiar. We expected future anarchy, and we did our best to prepare for it. That’s the main reason we learned to shoot, actually – we didn’t hunt, we just went to the gun range to a) burnish our second amendment rights credentials and b) be prepared for the coming government takeover (which generally meant UN, though it could also refer to an autocratic U.S. combined with a persecution of Christians).
It strikes me now that there was a fundamental disconnect between the belief that we would be called on to fight against this takeover and the belief that we would be raptured before the tribulation, with its formation of a one world government, began. Regardless, this is yet another example of how evangelicalism – and especially evangelicalism’s end times doctrine – affects the way people see and understand events that occur in the world around us.