Author Topic: Politics as cult  (Read 15563 times)

ghp

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Politics as cult
« on: October 25, 2008, 02:28:52 AM »
Not that politics isn't highly charged enough as a topic, but...

I'm not wanting to make this into a partisan discussion (honest!), but I'm interested to see if anyone else finds the quasi-deification of Barack Obama to be as interesting -- in a theologically troubling way -- as I do.

Here's a post at Dr. Gene Edward Veith's Cranach Blog - The emerging religion - that briefly deals with the topic. He's got some interesting insights on the topic.

And here's a link to Is Barack Obama the Messiah? - The blog that Dr. Veith mentions in his post. At first, I thought that it had to be a spoof site, but now I'm not so sure. I still harbor a few doubts, but I actually think it's on the up-and-up.

Like I said earlier, I think Dr. Veith has some good insights on the topic. In a great many ways, there really does seem to be almost some cult-like trappings growing up around how some folks view Obama. IMO, the largely favorable (if not outright fawning) media coverage has not helped dispel that view. Neither has the candidate's style, nor his rhetoric.

What I also find fascinating about this meme, is the potential for how it will play out after the election, in both winning or losing scenarios.

What say y'all?

-ghp

anonymous

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Re: Politics as cult
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2008, 08:01:20 AM »
Obama is a politician. He changes when it is expedient though he sticks to his script with rigid discipline otherwise. He lied ot McCain about taking public funding, threw his grandmother and pastor under the bus in a single speech, used race to form a base and let's see what else...

Obama as Messiah? When a culture turns secular and embraces a politican (read "turns their back on God and embraces an idol/ideology") they always seems that way. And they are all anti-Christs when that happens. Read 1 John. 
« Last Edit: October 25, 2008, 09:06:46 AM by Valentin Ernst Löscher »

Jay

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Re: Politics as cult
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2008, 08:32:32 AM »
The whole "Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor" thing as well as some other statements have been picked up by the media trying to support its "Obamessiah" theory.  Beyond that, I don't hear anything about Obama that is much different than the way our 40th president, Ronald Wilson Reagan (that's 6 letters in each name for you anti-Christ speculators  ;D) was heralded (and still is by the Hannitys, the Limbaughs, etc.). 

 

« Last Edit: October 25, 2008, 08:35:08 AM by Jay »

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Politics as cult
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2008, 06:52:38 AM »
beyond any messianic attributions....  are not people both from the right and the left, Republ. and Democ. alike, looked at to some degree as "saviors" in the culture wars, at least when they get to push or restrain certain laws or appoint justices for or against positions?     Harvey Mozolak
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Richard Kidd, STS

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Re: Politics as cult
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2008, 08:10:03 AM »
Not that politics isn't highly charged enough as a topic, but...

I'm not wanting to make this into a partisan discussion (honest!), but I'm interested to see if anyone else finds the quasi-deification of Barack Obama to be as interesting -- in a theologically troubling way -- as I do.

Here's a post at Dr. Gene Edward Veith's Cranach Blog - The emerging religion - that briefly deals with the topic. He's got some interesting insights on the topic.

And here's a link to Is Barack Obama the Messiah? - The blog that Dr. Veith mentions in his post. At first, I thought that it had to be a spoof site, but now I'm not so sure. I still harbor a few doubts, but I actually think it's on the up-and-up.

Like I said earlier, I think Dr. Veith has some good insights on the topic. In a great many ways, there really does seem to be almost some cult-like trappings growing up around how some folks view Obama. IMO, the largely favorable (if not outright fawning) media coverage has not helped dispel that view. Neither has the candidate's style, nor his rhetoric.

What I also find fascinating about this meme, is the potential for how it will play out after the election, in both winning or losing scenarios.

What say y'all?

-ghp


ROFL I get e-mails that Obama is the anti-christ. Come on the Right deifies Sarah Palin. To uplift and glorify any candidate from the Right or left is wrong.

ghp

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Re: Politics as cult
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2008, 02:23:22 PM »
Not that politics isn't highly charged enough as a topic, but...

I'm not wanting to make this into a partisan discussion (honest!), but I'm interested to see if anyone else finds the quasi-deification of Barack Obama to be as interesting -- in a theologically troubling way -- as I do.

Here's a post at Dr. Gene Edward Veith's Cranach Blog - The emerging religion - that briefly deals with the topic. He's got some interesting insights on the topic.

And here's a link to Is Barack Obama the Messiah? - The blog that Dr. Veith mentions in his post. At first, I thought that it had to be a spoof site, but now I'm not so sure. I still harbor a few doubts, but I actually think it's on the up-and-up.

