Monday, December 03, 2012

Dog-whistle Arminianism

Roger Olson, the crown jewel of Arminian theologians, has remarkably acute hearing. He’s been fitted with hearing aids which enable him to pick up frequencies indetectible to ordinary mortals:

Let me be clear “up front.” I am NOT saying that criticism of Obama is always motivated by racism; that is clearly not the case.

That’s magnanimous. I’m sure his colleague Francis Beckwith will be relieved to learn that his criticisms of Obamacare aren’t always motivated by racism. Just 80% of the time.

For almost five years now I’ve wondered why so much criticism of President Obama seems “over the top,” so to speak. That is, why some of it goes beyond criticism of his policies to character vilification. I have observed this from billboards to bumper stickers and from Facebook to families and friendships broken over differing opinions about our first black president.

I have friends and acquaintances who have very strong negative opinions about his leadership and proposals but do not attack his character. I know they are not racists or motivated by racism.

Why is he linking attacks on character to racism? When people attacked Nixon’s character, or Bill Clinton’s character, was that motivated by racism?

On the other hand, I believe I have detected an underlying current of racism at work in MUCH of the hateful criticism aimed at Obama personally. I cannot think of any other reason why people vilify him as “the Antichrist” and compare him with Hitler, for example. I cannot remember any president, during my lifetime, who has been treated so hatefully by critics, except John Kennedy.

i) Well, presidents during his lifetime would include Ronald Reagan and Bush 43. If he bothered to Google their names, along with “Hitler” or “the Antichrist,” guess what he’d turn up?

It would only take him a few seconds to double-check his theory. Doesn’t he have an ethical duty to do that before he engages in wholesale smear-mongering? Oh, I forgot, he’s Arminian.

ii) What about “the Antichrist” epithet? For someone who’s so conversant with church history, why does it not occur to him that identifying prominent political figures with the Antichrist is commonplace among many Christians. In our own time it’s especially common for premils–although it’s not confined to premils.

iii) And here’s another point: I don’t think Obama’s the Antichrist. However, many Christians think the Antichrist is a future figure. And that includes many amils as well as premils.

Assuming that the Antichrist will arrive on the scene at some point in the future, it’s not inherently off-the-wall to consider the possibility that that might be the US president. After all, he’s the most powerful man in the world. So, if you were the Antichrist, that wouldn’t be a bad launching pad.

What does Olson believe about the Antichrist? Does he believe in a literal Antichrist? If so, does he believe the Antichrist has yet to come? If so, why would it be out-of-bounds to consider a powerful and malevolent politician to be a potential candidate for that dubious distinction?

Doesn’t Scripture portray the Antichrist as a political figure as well as a religious figure?

iv) As for Hitler, it’s ironic that Olson has a higher opinion of Obama than Yahweh. Olson thinks that if Yahweh actually did the things attributed to him in the OT, that would make Yahweh Hitlerian. A moral monster.

v) Why does Olson think the comparison between Obama and Hitler is outrageous? Many prolifers view abortion as our Holocaust. And they’re not speaking hyperbolically. They think that’s a principled analogy.

On top of that, Obamacare will lead to euthanizing the elderly. Wesley J. Smith has been connecting the dots.

If that’s not Hitlerian, what is?

I didn’t want to believe any critic of Obama was racially motivated, but the thought kept occurring to me as I observed the absolutely unjustified attacks on him as a person.

Can we really drive a wedge between the man and his policies? Don’t evil policies reflect an evil character? It’s not as if anyone is forcing these policies on him. To the contrary, he’s forcing these policies on us.

Near where I live there are some large billboards depicting him as angry, scowling, with the words “Socialist by Conduct” printed next to his threatening countenance. Socialist? That label has been slapped on President Obama by critics who have no idea what socialism is. I have wondered where, in what way, how Obama has advocated “public ownership of the means of production.” Yes, he carried forward policies of government financial support (“bailouts”) of major banks and corporations begun by his predecessor. But none of that amounted to the government owning banks, utilities, mining companies, airlines, etc., as in truly socialist societies. If Obama is a socialist, so was his predecessor. The billboards are clearly propaganda intended to create unwarranted fear of him personally, not just of his policies.

i) Political cartoonists routinely caricature the features of the officials they lampoon. That goes with the genre. What US president hasn’t had unflattering images of himself portrayed in the media?

ii) Likewise, is Olson such an ignoramus that he imagines libertarians and conservatives reserve the “socialist” label for Obama? The “socialist” label is routinely used by libertarians and conservatives to brand big gov’t policies. Remember that FDR was called a socialist. Was that racist?

