Daily Archives: August 27, 2008

Gideon Rachman

Barack Obama may or may not make it to the White House, but he is already contributing mightily to the world of conspiracy theories. My colleague Peter Barber pointed out to me months ago that Obama might match certain Christian fundamentalist descriptions of the Anti-Christ. And indeed if you put the words Obama and Anti-Christ into Google, you come up with a startling number of matches. In fact, the theory is now so popular that CNN has even run an item on it.

The massive popularity of the fundamentalist “Left Behind” series of novels has put Americans on the look-out for the Anti-Christ. In the Left Behind series, it is suggested that he will appear on earth as a charismatic, but unknown, politician. Tim LaHaye, co-author of the series, has repudiated the Obama as Anti-Christ theory – but hardly in ringing terms. He is quoted as saying: “I can see by the language he uses why people could think he was the Anti-Christ.” But he adds re-assuringly: “There is no indication in the Bible that the Anti-Christ will be American.” So that’s a relief.

All the same, Christian fundamentalists are out in force here in Denver – in particular anti-abortionists. A van is circulating around town, with absolutely repulsive photos of aborted foetuses, dripping blood – emblazoned on its side panels, alongside the slogan – Obama-nation. (Abomination, get it?) In fact, all sorts of crazies are in town – from anarchists to the Aryan nation. If Denver wasn’t such a laid back place, it might seem vaguely threatening. Amidst all the mayhem, however, I found one group whose purpose was no more sinister than to hand out cold water to passers-by. They turned out to be Episcopalians, who were eager to have a civilised conversation about the latest Anglican synod at Lambeth Palace.

The big event tonight is Hillary Clinton’s speech. I’m just back from seeing her give a small warm-up speech at the Sheraton Hotel. She said all the right things about electing Obama and Biden, but sounded desperately subdued. But apparently her mood is positively upbeat compared to that of Bill Clinton, who is grumbling to all and sundry and “behaving like a complete idiot” – and that’s according to one of his friends. Read more