Can We Talk About the Antichrist?
I am probably the least apocalyptic Christian alive. Whenever I’ve come across books or people that argued for this event or that as a sign of “The End,” I’ve always scoffed. For decades I’ve told people, “Don’t get your hopes up. We’ve got thousands of years of mediocrity ahead of us. Maybe more. So expect more Law & Order spin-offs, and expect them all to be as bad as SVU.”
As I wrote six (long!) years ago:
If only things were so dramatic and exciting, the stakes so high and sides so clear. Were the package labeled “Life” affixed with a clear expiration date, many worries we face would fade into insignificance. Knowing that the world would end in the next 666 days, I wouldn’t be quite so bitter about what 2008 did to my 401k, or concerned about the cancer stats in my family. Because, lucky me, I would perish with the rest of the world in a cosmic fireball — or be raptured up to Jesus. Either way, I’d never end up on a morphine drip like my mom and dad.
Perhaps I’ve felt this way because I lived through the chaotic, urine-soaked, crime spree and urban dystopia that was New York City, from the 1970s through the early 1990s. Our first ATM machines got immediately colonized by aggressive derelicts. They’d pretend to be doormen and shake their “tip” cups menacingly in our faces. Women wouldn’t ride the subways or walk the streets at night. The Kurt Russell futuristic film, Escape from New York, which pictured Manhattan as one big filthy prison, seemed a likely forecast. It’s impossible to startle me, because I expect people to jump out at me from behind things. My instinct is just to shrug.
But one mayoral election turned all that around. Order returned to New York City, and the place rose from the ashes. (I once told a Giuliani official that I felt like we lived in a chaotic ex-colony where the British suddenly came back and ran up the Union Jack.)
Now the city’s so nice I can’t even afford to live there. My old, drab blue-collar neighborhood up and priced me out of the market. There was only a brief, 15-year window when the city was both safe enough to be civilized, and plausibly affordable.
So I expect things to move in cycles. I’m not inclined to see “The End” of the world or even the country around the corner. I feel in my bones that the Democrats have made an awful mistake. Once a mainstream, patriotic political party, they’re now like a huge fringe party run by a cult. Years ago it was a bitter, unfair joke to say that the Democratic party was committed to infanticide, open borders, socialism, the destruction of the Constitution and the erasure of our history. Now that’s not even opinion. It’s just reporting.
I see President Trump poised to win re-election in four years, and retake Congress. The economy is stronger than it has been since before 2008. We’re not in any new stupid wars (see George W. Bush), and we’re not being regularly humiliated on the world stage (see Barack Obama). Trump’s policies aren’t far to the right of where the Democrats’ were in 1996, when Bill Clinton dominated our politics. The American public has not gone wholesale crazy. But the Democratic Party, our colleges, many corporate CEOs and social media companies have.
Trump’s election in the teeth of the opinion polls disrupted the smooth transition from Obama to Hillary, and the “fundamental transformation” of America. Our elites reacted so bitterly and viciously to this rejection by the people that they gave the green light to the left’s radical fringes. Progressives have laid all their cards flat on the table. They want to flood the country with impoverished immigrants, silence Christians online, take all our guns, close our churches, and sit our kids down for story hours with drag queens.
That shouldn’t be a winning formula. I think that 2020 is Donald Trump’s to lose. There is one way he could actually blow this thing, though.
Getting Us Into a Stupid War
That is, any war at all not started by a foreign country attacking Americans directly. I feel for the people of Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and Ukraine. But the President should remember how the Iraq War completely swallowed George W. Bush’s presidency. And its failure helped guarantee the election of Barack Obama, and a Democratic Congress. You can thank the Iraq War for every judge Obama appointed to the Supreme Court, and so for same-sex marriage and the subsequent erosion of religious liberty. When a president goes to war, he isn’t just risking the lives of thousands of Americans. (And millions of foreign civilians.) He’s also placing his political fate in the hands of unpredictable foreigners.
The Hashtag of the Beast
Too much rides on keeping the Democrats from turning the U.S. itself into Venezuela for Trump to take any such risks. It shouldn’t be this way, but the Democratic party has revealed itself as a dangerous extremist organization that cannot be trusted with power. We literally cannot afford to see another Democrat president, until and unless that party returns to patriotism and sanity.
And the thought that these people, who have shown us their true colors in the past two years, could take control of the levers of Leviathan once again? Well, that actually gets me started in thinking apocalyptic thoughts. (Well, that and the screaming heresy of the actual pope, but that’s another column.)
Do you know what really creeps me out? It’s not so much the prospect of government persecution. The Church has endured that before, and outlived most of the regimes which tried to wipe it out. (Most, not all. The Muslim persecutions in the Middle East and North Africa were mostly successful, in the end.)
It’s the fact that private industry is now getting in on the game. That banks and credit card companies are denying service to legal gun-makers. And refusing to take donations for critics of Islam. Silencing pro-life groups, then silencing the media watchdogs who reported on it. There’s no national vote coming up where we can rally to stop these abuses. They’re the work of an open conspiracy, of an arrogant oligarchy. And we feel powerless to stop it. We can’t boycott everything….
And that brings me to the bible verse which actually gives me chills:
Also [the beast] causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. (Rev. 13: 16-17)
Notice that the passage doesn’t talk about the government. It’s private industry, the “market” which enforces the great apostasy on believers.
Now consider that there are more Facebook users on earth today than Christians.
The most monstrous face of persecution we have to confront will not be Caesar, but Mammon.