The Politics (& Culture) of Fear...

New York Times op-ed piece by Frank Rich points to a growing problem of anti-Obama fervor in America.  According to Shepard Smith of Fox News, "his e-mail from viewers had “become more and more frightening” in recent months, dating back to the election season. From Wednesday alone, he “could read a hundred” messages spewing “hate that’s not based in fact,” much of it about Barack Obama and some of it sharing the museum gunman’s canard that the president was not a naturally born citizen. These are Americans “out there in a scary place,” Smith said.

Rich suggests that if an anchor from Fox News is scared about a growing undercurrent of violent (think: death threats) conservatism, then we have a real problem.

The article concludes:
"This kind of rhetoric, with its pseudo-Scriptural call to action, is toxic. It is getting louder each day of the Obama presidency. No one, not even Fox News viewers, can say they weren’t warned."

1 John explains that "perfect love drives out fear."  Jesus said "blessed are the peacemakers."  

Glen Beck compared Obama to Nazis.  Actor John Voight has dubbed him a "false prophet."

Our society is at the precipice of major change.  That change will not necessarily be carried out by Barack Obama.  He merely embodies the culmination of this societal shift.  But fear is a powerful force.  Sometimes it is more powerful than love, because those stirred by love may act in fear too.  Fear feeds on itself.

I don't think Barack Obama is the "second coming" or anything like that.  I like the guy.  I respect him.  And I don't believe he's a secret Muslim (frankly, I wouldn't care if he was an "out" Muslim).  The real issue here is that the forces of fear are pushing against everything good that Obama's presidency represents: peace, freedom, equality, equity, opportunity, and finding common ground.

Fear is always the wrong side of history.  


Wickle said...

For my own part, I'm deeply troubled by what I'm seeing pass itself off as Christian thinking right now.

It is fear, hatred, idolatry (in the name of nationalism), and it represents a bad misuse of Scripture.

Peter said...

I completely agree Wickle. We should be troubled.

A. D. Hunt said...

Many theologians I read have started saying that unless we nip some of this stuff in the bud we are going to see more religious fundamentalism coming from Christians that could border on dangerous.

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