January 20, 2009

Apostolic Disputes Over the Divine and/or Trinitarian Status of Barack Obama

A serious difference of views has now surfaced in ?movement conservative? circles, and I wish that some authoritative voice of the global democratic church would furnish me with the proper theological formulation. According to yesterday?s New York Post, ?Barack Obama and the country itself stands on the shoulder of giants,? and the greatest of these giants is Martin Luther King, whose radiant greatness must be ?measured not only in the tangible accomplishments of the civil-rights movement but also in the hopes entrusted in America?s new young president.? Presumably this is what I have to believe in order to work at Murdoch?s NYP or Heritage, Human Events, and any other fixture of the neoconservative empire.

But now there is a theological complication. ?Movement conservative? authority Charles Krauthammer, upon returning from Obama?s banquet tendered for neocon cognoscenti, announced on FOX a new ?conservative? theology. My question is this: Is Krauthammer correct in what he has said about the godhead? Or is he (and these words do not come trippingly to my lips) a heresiarch? It seems that Obama enjoys a higher ontological importance in Krauthammer?s theology than the two other divine persons who preceded him chronologically, namely, Lincoln and Martin Luther King. In Krauthammer?s statement of dogma, American history ?forms an arc going from Lincoln the Emancipator through King?s ?I Have a Dream Speech? down to Obama?s inauguration.?

In the Obama epiphany we are led to believe one finds the fulfillment of American spiritual progress from the bad old times onward. Although Krauthammer does concede to Lincoln the honor of being ?by far our greatest president,? it might be argued that his order of the objects of worship is not really received truth. He considers what for movement conservatives had been a derivative divinity, namely Obama, as the one who overshadows his precursors. If I interpret all of this accurately, Obama is arriving at a last stage in the perfection of American society, understood as an egalitarian experiment, and so he is accorded a higher rank than the positions bestowed on his co-deities. Was Kraut merely reacting to the sumptuous victuals and oily praise at the dinner George Will was asked to arrange? Perhaps he would have been as theologically lavish, had Lincoln or MLK done the same for him. Or is he trying to alter the permanent things in our American conservative treasure of truths?

There are already much admired public intellectuals who have weighed in on the side of the FOX creed. Last night, for example, I heard Beyonc?, Jennifer Lopez, and some other performer at a pre-inaugural event all express the theological opinion that Obama ?is the greatest ever; he?s our hope.? As everyone should know, American conservatism teaches what is truly invariable. What is less certain is that all conservatives who are still in the movement cleave to the same Trinitarian dogma. Perhaps it is time to start throwing more people off the bus lest movement conservatives lapse into grievous error. But first we have to determine the true opinion to be upheld under threat of damnation. Is it the one given in the editorial in the NYP or the one that Krauthammer uttered as a FOX contributor?

To muddy the turbid waters even more, FOX last night ran pictures of MLK with citations from his speeches. These were inserted during the solemn Sean Hannity hour at the rate of about once every thirty seconds. Does this indicate that not everyone on FOX shares the Trinitarian teachings of Charles Krauthammer and Beyonc?? I wish that everything could be made simple again; and that we as conservatives would be free to worship MLK as a deity while thanking Lincoln for having eradicated bigoted Southern slave-owners. Conservative theology is getting so complicated these days that we may soon need a catechism to figure out eternal truths.

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