Like I said earlier, I think Dr. Veith has some good insights on the topic. In a great many ways, there really does seem to be almost some cult-like trappings growing up around how some folks view Obama. IMO, the largely favorable (if not outright fawning) media coverage has not helped dispel that view. Neither has the candidate's style, nor his rhetoric.

What I also find fascinating about this meme, is the potential for how it will play out after the election, in both winning or losing scenarios.

What say y'all?

-ghp


ROFL I get e-mails that Obama is the anti-christ. Come on the Right deifies Sarah Palin. To uplift and glorify any candidate from the Right or left is wrong.

Well, I certainly agree with you that the deification of any candidate is wrong. That said, I'm not aware of anything being done on the Right that is equivalent to what can be found at the Is Barack Obama the Messiah? site, and there's not been anyone referring to Palin as "The Messiah" like Farrakhan called Obama.

My point in starting this thread was to try and avoid the partisan rancor (ironic coming from me, I know... ;) ), and examine the larger issue of what it means that there's this messianic language being applied to him, and what it might mean that it's not being roundly denounced by a Christian candidate.

-ghp

Jay

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Re: Politics as cult
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2008, 03:35:16 PM »


Well, I certainly agree with you that the deification of any candidate is wrong. That said, I'm not aware of anything being done on the Right that is equivalent to what can be found at the Is Barack Obama the Messiah? site, and there's not been anyone referring to Palin as "The Messiah" like Farrakhan called Obama.

My point in starting this thread was to try and avoid the partisan rancor (ironic coming from me, I know... ;) ), and examine the larger issue of what it means that there's this messianic language being applied to him, and what it might mean that it's not being roundly denounced by a Christian candidate.

-ghp

http://saintsarahpalin.com/

jrubyaz

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Re: Politics as cult
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2008, 03:41:08 PM »

Thanks Jay. It is important, as you noted, that Reagan and many others have been deified , as has Sarah Palin.

Glen, your thesis is that the media, or Democrats, or both, have deified Obama and made him into some sort of messianic figure.

What you neglect to mention is that politics is in and of itself all about "promises". It is simply the version of promises and what promises are important to you that make up the "messianic" aspect of this.

Finally, this is nothing new. See Jennings, William Bryan, and the "Cross of Gold" speech.

Jeff Ruby   


 



Well, I certainly agree with you that the deification of any candidate is wrong. That said, I'm not aware of anything being done on the Right that is equivalent to what can be found at the Is Barack Obama the Messiah? site, and there's not been anyone referring to Palin as "The Messiah" like Farrakhan called Obama.

My point in starting this thread was to try and avoid the partisan rancor (ironic coming from me, I know... ;) ), and examine the larger issue of what it means that there's this messianic language being applied to him, and what it might mean that it's not being roundly denounced by a Christian candidate.

-ghp

http://saintsarahpalin.com/

Richard Kidd, STS

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Re: Politics as cult
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2008, 03:42:29 PM »


Well, I certainly agree with you that the deification of any candidate is wrong. That said, I'm not aware of anything being done on the Right that is equivalent to what can be found at the Is Barack Obama the Messiah? site, and there's not been anyone referring to Palin as "The Messiah" like Farrakhan called Obama.

My point in starting this thread was to try and avoid the partisan rancor (ironic coming from me, I know... ;) ), and examine the larger issue of what it means that there's this messianic language being applied to him, and what it might mean that it's not being roundly denounced by a Christian candidate.

-ghp

http://saintsarahpalin.com/

ROFL A good Reformation Sunday laugh

ghp

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Re: Politics as cult
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2008, 04:00:43 PM »
Aside from the title of the pro-Palin site, I didn't see any messianic or overtly religious imagery in use; rather, it was a straightforward political advocacy site. Pretty run of the mill, no?

Contrast that with the Is Barak Obama the Messiah? site. The imagery in play at that site is much more overtly religious and messianic in nature. I'm not sure it's been the MSM that's driven this meme. In fact, I don't think it has been them. I think it's been more grass roots, fed by the rhetorical stylings of the candidate himself. While perhaps not purposefully done, his natural style, when combined with his vaguely outlined hope/change message, has easily lent itself to a charisma that has generated (among other things) the kinds of iconography that you can find at the pro-Obama website listed above.

Does a type of neo-Evangelical faith inform Sarah Palin, and thus her candidacy's popularity? Sure. But it hasn't developed the type of cult-of-personality that has sprung up around Obama. And it's that cult-of-personality that I'm trying to dig into here somewhat objectively (if that's even possible...). Besides, she's not at the top of the ticket...

