I was reading the other day that a non-trivial number of conservative Christians believe that Barack Obama is the anti-Christ. This is crazy. Not the part about the anti-Christ coming to destroy America; that part is pretty reasonable. What is crazy is the notion that Satan would deliberately choose to come as Barack Obama.
Consider: Satan is supposed to be very tricky. When Satan does come as the anti-Christ, he will need to find a way to be accepted among Jesus Christ's followers - especially the ones who will be on guard for the anti-Christ. What a terrible disguise Barack Obama would be! He is a pro-choice Democrat for one, so that raises red flags (and thus is a bad disguise). After all, whether or not one believes that abortion is evil, there are literally hundreds of millions of Americans who support abortion rights; they can't all be the anti-Christ. Obama also has a funny sounding name; his Dad was a Muslim, he has lived in Indonesia, and he is biracial. These are all attributes that draw attention to Barack Obama, most of which happens to be unfortunately negative (ie, the birther movement of the Tea Parties). Thus, we can conclude that Obama would be a terrible vessel for Satan to use as the anti-Christ. Way too obvious.
They say the wolf will come dressed in sheep's clothing. The anti-Christ will need to blend in naturally with the right-wing Christians who will be looking out for him. Thus I suspect that the anti-Christ will almost certainly be white, although could be either male or female. Definitely will be physically attractive, and a decent orator (which excludes George W. Bush from the running). The orations of the anti-Christ will be very emotional in nature, to appeal to our primal, irrational, and often evil side. Naturally, the anti-Christ will profess great faith in Christianity and may even present him/herself as a Christian leader. Finally, since most of the devout and evangelical Christians in America are Republicans, the anti-Christ will also certainly be a Republican.
Jesus Christ will need to come to earth to save his followers from the anti-Christ. With this conclusion, we can infer then that the anti-Christ will inevitably fool the majority of Christians into following him/her. This makes sense upon further consideration. Satan is supposed to be the Prince of Darkness, and the Master of all Evil. How competent of a villain would Satan be if he could not even deceive the majority of Jesus Christ's mortal followers? Thus, if the anti-Christ is among us, he/her will be held in high regard by a strong majority of evangelical Christians, who will have been fooled by the wolf in sheep's clothing.
We know from Biblical sources that Jesus Christ was apolitical, was an "outsider" in the sense that he did not recognize traditional forms of authority, and that he was persecuted greatly. The anti-Christ will naturally attempt to mimic Jesus Christ in these regards. He/she will pretend to be working for the good of the people as an outsider, and will claim to be viewed by the establishment with contempt. The anti-Christ will also feign persecution by anti-Christian forces, and will elicit a sense of victimization among his/her followers.
In truth, the anti-Christ will be a great persecutor of others. Some of these persecutions will be difficult to see, because the anti-Christ will try to present the perpetrators as victims and vice versa. For clarity, imagine where Jesus Christ would stand on an issue; the anti-Christ would take the opposite stance. For example, would Jesus Christ support the waterboarding of Muslims picked up in Afghanistan or holding men indefinitely without trial in Guantanamo? Of course not, but the anti-Christ will support these positions by pointing out that they are probably all terrorists who want to kill Christians. What would Jesus Christ say about plans to build a Muslim community center in downtown Manhattan? I think he would be OK with it; so naturally the anti-Christ would not. Again, the anti-Christ will pretend that the persecutors (Christians who are willing to strip American Muslims of their rights to build houses of worship) are actually the victims (by claiming that Muslims want to kill or convert Christians) in order to confuse Christians.
Another example: Jesus Christ would certainly not advocate military force to solve our foreign policy problem; the anti-Christ will naturally be more open to those suggestions. Jesus Christ knows that all humans are sinners and that we are all equal in the eyes of God. Jesus Christ would not hold a homosexual in lower regard than any other person. Naturally the anti-Christ will take strong positions against homosexuals, but like always, the anti-Christ will claim that the persecutors (Christians who wish to deny homosexuals equal rights, such as the right to serve their country in the military) are actually the victims (the anti-Christ will claim that homosexuals want to molest or corrupt children, destroy Christian families etc). Would Jesus Christ support rounding up illegal Hispanic immigrants like criminals and shipping them back to Mexico? Nope; so the anti-Christ will, but will pretend that Americans are the victims instead of poor immigrants, by claiming that Hispanics are committing crimes, stealing jobs, abusing public services, et cetera.
I do not know how soon the anti-Christ will come to destroy America, or if he/she is already here doing this evil work. I suppose it is also possible that the anti-Christ works through multiple people at the same time to advance Satan's evil agenda. In any case, I think I have established a useful set of descriptive factors, so that we may potentially identify the anti-Christ(s) and work to marginalize him/her. As a recap, here are some possible attributes of the anti-Christ:
- Attractive, well spoken
- Uses emotionally charged language, induces strong emotions in others
- Could be male or female
- Caucasian race
- Christian, with generally high marks from Christian groups
- Claims to be a political outsider
- Pretends to be persecuted
- Political support for the persecution of others
I am not really sure if there is anyone in American life with all of these attributes, but if there is, we should really watch out for him/her.
**** UPDATE ****
I swear I knew nothing about this soon-to-be-released book, "The Persecution of Sarah Palin", until days after writing this post.