Original sin strikes many people as unfair. To be accountable for what a second party did. For the same reason, many people also reject penal substitution.
On the other hand, it’s quite easy to cite real life illustrations in which many people, a number of whom would repudiate original sin or penal substitution, embrace the vicarious principle in another context.
Consider the way in which Obamatons identify with the One. I tried my best yesterday to avoid coverage of his coronation…I mean…inauguration, but I caught glimpses of the event despite of my evasive maneuvers. Scenes of worshipful followers, with tears streaming down their cheeks.
The Obamatons have a profound personal investment in the One. Whatever happens to him, for good or ill, might as well be happening to them—collectively and individually. They take any criticism of the One as if it were a personal slight to their one person.
Likewise, they fervently believe that Americans in general are somehow tainted by the Adamic sin of slave-owners who died a century ago, and the only way to atone for our corporate complicity is to elevate a racial token to the highest office in the land.
As one pundit pointed out last summer, this is utterly confused—even at the purely symbolic level: “Apologists for preferences explain these policies as a remedy for long family histories of discrimination, but Obama’s background features no such legacy of oppression. His mother was white and his father’s family, in Kenya, had never been enslaved or subjected to American ‘Jim Crow’ laws or segregation.”
But black supporters project their own stories onto the One while Caucasian supporters project their white guilt onto the One, seeking vicarious absolution at the ballot box. The political Redeemer acts on behalf of, and instead of, the body politic. His biography becomes their very own. It’s a secular parody of federal headship, from Adam to Christ.