Worshiping political leaders is not a new thing. From the Egyptians and the Romans to Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong the citizenry were called on to worship their leaders. Dominus et Deus Noster, “Our Lord and God” was attributed to the Roman emperor to Domitian, who served as Emperor from AD 81 to 96.
So it doesn’t come as a surprise to me that someone like Al Sharpton would call for the same type of adulation. Newsbusters reports the following:
“Have a look at the image of President Obama that Al Sharpton repeatedly displayed during a segment of his MSNBC show . . . on the theme that the Obama agenda on immigration and gun control is gaining traction.
“It shows a stern-faced President Obama superimposed against the backdrop of a massive crowd. At one point, Sharpton displayed a graphic reading ‘Taking Control.’”
This is exactly what people like Sharpton want — a man of their liking and who will do their bidding and implement a specific agenda that fits with their present political values. But once the first Caesar “takes control,” there will be a succession of Caesars who will dismiss the first king makers and replace them with those of his own choosing.
Chris Rock offered a similar form of corporate adulation. Speaking at a Washington function promoting Obama’s proposed gun control reforms, the comedian said the following:
“The President and the First Lady are kind of like the mom and the dad of the country. And when your dad says something, you listen. And when you don’t, it usually bites you in the ass later on. So I’m here to support the president.”
Now if this were George Bush, Rock would be singing a different tune. It’s because Rock agrees with the President that he can say this, and because there are many fatherless young blacks in our nation, it might appeal to them. They’re looking for a father image. Herbert Schlossberg discusses this malady in his book Idols for Destruction:
“The paternal state not only feeds its children, but nurtures, educates, comforts, and disciplines them, providing all they need for their security. This appears to be a mildly insulting way to treat adults, but it is really a great crime because it transforms the state from being a gift of God, given to protect us against violence, into an idol. It supplies us with all blessings, and we look to it for all our needs. Once we sink to that level, as [C.S.] Lewis says, there is no point in telling state officials to mind their own business. ‘Our whole lives are their business.’ The paternalism of the state is that of the bad parent who wants his children dependent on him forever. That is an evil impulse. The good parent prepares his children for independence, trains them to make responsible decisions, knows that he harms them by not helping them to break loose. The paternal state thrives on dependency. When the dependents free themselves, it loses power. It is, therefore, parasitic on the very persons whom it turns into parasites. Thus, the state and its dependents march symbiotically [in close union with one another] to destruction.”
- C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, ed. Walter Hooper (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970), 314. [↩]
- Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, , 1993), 184. [↩]