McCain's "One" Response - M25 Network

Friends,

This is Grant from the Matthew 25 Network.  By now you have probably seen the McCain campaign's "The One" Ad.  I wanted to provide somewhat of a "special comment" on this ad.  Because, I think many who don't come from an evangelical context may miss the point.  At the bottom of the page there is a link for our petition to call upon Sen. McCain to renounce these ads, but first I want to walk through why they are so troubling.

The McCain campaign is claiming that it is "humorous,""a joke," and "a little fun." Well here is the ad...and below the fold we'll tell you why this is anything but a joking matter -

For many this ad will appear to be a joke, a silly campaign tactic, and little more than a distraction.  But this ad was not done by some campaign volunteer with a bit of editing experience for (as McCain suggests) his supporters amusement. This was a professionally cut, edited, and produced ad full of sinister dog-whistles for evangelical ears.

At best it is suggesting supporters of Obama are idol-worshipers. At its worst it is suggesting that Sen. Obama is some kind of anti-Christ.

The McCain campaign is unquestionably targeting the 44 million+ Americans who have read the Left Behind series.  The mmakers of the ad chose all of Obama's quotes very carefully and filled it with image after image equating Senator Obama to the anti-Christ, and especially to Nicolae Carpathia, the anti-Christ in the popular end times novels.

This is where religion and politics goes bad.  We've seen this game before in history - suggest your opposition is the anti-Christ.  Sadly I never thought I'd see it from the nominee of one of America's main political parties.  The ad plays on fears well beyond the economy, terror, or war - it plays on what are foundational scriptural fears for many people, the very end of the world.  That ad is flat-out dangerous, irresponsible, and heartless.

The title or the ad is set up to immediately remind anyone familiar with the Left Behind series of the name of the false church set up by the anti-Christ - "THE ONE World Religion."

The text and voice over are exact copies of previews for Christian Specific end-times movies.

The images and quotes the McCain camp employed all allude to symbols of the anti-Christ.  If the McCain campaign were simply cutting an ad about Obama being an idol that would be offensive enough; however, there are just too many parts of this ad which make no sense, for a professional production, unless they were trying to suggest Obama is the anti-Christ.

So you know we are not just talking about John Hagee end-times believers here.  This is an ingrained fear for many Americans - here is some data concerning how widespread Premillenialist views are:

A Time Magazine poll that came out after the 9/11 attacks found that 1 in 5 Americans believe the world will end in their lifetime; 1 in 4 felt 9/11 was predicted in Revelation; and 1 in 3 Americans who support Israel said they do so because they believe Israel must reconquer the Promised Land for Christ to return.

The ad goes as follows:

NARRATOR: It should be known that in 2008 the world shall be blessed. They will call him The One.

The anti-Christ, in the Left Behind series, Nicolae Carpathia set up a religion called THE ONE World Religion.  Carpathia started his career as a young charismatic junior Senator.  He made his rise, with Satan's support, by spreading a message of unity, hope, and peace, in an anomic world in the wake of the rapture.

OBAMA: A nation healed, a world repaired...we are the ones that we've been waiting for.

The slogan of the One World Religion, in the Left Behind Series, is, "We are God." This line from Obama is taken from its political context and placed in religious context. This is the supposed message of the anti-Christ.

NARRATOR: And he has anointed himself ready to carry the burden of The One. To quote Barack: "I have become a symbol of America returning to our best traditions." He can do no wrong.

This whole phrase is a direct scriptural reference to the task of the anti-Christ.  The entire character, as depicted by scripture, is suppose to be "burdened" or "tasked" with becoming an idol (symbol) of people's faith.

Lastly, I want to talk about some of the images the McCain Campaign employed.

Here is the cover of the final Left Behind novel -

Left Behind

You may notice that the fonts and clouds are the same as in McCain's ad.  The font may be excusable, as it is a common font.  However, why the clouds?  And if you are depicting somebody as a "messiah" as many have reported the ad, not an "anti-Christ," then why the scary yellow clouds over ecstatic worshipers?

PhotobucketPhotobucket(The World is also an allusion to the State-Run Broadcasting Network in the Series)

(The World is also an allusion to the State-Run Broadcasting Network in the Series)

One or two little instances would have been one thing.  However, if you have any experience with modern end-times belief you can quickly recognize that was the attempt.  This ad is Desperate.  It is Dangerous.  It is Wrong.

The Matthew 25 Network has started a petition to expressthe wish of the Christian community to stop playing on our brothers' and sisters' fears, and to return to his promise to campaign in a civil and upright manner.  Here is the text of the petition:

Senator McCain,

As fellow Christians, we are deeply troubled by your campaign's latest ad entitled "The One," which portrays Senator Obama as some kind of would-be Messiah and implies that those who support him are cultish followers looking for a new Savior.  

We find it beyond offensive for you to piece together out-of-context video snippets to suggest that Senator Obama is a false Messiah or the anti-Christ, especially in light of Senator Obama's open and humble confession of Christian faith.

