Why the AntiChrist Matters in Politics

by J. Michael Utzinger

Matthew Sutton's reflections on the antichrist and American politics can be found in today's New York Times under the title "Why the Antichrist matters in Politics." There is some great food for thought here including how dispensational premillennialism (Sutton wisely didn't use this term in an op-ed) feeds anti-government sentiment. He also suggests that a power vacuum among politically oriented evangelicals have allowed libertarians and Tea Party activists (like Bachmann, Perry, and Paul) to exploit evangelical energies without the type of religious leadership (previously seen in individuals like Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell) who tempered the tendency toward apocalyptic excess. Perhaps a throw-away line, but I appreciated the analogy with Marxism to explain apparent tensions within the evangelical between expectation and action. After all, to those of us who study apocalypticism historically, it is easy to see Marxism as a secularized form of Christian apocalypticism (albeit a this-worldly type). The whole piece can be found here.

Update from Paul: Matt is going appear this evening on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell, via satellite. Check your local listings!

Update from Kelly: Here's the clip!


Edward J. Blum said…
really nice piece, Matt. I think your point about a leadership vacuum among conservative white evangelicals is a really good one. There is no longer THE individual evangelicals point to (used to be Billy Graham, right) and then those seemingly designated by that leader. Curious times we still live in.
"Barring the rapture, Mrs. Bachmann or Mr. Perry could well ride the apocalyptic anti-statism of conservative Christians into the Oval Office. Indeed, the tribulation may be upon us."

Best concluding paragraph ever. Well done, Matt. Well done, NYT.
Paul Harvey said…
Man, is this Sutton's week. He goes 2-1 for the season in fantasy, his hated opponents in the league lose (except for me :) ), then someone decides to provide a living illustration of his point:

Tom Van Dyke said…
"How tightly their strident anti-statism will connect with evangelical apocalypticism remains to be seen."

The hole in the donut of the essay.

Walter Russell Mead has a more temperate take.

Matt Sutton said…
Thanks guys for the kind words!
Edward J. Blum said…
Great work on MS-NBC. Way to make our profession look good!
Luke Harlow said…
Great essay; just watched the MSNBC clip. Congratulations all around, Matt!
Randall said…
Wonderful work on the tube! And I enjoyed the essay!

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