President Obama – 100 days in office
Cranmer is not remotely inclined to agree with all those circulating rumours of the Right that the sheen has somehow come off the Obama presidency and that his halo has slipped. They are the superficial assertions of lazy journalists; not the considered opinions of astute political observers. With the news that a Republican senator has defected to the Democrats, this is not a presidency with a diminishing aura, but an enduring salvation message of ‘change’ which continues to chime with the American people and with the world.
President Obama’s 100th day in office is being commemorated in New York with the unveiling of ‘The Truth’ – a painting by Michael D'Antuono showing the President wearing a crown of thorns, arms outstretched, parting the veil. It is all distinctly messianic and utterly blasphemous.
There is some discussion about whether he is revealing or concealing, and whether he is being crucified or glorified. But the drapes are clearly hanging drawn above him; they were therefore closed and are now open. And there is no blood, no anguish, no passion; just a slight bashful grin as he turns his head to his good side for the camera. The picture is a glorifying parousia.
The artist calls 'The Truth' a ‘politically, religiously and socially-charged statement on our nation's current political climate and deep partisan divide that is sure to create a dialogue’.
In our postmodern, post-Christian, pluralist, relativist world, truth is many-sided, and any attempt to prefix it with the definite article moves politics into the realms of ‘extremist’ religion and immutable dogma. President Obama is certainly a way, imparting a truth about a particular way of life. But the definite articles remain with Christ. There is, of course, nothing new about Barack Obama being hailed as ‘The One’, and this painting follows the sculpture by Matthew J Clark which portrayed the President entering Washington riding on a donkey, preceded by waving palm leaves.
The artist said: "This project was inspired by my thoughts about 'icons' and religious symbols and whether they represent truth or merely represent." He added: “The sculpture poses a question that relates to social conventions, metaphysics, and the collective response of society in reaction to fearful and uncertain times, but doesn't impose an answer. For me, it has much more to do with the general public as followers than any leader granted power."
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said when President Obama talks ‘the Messiah is absolutely speaking’.
The Nation of Islam clearly does not know much about Islam.
But the President is not doing much to give the glory to God. Indeed, his speeches purposely perpetuate the euphoria, and the scriptural allusions are intrinsic to his message of political salvation. Back in January he said: “...a light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany, and you will suddenly realise that you must go to the polls and vote’ Obama.
And so he has become a religious experience. He continues to mesmerise, and there is no indication that he is waning. Obama worship is akin to Diana worship. We do not do it (yet) to our politicians, but there were hints of it in the coming of Blair, and there is now a religio-political longing for Cameron.
Cranmer shall not examine President Obama’s accomplishments or his failings, for they are utterly subsumed to the primacy of personality. Postmodern politics is not about the fulfilment of political policy, but the feeling of politico-spiritual salvation. The advent of Barack Obama is most certainly not the Second Coming of our Saviour and our Redeemer, the Prince of Peace and King of Kings. But neither is he the Antichrist. He is accomplishing the political equivalent of walking on water, feeding the 5000, and making the blind see.
As the Conservative Party learns to interpret the signs of the times, its hour approacheth nigh.