Instead of seeking to inspire false fears, we would prefer you speak more positively about how your own faith would guide you in leading this country.

We trust that this desperate and insulting campaign tactic is not an indication of your true character, and we call on you to repudiate this ad and take it down immediately.

Sincerely,

You can sign the petition here.

And please spread the word to help counter these sinister attacks.  Tell your friends about the petition - particularly if they're people of faith.

Thanks,

Matthew 25 Network

Special Thanks to Eric and Burns from the Eleison Group for their input!

Tags: Barack Obama, Evangelicals (all tags)

Comments

20 Comments

Re: McCain's "One" Response

That's chilling.  But does it actually help McCain?  I suspect that most end-of-the-world types were probably going to vote for McCain anyhow.  Am I wrong about that?

by the mollusk 2008-08-05 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's "One" Response

That is what you would think....but the numbers are just staggering for people who think the world will end in their generation.  Christian based end-times belief is really really common regardless of party.

by cardboard 1 2008-08-05 01:00PM | 0 recs
That's always blown me away.

I was at a Mormon neighbor's house around thanksgiving maybe ten years ago.  His dad and nephew were there, and the Ten Commandments were on.

The nephew turned to Grandpa and asked him if the world was really going to end soon, and when.  Grandpa (nice guy, which makes it worse) said:

"Oh, yes.  I figure in the next five or ten years it will all be over."

The boy was eight.  His Grandfather was telling him that he would not grow up.  I remember my own Christian Childhood fantasies about the world ending in nuclear fire (which seemed likely, then) and Jesus coming to all us children among the ashes...

No offence, cardboard, and I don't know where you stand on Armageddon, but it's a sick meme.  Revelations is at best interprative and at worse a wild mushroom trip.  God isn't going to rain fire on the children.

-best

-chris

PS - recced.

by chrisblask 2008-08-05 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: That's always blown me away.

You have to read Revelation in context.  The Christian community of the time - the book is thought to have been written in the late first century CE.  At the time, the Christians were dealing with the growing pains of being rejected by the Jewish community (through the middle of the first century CE the Christians had thought of themselves as a sect of Judaism) and with ramped up persecution by the Romans, which had taken a major turn for the worse under Nero.  Many were martyred for their faith; everyone lived with the very real possibility that he or she would be found out and perhaps thrown to the lions or burned on a cross to light the streets of Rome.

Under these circumstances, in which there seemed to be very little earthly hope for the sect, the possibility of Jesus coming back and destroying those who were persecuting his followers, those who had caused so much suffering to the fledgling community, was the only thing they could hold on to.  They had no advocates on earth.  Divine deliverance was all they could hope for.... so the Apocalypse was written to give the community hope.

Now, in a context where Christianity remains (even after a great deal of secularization) a dominant and socially-acceptable religion, I don't know that it has much relevance for most Christians, who enjoy lives of social acceptability.

by mistersite 2008-08-05 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: That's always blown me away.

It is a common belief... I'm pretty progressive in how I take scripture - I think the comment below this one is great on the top... But it is a belief you actually see increase the more a society disconnects and specialized.  

Over the past 50 years, in what many would call a period of secularization, eschatological beliefs are on of the few areas that have increased statistically.

by cardboard 1 2008-08-05 02:05PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's "One" Response

one further note to your question - This is a turn-out strategy for McCain.  He doesn't do well amongst Evangelicals.  He favs are not Bush high.  And many are looking at Obama.  So the best way to get folks out for GOTV efforts is to go against Obama - even if it takes this

by cardboard 1 2008-08-05 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's "One" Response

Actually, yeah... McCain isn't exactly the Christian Right's favorite person in the world.  I'd put it at 50-50 that a lot of them would just stay home, or vote for Bob Barr or the latest Roy Moore clone from the Constitution Party, rather than vote for McCain.  This is an attempt on his part to get them so scared of Obama that they vote for McCain just to stop him.

by mistersite 2008-08-05 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's "One" Response

absofuckinglutly...

Thank you...
everyday in every way

A reminder..
This is too important to sit out on the sidelines..

start contributing 2-4 hours a week to your local Obama campaign...

http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/a ctioncenter

by nogo postal 2008-08-05 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's "One"
as an aside...
good to see your insight here again...
by nogo postal 2008-08-05 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's "One"

Thanks... I'm on a bit of a personal blogging break - as I've started doing blogging for M25 - I will likely be more of a fixture after the election.

by cardboard 1 2008-08-05 12:59PM | 0 recs
thanks

Thanks for this.

I'll be meeting up with an Evangelical uncle (amongst other conservative relatives - doh!) at a family reunion later in the month. This will be helpful.

by vadasz 2008-08-05 01:39PM | 0 recs
Matthew 25 Network is the best.

