As published, a good entertainment: Riding along on Amtrak this Monday, we received a good solid scare from a New York Times op-ed piece.
We thought Michele Bachmann was on the way out! But out in Pullman, Professor Sutton was having a different vision:
SUTTON (9/26/11): The left is in disarray while libertarianism is on the ascent. A new generation of evangelicals—well-versed in organizing but lacking moderating influences—is lining up behind hard-right anti-statists. While few of the faithful truly think that the president is the Antichrist, millions of voters, like their Depression-era predecessors, fear that the time is short. The sentiment that Mr. Obama is preparing the United States, as Roosevelt did, for the Antichrist’s global coalition is likely to grow.Candidate Bachmann has sunk quite low in the polls. But pshaw! According to Sutton, she “could well ride…into the Oval Office!” Apparently, this could well occur because “the sentiment that Mr. Obama is preparing the United States…for the Antichrist’s global coalition is likely to grow.”
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.
How fast is that sentiment likely to grow? Sutton didn't say.
Sutton’s column appeared beneath this headline: “Why the Antichrist Matters in Politics.” In principle, this is an important topic—and it did give us rubes a good fright!
That said, we were most struck by the way Sutton played the numbers in his frightening piece.
How many conservative Christians think Obama is the Antichrist? In the passage we have posted, Sutton presents his answer: “Few.” For ourselves, we have no idea what the number might be, and we certainly didn’t learn from this piece. On the other hand, Sutton quickly used a rather large number—but he changed the field of play.
“Millions of voters…fear that the time is short,” Sutton says. Within the context of the column, this means that these voters fear that the end times are near.
How near? He didn’t say.
In theory, this is a serious topic. In practice, this piece was an entertainment—and a bit of a culture war offering.
The New York Times loves such entertainments. But go ahead—read it with care. How many Christian conservatives tend to vote on a basis like this? In theory, the question is important. But through a great deal of gorilla dust, we see no sign or indication that Sutton has any idea.
Bachmann could well ride into the Oval? We see no sign or indication that this professor knows.