For God so loves the world, He tolerates bad PR.
There is an email making rounds in Christian quarters heralding the return of Jesus Christ. Which is good news, really – except for the fact that Barack Obama is purportedly the Anti-Christ, signing into law a bill that will reduce citizens of America into micro-chipped zombies.
No, really. Accompanied by an indiscriminate image of the President of the United States of America signing a document in the company of suited men, and, titled ominously ‘The Mark Of The Beast’, the email expounds an entirely mythical connection between Obama’s Health Care and the common interpretation of chapter 13 verses 15-18 of the book of Revelations in the Bible.
15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six.
Making no mention of where in Obama’s Health Care is detailed such an astonishing proposition, the author of the email reports with assumed accuracy, the existence of a Radio Frequency Identification device ready for mass and forced implantation in Biblically forewarned anatomical areas.
Hopping from one foot to another, wringing hands together and in tones of intense agony this well-meaning author implores Christians to GET READY!…NOW! The performance is followed by a brief dramatic sketch in which is proclaimed in tones worthy of John the Baptist – ‘repent and be converted!’.
Finally, with a flash of ingenuity, expecting – no doubt – appreciation for his literary prowess, the author adds – ‘If you miss heaven you can never miss hell.’ (wink, wink) The dreadful structure of that sentence outweighs its awful connotations, and brings me to affirm my belief that Jesus – of all mankind – has the worst PR ever.
Even Obama got it right. The White House, on it’s website reports that the Affordable Care Act was signed by President Barack Obama on the 23rd of March 2010 (the email insists 23rd March 2013) and is aimed at more affordable coverage, better access to care, stronger care and stronger consumer rights and protections.
Obama’s team has taken PR the extra mile by dedicating an entire webpage to addressing myths and misinformation surrounding health reform, including fear that tax dollars will be used to fund abortion and that health reform will lead to government takeover of health care. So far off-base is the apocalyptic warning and attached entreaty circulating the webosphere, it has been completely ignored.
[Snopes.com however, the ‘definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumours and misinformation’ has taken the time to establish this particular email a hoax; in circulation since 2010. ]
Granted, Jesus is coming soon. But we’re expecting other visitors too: the Maitreya Buddha is expected to make an appearance sometime in the future, the arrival of Vishnu’s tenth avatar Sri Kalki is anticipated and the Dalai Lama is not some outlandish mountain creature, but a frequent flyer. But it would seem that Jesus’s PR team is most worried about the competition.
Most Christian, unsure of how to verify the accuracy of these claims, drank the kool-aid, for, Drinking Kool-Aid is convenient to those racing to heaven.
[Interestingly, this metaphor rose in (part) conjunction with the Jonestown Massacre of 1978, when 909 Christians were encouraged to commit mass suicide by drinking cyanide laced kool-aid by the enigmatic Reverend Jim Jones of the People’s Temple, making it the largest loss of civilian life in the history of America before the events of September 11th]
And there is nothing wrong with wanting to get to heaven. But using fear as a means to an end is just unclassy, and so is the deliberate manipulation and dissemination of misinformation. So, if I had to vote, in the Jesus vs Obama PR showdown, Obama wins.