The best independent organization the Democrats have going for them this election.  I'd encourage everyone to donate so their ads can go on during James Dobson's radio shows.

by Shem 2008-08-05 01:49PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain's "One" Response

I confess that the one shot early in the ad, the one with the crowd and the screen is sort of yellowish, I was like "what the heck is this supposed to be?"  It's not an image that makes any coherent sense to me.  So hmmmm, yeah maybe.

by Steve M 2008-08-05 02:05PM | 0 recs
Sorry, there is no anti-christ

if people are dumb enough to believe an anti-christ exists, it's not because of John McCain or Obama or any stupid ad.

We're venturing into looney tunes territory here.

by catfish2 2008-08-05 03:49PM | 0 recs
Religious freaks taking over our country

this is too weird, I am an Atheist, this is science fiction level stuff.

by catfish2 2008-08-05 03:54PM | 0 recs
This is ridiculous

I'm sure this comment will be hidden but really this is ridiculous.

If Obama's words and demeanor allows for someone to portray him as the anti-Christ so very easily then maybe people need to question why he is using messianic like verbiage. "We are the ones we've been waiting for". You are right, that does match up with the new ager "We are God" type ideal. Question Barack as to why he feels that that was appropriate language for a political campaign. How you pin this on the McCain campaign for pointing it out is beyond me.

by Wiseprince 2008-08-05 04:06PM | 0 recs
Re: This is ridiculous

Your comment doesn't deserve to be hidden, but it does deserve a response, because it might be one of the more monumentally misinformed things I've read on this site in a while, and that's saying something.

First, Barack Obama didn't make up "we are the ones we've been waiting for" - it's an old saying of the Hopi Elders, and it has absolutely no resemblance to the "we are God" ideal with the exception of the common use of the word "we."  The first saying means that instead of waiting for a great leader or for God to bail us out, we should take responsibility for ourselves and do the hard work of getting ourselves out of the mess we've gotten ourselves into.  That's a mile and a half away from "we are God," and the only people who would try to convince you that the sayings are equivalent are intellectually dishonest people whose purpose is to tear people down rather than build them up.  (If the shoe fits...)

Second, anyone's verbiage, mangled and taken out of context as much as Obama's is in this ad, could be construed as messianic - particularly when they're running for president and talking about the things they want to do when they're in office.  It takes a certain degree of arrogance and a messiah complex to think you should run to lead the free world in the first place; that such people run for the office is hardly surprising.

Third, the McCain campaign is hardly "pointing things out"; it's engaged in an utterly dishonest remixing and pulling-out-of-context what are some rather inspiring, but not in any way resembling anti-Christ, words from Barack Obama.  Trust me, I've graduated from Seminary, and I know what the anti-Christ is supposed to look like even if I don't believe in such things, and Barack Obama is no more the anti-Christ than Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, John F. Kennedy, or Ronald Reagan.  (Well, maybe a little less the anti-Christ than the last one ;-) )  The problem is that this is an utter fabrication designed to convince end-times evangelicals that Barack Obama is so scary they should vote for John McCain just to stop him.

And as a final note, I find the fact that you take the McCain campaign at face value and in good faith while questioning the motives of a progressive Christian organization to be a little suspicious.  You should know who your friends are - and if your friends are the McCain campaign and not the Matthew 25 Network, maybe this isn't the site for you...

by mistersite 2008-08-05 04:18PM | 0 recs
Re: This is ridiculous

To paraphrase Jesus, "If it were possible he would trick even the elect"

I am sure you are well aware that the Antichrist has a following as well (you know being a seminary student and all). I am quite aware that Obama didn't invent the phrase, "We are the ones we have been waiting for" but the phrase itself certainly sounds like an response to the idea that God is the one who will deliver humanity. Don't wait for God, it was us the whole time (This is new age thinking, certainly from the perspective of Christianity... "Beside me there is no Savior says the LORD" (Isaiah -46)).

Do I trust the McCain campaign, no I don't. That being said I do not blame them for the diarists' interpretation of the ad. Moreover I think Obama has come across as a cult like figure from day one and this ad plays to that. It is easy to reinforce these ideas because anyone who has watched the campaign from the beginning could easily come out with the same conclusion.

Obama is light on policy and heavy on rhetoric and aspirations. He puts in front of his audience perfection (with very high level ideas, not much on details) and says, "Vote for me and we can achieve it". This line of attack is to be expected with Obama's way of speaking. It is hard to argue with Barack's policies because if he starts losing he'll just change positions and move on (and the media for the most part will not call him on it).

To be clear I do not think that he is the Antichrist but I do see how one watching for an Antichrist would be weary of such a leader.

by Wiseprince 2008-08-05 04:43PM | 0 recs
Re: This is ridiculous

To be clear I do not think that you are the Antichrist, but you have posted 2 diaries which seem to advocate that the US should start a war of Armageddon with Iran. When I add that to your moniker "Wiseprince" I can only conclude that it is actually YOU who are the Anti-Christ. But, to be absolutely clear, I do not think that you are in fact the Antichrist.

by QTG 2008-08-05 04:54PM | 0 recs
Re: M25 Network

I signed the petition and I recommend everyone do so as well.

rec'd

by QTG 2008-08-05 04:32PM | 0 recs

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