-ghp
« Last Edit: October 26, 2008, 05:03:07 PM by Glen Piper »

grabau14

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Re: Politics as cult
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2008, 04:57:41 PM »
Now Glen, just because a politician told people that he was going to heal the earth, still the waters, and "cool" the earth down, that still doesn't make him the messiah.  He is just making speechs much like Sen. Edwards when he said that if you elect John Kerry Christopher Reeves was going to get out of chair and walk.

America will be getting what she deserves with an Obama presidency.  2012  Ron Paul !!!!!!

jrubyaz

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Re: Politics as cult
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2008, 09:15:20 PM »

Matthew, that doesn't make it Obama claiming that....people call politicians lots of names, Messiah might be refreshing :). I find it interesting you noted Sen Edwards and Sen Obama but no one on the right is messianic? I kind of think that James Dobson and his ilk fit the bill quite well. When George W. Bush, according to Sandra Day O Connor's memoirs, had to consult Dobson before a SCOTUS pick, that is bit messianic to me, and not just in a campaign, but in practice. 

As the  OT writer said, nothing new under the sun...William Jennings Bryan, JFK, RFK, Ronald Reagan were all described in deified terms. They all just happened to live before the internet.

Is there really a point to this thread?   

Now Glen, just because a politician told people that he was going to heal the earth, still the waters, and "cool" the earth down, that still doesn't make him the messiah.  He is just making speechs much like Sen. Edwards when he said that if you elect John Kerry Christopher Reeves was going to get out of chair and walk.

America will be getting what she deserves with an Obama presidency.  2012  Ron Paul !!!!!!

ghp

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Re: Politics as cult
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2008, 12:10:20 AM »
Is there really a point to this thread?   


My point in initiating this thread was to, in as non-partisan a way as possible, examine the issue brought up by Dr. Veith in his blog posting. It is perhaps best summarized by him:

Quote
I’m not saying Barack Obama intends this, but I think many Americans are actually devising a new religion around him as their savior. It’s a secular kind of salvation, yes, but that is all many people can conceive of. Nevertheless, this hope for salvation demands their faith, their adoration, and their service.

In earlier posts on this topic, some of you thought the people who say “Obama is my Jesus” and the like must be joking. I don’t think they are. I’m sure the readers of this blog who support Obama do so for his policies and because they are looking for some kind of alternative to the current administration. But he has supporters who have little idea of his policies who zealously are putting their faith in HIM.

This is natural, by the way, a tendency found in nearly all cultures throughout history, to think of their rulers as divine. When Obama gets elected, we may see again the figure of the divinized ruler. I don’t intend this as a political point, but as an observation about the reversion to a cultural paganism that can rush into a theological void.

This is not intended to be a political thread, although the putative subject of it seems to be that. No, the intended subject of this thread is theological. Perhaps it's too nuanced; I don't think it is.

-ghp

jrubyaz

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Re: Politics as cult
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2008, 05:13:45 PM »

I just heard the ATF broke up a skinhead ring trying to kill Obama and many other African Americans.

Maybe not everyone thinks he is the Messiah.


AP Top News at 4:26 p.m. EDT



WASHINGTON (AP) — The ATF says it has broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree. In court records unsealed Monday, agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target an unnamed but predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads.








Is there really a point to this thread?   


My point in initiating this thread was to, in as non-partisan a way as possible, examine the issue brought up by Dr. Veith in his blog posting. It is perhaps best summarized by him:

Quote
I’m not saying Barack Obama intends this, but I think many Americans are actually devising a new religion around him as their savior. It’s a secular kind of salvation, yes, but that is all many people can conceive of. Nevertheless, this hope for salvation demands their faith, their adoration, and their service.

In earlier posts on this topic, some of you thought the people who say “Obama is my Jesus” and the like must be joking. I don’t think they are. I’m sure the readers of this blog who support Obama do so for his policies and because they are looking for some kind of alternative to the current administration. But he has supporters who have little idea of his policies who zealously are putting their faith in HIM.

This is natural, by the way, a tendency found in nearly all cultures throughout history, to think of their rulers as divine. When Obama gets elected, we may see again the figure of the divinized ruler. I don’t intend this as a political point, but as an observation about the reversion to a cultural paganism that can rush into a theological void.

This is not intended to be a political thread, although the putative subject of it seems to be that. No, the intended subject of this thread is theological. Perhaps it's too nuanced; I don't think it is.

-ghp

ghp

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Re: Politics as cult
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2008, 06:01:52 PM »

I just heard the ATF broke up a skinhead ring trying to kill Obama and many other African Americans.

Maybe not everyone thinks he is the Messiah.


Fine and dandy. But that's not the point of the thread. Please keep on topic.

-ghp