Obama: Ally of the Diabolical
That’s how Michael Voris, self-knighted champion of Real Catholicism, describes the president. In this worldview, President Obama is quite literally, if unwittingly allying himself with Satan’s ultimate desire to overturn the divinely-ordained natural order, destroy the Church, enthrone chaos, and establish the diabolical worship of Satan in place of God. Obama is in league with the demonic, an agent of the devil. Voris derives this conclusion from Obama’s “war against what is natural,” his plan to unravel the natural order, “the reversal of that which is natural, the metaphysical beauty of existence.” Obama “does all this at the service of his master, for he is in possession of the diabolical mind.”
I hasten to say this “theological” vision of the American political landscape is not representative of the religion which Voris prides himself on defending with sword and fire. Why bother with him, then? His influence is close to nil, but he’s not alone in thinking this way about the president and about politics, and he articulates this outlook with remarkable clarity and conciseness.
Voris may seem especially “out there” when it comes to religious and political commentary, but what he says fits well within the trend of conceiving President Obama as an ” enemy other.” Yesterday I wrote about Princeton professor Robert George’s assertions that Obama offers a political model that is radically at odds with the “historic, traditional, American, constitutional model” of the country. Rick Santorum, who like Voris sees the hand of Satan attacking America, has proposed that Obama is motivated by a phony theology not based on the Bible. And of course we all remember the demands for Obama’s birth certificate and speculations about his real religion.
Having said all this, I would be remiss to downplay the differences between Obama’s worldview and the vision of the universe as seen by Catholicism, the religion to which Voris, George, Santorum, and I belong. Obviously Obama calls good what Catholics call evil, and wrong what they call good. The principles that guide Obama are not the principles of our church, which is not surprising: Obama isn’t a Catholic. He’s a fairly secular Christian, as far as I can tell. His policies have created enmity between him and some Catholics, and I personally disagree with him about a great number of things, but I wouldn’t call him un-American or an agent of satanic powers. He seems, in his better moments, to want to do the right thing. He’d have done much worse in the past few years if he actually were in possession of an unnatural, diabolical mind.
For reasons I haven’t entirely figured out, Obama provokes what I might call theo-political overreach. On the one hand you have Voris, fighting desperately for a purified Church to stand against the onslaughts of Obama and the rest of the devil’s agents. On the other you have the reactionary utopian dream of Taylor Marshall, who imagines an America that’s fully Catholic, has no separation of Church and State, in which the religious signs and observances of Catholicism would be incorporated into the country’s political life, and in which sins contrary to the natural law would be criminalized. Perhaps Voris and Marshall would have promoted their theological politics with the same fervency had McCain won the election. I can’t rule that out, but both of them are clearly reacting to the Obama presidency. With Catholicism front and center in this election season, I’m curious to see what kind of sway, if any, these theo-political worldviews have upon culture, discourse, and the presidential election.