"Father Elijah" Redux

From Michael O'Brien, author of "Father Elijah"

Dear Friends,

From just north of the border, we Canadians, like other people throughout
the world, are observing and praying for the coming federal election in the
United States of America. I would prefer to keep private my counsel about
political choices, because it is not my country. However, I am receiving
letters from American subscribers and visitors to my studio website asking
me some rather surprising questions about Barack Obama, related to one of my

During the past year I have read a number of his pronouncements, and saw the
smoke and mirrors beneath the rhetoric, but couldn't understand why everyone
south of the border (the other south of the border, the 49th parallel) was
getting so excited about him, both pro and con. Then a few weeks ago a
German friend called me immediately after Obama's speech in Berlin, to say
that the presidential candidate had mesmerized the crowds, and that a
commentator on German television had said: "We have just heard the next
President of the United States...and the future President of the World." My
friend felt that Obama bore an uncanny resemblance to the fictional
character of the President in my novel *Father Elijah*. I have received
several other letters saying the same thing and asking what I thought about

From my own reading of Obama's declarations and stated positions, I knew he
was an ultra-liberal, a social revolutionary with visionary pretensions. But
the Antichrist? No, not possible, I thought. I felt that he was too shallow
a man to be the Son of Perdition, the Man of Sin, the Beast of the Book of
Revelation. And I still think so. Obama is a crowd-pleaser with just the
right ethos of idealistic crusader. That the crusade and the banners under
which it marches are evil does not automatically prove that he is the

But now that I have seen the video of the Berlin speech I think there is
more here than meets the eye. He is indeed a powerful manipulator of crowds,
even as he appears ever so humble and wholesomely charming. I doubt that he
is the long-prophesied ruler of the world, but I also believe that he is a
carrier of a deadly moral virus, indeed a kind of anti-apostle spreading
concepts and agendas that are not only anti-Christ but anti-human as well.
In this sense he is of the spirit of Antichrist (perhaps without knowing
it), and probably is one of several key figures in the world who (knowingly
or unknowingly) will be instrumental in ushering in the time of great trial
for the Church under its last and worst persecution, amidst the numerous
other tribulations prophesied in the books of Daniel and Revelation, and
letters of St Paul, St. John, and St. Peter.

Of course the mystique that has grown up around him is endlessly reinforced
by the liberal media, which presents him to us as a high-minded humanist, a
kind of secular messiah (see the *Catechism of the Catholic Church*, n.
675). Yet when all the rhetoric is boiled down to its substance, the man is
advocating unlimited state-sanctioned murder, and compounds it by indulging
in habitual falsehood. He is well accustomed to playing loose with the truth
whenever it is expedient for him to do so; or else he is the victim of the
largest memory lapses in recorded history; or perhaps he is just not careful
about how he expresses things—a blurring or selectivity regarding facts for
the purpose of aggrandizing his public image. There is a controversy
currently raging in the (admittedly unreliable) forum of the internet,
prompted by an African-American talk show host in Los Angeles who listed 39
significant details that Barack Obama claimed were facts about himself, but
on fu! rther investigation were proved to be simply untrue. There has been
some wild-fire debunking of the debunking, and then more counter-debunking,
but it remains obvious that forthrightness and clarity are not major
concerns in the Obama camp.

What are we to make of a man who has appeared out of semi-obscurity and
become, nearly overnight, so very much an idol of the popular imagination?
That he intends to become the most effective advocate of murder of the
unborn ever seen in America should give us pause. Murder and lies are as old
as the lands east of Eden, of course, but when they are charmingly packaged,
proposed as reasonable and just policies (with a smile, a resonant voice,
and an appealing flash of the eyes), one begins to wonder just what is afoot
in the modern age. It brings to mind a passage from the first Act of
Shakespeare's *Hamlet*:

"That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain..."

The line is from a scene where prince Hamlet has just encountered the ghost
of his father, who informs his son that he was poisoned by his own brother
Claudius (the "smiling, damned villain"), who after murdering him, seized
the king's crown and his queen.

