The neocons who sold Americans the Iraq War are working hand in hand with the Christian Right to make sure that a McCain-Palin administration will take up where Bush-Cheney leaves off.
Building on doubts some white Americans have about electing a black president, their strategy is to stoke fear that Sen. Barack Obama is the Antichrist. Google it and you will find more than 1.3 million Web entries that discuss Obama and Anti-Christ.
In early August, the McCain campaign released an online ad titled “The One,” that suggests Obama could be the Antichrist. McCain campaign officials denied they were trying to draw parallels, but many Christian fundamentalists understood. The ad portrayed images that are only found in the 16 books of the “Left Behind” series – 63 million copies sold to date.
Tim LaHaye, the series’ co-author, is a key strategist of the Christian Right. He is also the founding president of the Council for National Policy (CNP), a secretive organization that brings together leaders of the American right to coordinate political strategy. Prior to the Republican National Convention, the CNP met in Minneapolis, where members watched Gov. Sarah Palin on the stage with Sen. John McCain as she accepted his choice of her as his running mate. According to a CNP member in attendance, “That room in Minneapolis watching on the television screen was electrified. I have not seen anything like it in a long time.”
LaHaye, for one, doubts that Obama is the Antichrist. He told Christian Newswire, “I can see by the language [Obama] uses why people think he could be the Antichrist, but from my reading of Scripture, he doesn’t meet the criteria.”
Of course, if there’s anything scarier than the Antichrist, it’s a Muslim. In July, Fox News conducted a poll, asking: “Some people believe Barack Obama, despite his professed Christianity, is secretly a Muslim. … What do you believe?” The results: 10 percent of respondents said he was Muslim and 27 percent said they didn’t know.
In September, New York’s Dutchess County GOP Chairwoman Corrine Weber forwarded this e-mail to party members: “The Antichrist will be a man, in his 40s, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal. … Do we recognize this description?? … I refuse to take a chance on this unknown candidate who came out of nowhere.”
If you have doubts about the dangers Muslims pose, watch Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West. Tom Trento, director of the Watch Obsession Citizen Education Program, is traveling the country promoting this documentary. “The Muslim faith has been hijacked by extremists who want to destroy every culture but their own,” he told Christian Newswire.
In September in 14 battleground states, 28 million DVDs of Obsession were sent to the subscribers of 70 local and national newspapers, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
The mass distribution was coordinated by the Endowment for Middle East Truth. The group’s advisory board includes four neoconservative luminaries who helped sell Americans on the need for the Iraq War: Meyrav Wurmser of the Hudson Institute, Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum, Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy and former CIA Director James Woolsey. Gaffney and Woolsey are both associated with the CNP and have addressed the group’s secret conventions.
Let’s hope that this time around their machinations are less successful.
Joel Bleifuss, a former director of the Peace Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the editor & publisher of In These Times, where he has worked since October 1986.