Again, I resisted the thought that any such personal attacks on the president were racially motivated—until I saw two bumper stickers on a pickup truck. They are not handwritten; they are both clearly mass produced by someone. One says “OBAMANATION” in large black letters on a white background.

i) “Obamanation” is an obvious pun. Just like puns on “Bush.”

ii) Does Roger hear racist overtones in black letters on a white background? Isn’t that the color scheme for Olson’s own blog? Aren’t his book printed in black letters on a white background? Does that make Olson as closet skinhead?

What I think is that many Americans harbor racist attitudes unconsciously. They are simply in denial about their racism.

I think Olson harbors an unconscious desire to murder coeds. Of course he adamantly deny it, but that’s cuz it’s subliminal, ya know. It’s “hidden” (even to him).

Are there racist white Americans? Sure. What about racist black Americans? Racist Latino Americans? And so on and so forth.

My opinion is that many people, including many Christians, were so shocked by the election of an African-American as president of their country that their latent racism could no longer be successfully resisted. Most of them would adamantly deny it, but I can think of no other explanation for the vitriolic nature of many of the messages I hear and read about President Obama.

In my opinion, Roger Olson is a latent serial killer. And he can’t disprove it cuz it’s latent. Like those Cylon sleeper agents.

I would like to think that Obama’s double election spells the end of racism in America.

To the contrary, it empowers black racists like Eric Holder.

The Society of Evangelical Arminians must be proud to have such a wonderful standard-bearer. The moral magnificence of Roger Olson is such a credit to their cause.


  1. In my opinion, Roger Olson is a latent serial killer. And he can’t disprove it cuz it’s latent.

    I don't know about that, but I have evidence (admittedly not *proof*) that Roger Olson is (or was) The Hamburglar.

  2. You can find inappropriate criticism of a lot of other presidents as well, as Steve mentioned. Think of all of the cartoons portraying Obama's predecessor as a monkey, for example. Even if it could be proven that there's more of that sort of thing with Obama than with any other president, why should we think racism is the explanation? Why shouldn't we conclude that it's more a matter of Obama's unusually bad record and the degree to which he's succeeded in some contexts while performing so poorly?

    Obama supported the legality of infanticide as a state senator in Illinois. He's radically liberal on abortion. He was the first president to support homosexual marriage. He's done far more to advance the homosexual movement than any other president. He's accumulated a remarkable six trillion dollars of debt within a single term. Gas prices have doubled since he took office. Unemployment was above eight percent for years on end. He was at the forefront of passing healthcare legislation that was opposed by more people than supported it, legislation that will add trillions to the national debt.

    On some of these issues, like national debt and gas prices, Obama criticized his predecessor as having an unacceptably bad record, yet Obama's record is significantly worse. Obama was taped, with both audio and video, making such comments, and he was taped saying that he could expect to be a one-term president if he didn't turn the economy around. The economy got a lot worse under his watch, but he was reelected anyway. He was reelected largely because liberals kept supporting him and were joined by a large number of low-information voters (people who vote primarily based on factors like personality, incumbency, and whatever event is most prominent in the news just before the election, like Hurricane Sandy). A president with a horrible record, a record that he said (on tape) should have made him a one-term president, was reelected by voters who couldn't provide any good reason for reelecting him. Racism is nowhere near the top of the list of most likely explanations for why people would be unusually angry under those circumstances.

    From what I can tell, race has far more to do with support for Obama than opposition to him. Think of how often liberals (like the ones on MSNBC) are talking about race, how strongly racial minorities supported Obama's reelection in spite of his horrible record, etc.

  3. The bizarre thing is, the dislike of Obama is nothing compared to the hatred of Bush. I imagine Olson and company just think it's obvious why people hated Bush - he was really terrible, you see! But Obama is this great guy, why could anyone dislike him? It must be latent racism.

    Seriously, he didn't hear the Bush-Hitler comparisons? He doesn't hear about how Bush and the right wing want to establish a theocracy?

  4. The one thing that stands out to me head and shoulders higher is the blaming every administrative failure of this administration on the preceding administrations. It seems Adam really does reign to death into the life of all the children of Eve?

    Gen 3:12 The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate."

    I know this character strait is straight away in me too.

  5. I'm Roger Olson's next-door neighbor. My address is 667 Babylon. I'm sure you can guess Olson's address. As such, I suspect Olson may be the Antichrist.

  6. I think you mean your address is 668 Babylon or perhaps 664, unless you mean live across the street from him.

  7. Of course, this assumes our neighborhood is designed in the way you have in mind, with odd numbered residences on one side of the street and evens on the other! :-)