Obama, Assassination, and the Antichrist Conspiracy
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Nov 19, 2011 at 03:37:58 PM EST

The alleged shooter charged with attempting to assassinate President Obama, Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, apparently thinks our Commander in Chief is an agent of Satan in an End Times war. Sarah Posner has explained the basics in an article"'Obama the Antichrist' and end-times doctrine."

I warned about the possibility of the demonization of Obama leading to more violence in a book chapter published in 2010 "The Roots of Anti-Obama Rhetoric." Many individuals who act out in violence in the early stages of a demonization campaign are struggling with emotional or psychological issues. Their choice of target, however, indicates a larger group of individuals are weighing the need for action "before time runs out--the classic apocalyptic timetable. Below is a slightly revised version of what I wrote:

Read on:

A September 2009 poll in New Jersey found that 14% of Republicans believed that President Obama was the Antichrist--Satan's agent in the End Times according to one reading of the Bible's Book of Revelation. Another 15% thought it might be possible.

The results across political allegiances, however, were also troubling; with 8% of respondents statewide saying they thought Obama was the Antichrist and 13% stating they "aren't sure". The poll also found that "21% of respondents, including 33% of Republicans, express the belief that Obama was not born in the United States".

According to the pollster, these are "eye popping numbers" ("Extremism in New Jersey", 2009). The mobilization of apocalyptic expectation among Christian Evangelicals in the United States has been shown to be an effective mobilization strategy by the Christian Right and allies in the Republican Party (Boyer, 1992; Fuller 1995). This is especially true among fundamentalists (Barron, 1992; Mason, 2002; Berlet, 2008). This millenarian mood is spread from religious into secular communities, often through conspiracy theories (Brasher, 2000).

Public assertions claiming harm to individuals and threats to the nation are not without consequences.

As Milbank observed in a newspaper column, Glenn Beck routinely "accuses Tides of seeking to seize power and destroy capitalism, and he suggests that a full range of his enemies on the left all have `ties to the Tides Center.'"

In 2010, a heavily armed unemployed man was arrested as he drove toward the Tides Center in California. His plan was to "kill progressives" (Milbank, 2010). After a shootout with police, the accused, Byron Williams, told investigators that he:
... wanted to start a revolution by "killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU", according to a police affidavit. His mother, Janice, told the San Francisco Chronicle that her son had been watching television news and was upset by "the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items" (Milbank, 2010).
During the election campaign in 2008 it was clear some people were becoming agitated about the potential for a Black man backed by liberals to become the next President of the United States. The following is compiled from published news reports. Shortly before the election, police broke up an alleged plot by racist skinheads in Tennessee to kill Black people and then assassinate candidate Obama. Democracy is built upon a foundation of informed consent. Attacks on President Obama built around myths, fabrications, and bigotry undermines not just the man or the Presidency, but also democracy itself.
More on this soon. For Background:

Dances with Devils: How Apocalyptic and Millennialist Themes Influence Right Wing Scapegoating and Conspiracism Chip Berlet

`Christian Warriors': Who Are The Hutaree Militia And Where Did They Come From? Chip Berlet

Stephen D. O'Leary's Theory of Apocalyptic Rhetoric

Culture, Religion, Apocalypse, and Middle East Foreign Policy Chip Berlet & Nikhil Aziz

Cite: Chip Berlet. 2010. "The Roots of Anti-Obama Rhetoric," in Donald Cunnigen, Marino A. Bruce (eds.) Race in the Age of Obama (Research in Race and Ethnic Relations, Volume 16), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.301-319.

Let me go on record as saying that President Obama is NOT the antichrist.
Thanks for the interesting article. These people are nothing if not persistent.

My understanding is that this type of vicious propaganda, conspiracy laden and racist, is known as 'trolling for assassins'. The vitriol is broadcast far and wide, and the rightwing's silent hope is that out in the lunatic fringes some individual on the margins of society will snap and make his move.
If Byron Williams had succeeded in his assassination attempt at the Tides center, Glenn Beck would probably have condemned the terrible tragedy... but perhaps with just a little twinkle in his eye.

by COinMS on Sun Nov 20, 2011 at 09:03:01 PM EST

between the extreme conservatives and the extreme liberals is that some of the conservatives would be delighted if certain liberals were to die of unnatural causes, whereas most of the liberals just want to see certain of the conservatives with their pants down. (Nix that - I'd rather someone else have to view said pantless pol.)Wide stance? Flight to Brazil? I would enjoy watching some of these blowhards hoist themselves by their own *** . (Fill in the blank)

by NancyP on Mon Nov 21, 2011 at 02:21:17 PM EST

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