Barack Obama is an image-maker, creating his own myth as he goes along. This
would be a sad defect in any human being, but it takes on ominous
proportions in a person who may become, after November 4th, one of the most
powerful figures in the world. How is it possible that such a tragic turn of
events may come about, if indeed a majority of Americans choose to believe
the smile and the myth? Why is it that so many people have come to believe
that a mirage is reality, even destiny? Do pro-Obama voters hanker for a
world figure who would heal old divisions between races and religions, thus
heralding a new age for mankind? During this time of near intolerable
tensions, does he appear to be the one who can reconcile Islam and
Christianity, Africa and America, occident and orient, black and white, rich
and poor? Do they see his racial origins as a symbolic victory over the
history of racial oppression? Do they see in him the good-hearted
"under-dog", the gutsy street fi! ghter who agitates for the rights of the
"little guy," whose meteoric rise to a position of maximum influence
represents themselves enthroned at last in the high seat of power? Is this
why they ignore his every grave fault and hungrily consume his vague
idealist platitudes as if these were a kind of new gospel for the third
millennium? Our hero. Our visionary. Our Great Friend and spokesman in the
forum of the world?

Clearly, contemporary man needs heroes. But why not choose a genuine one,
why not look a little deeper and work a little harder to find a man of
courage *and *principle, and if it helps in the historical healing process,
why not a very different kind of black man, say a person like Alan Keyes, a
scholar, former ambassador, experienced in different levels of government,
and (it might be added) an African-American married to a woman from India.
Moreover, he is a devout Catholic who believes in moral absolutes and has
amply proved that he will stand firm to defend them regardless of the cost
to his own career. He knows that kings and presidents cannot usurp the
natural law, the moral order of the universe, without bringing down judgment
upon their nations. But it need not be Keyes. It might be any number of
other men and women of clear thought and clear principle. Surely there are
"Ten Just Men" still out there somewhere in America. So why Obama? And why
does he ! rise and rise as his mouth smiles and smiles, exuding sincerity as
he speaks lies and death?

And why, most horribly, most shamefully, are so many Christians of malformed
or unformed conscience supporting him? Is it because they have never been
clearly instructed in the truth, never understood the foundation upon which
the moral cosmos is built? Is morality for them merely another system of
abstract "values" in a crowded playing field of such systems, from which one
may pick and choose? In the case of Catholics, for example, have they been
blinded by a diet of theological nuances and deadly little loopholes offered
to them by the committees of national episcopal conferences — committees
that have absolutely no authority over Catholics, yet which are widely
revered as a kind of alternative Magisterium? Have they been deadened by a
habitual dismissing or dissembling of the solid teaching given to them by
the universal Church under Peter? Have they grown accustomed to listening to
opinion shapers who tell them that certain excellent apostolic Bishops in !
America who teach the truth without compromise are merely hidebound
reactionaries, moralistic extremists, contemporary manifestations of those
old boogymen who still haunt the American psyche — the Chillingworths and
Dimmesdales and the judges in *The Scarlet Letter*? And so it goes, this
over-reaction to Puritanism played out over centuries, an over-reaction that
breeds tragedies a thousand times worse than Salem's. Lies compounding on
lies, and it all floats on an ocean of spilled innocent blood. And who can
gaze at that ocean (or be splashed by it) without coming to a radical
choice: One either turns away into a deeper state of denial, or one turns
heart and mind toward the splendor of Truth, and changes one's life

Is this why many of our Catholic people have become impulse-driven
impressionists? Of course, the blindness is not due to the failure of
pastors alone. The Ministry of Disinformation (by which I mean most modern
media) has played a major role. There is also the erosion of truth in the
education systems, combined with the gradual confusion and weakening of
conscience through our addiction to the "soma" drugs supplied by the
entertainment industry. Other factors may be the war in Iraq, or Republican
economics, or the Bush administration, or the structure of Capitalism
itself, or any number of prudential questions in the sociopolitical order,
all of which are presently tangled nests of moral dilemma. But why do they
not see that these questions are secondary to the fundamental issue of life
itself? Why would they replace one reigning oligarchy with another kind of
oligarchy — moreover, one that would kill vast numbers of its own citizens?

"I call on heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before
you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and
your descendants may live...." (Deuteronomy 30:19)

May God bless and guide you,
in Jesus our Saviour,

with prayers and fasting,

Michael O'Brien

PS: For those interested in a concise examination of the moral parameters of
voting in the forthcoming election, I urge you to read an excellent article
by Dr. Mark Miravalle, professor of Theology at Franciscan University,

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