Democrats in the House have just passed a resolution affirming that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Where did the "birther" conspiracy theory originate ? Joseph Farrah of WorldNetDaily has claimed a key role in promoting the discredited conspiracy theory that Barack Obama isn't a US citizen, but the roots of this brand of conspiricism go beyond Farrah's far-right wing tabloid vendetta.
As Dave Johnson of Open Left nails it,
"The root of the "forged Obama birth certificate" idea is that Obama was created as part of a Jewish-Communist conspiracy to take over the United States...
We all know that the "birthers" are gaining momentum. Senator Inhofe is pushing it now. CNN and FOX have people pushing it on the air. The followers of the conspiracy theory are becoming increasingly fanatical. It's all over YouTube."
But, there's one word I'd add to Johnson's description ;
"The root of the "forged Obama birth certificate" idea is that Obama was created as part of a SATANIC Jewish-Communist conspiracy to take over the United States..."
You see, the "Birther" conspiracy theory is based in apocalyptic Christian conspiracy narratives claiming that an antichrist figure will soon arise to lead an evil, bloody, tyrannical 'New World Order' police state.
The thrust is an attempt to de-legitimate the federal government. Such conspiricism often leads to veiled or even blatant threats against federal government officials, and one purveyor of Christian apocalyptic anti-government conspiracy theory with high-level connections in the Pentagon and Congress (who claims Senator Lindsay Graham as a "point man") recently issued a veiled threat against the life of Barack Obama [see: 1, 2 ]
In March 2009, a dedicated search at the YouTube.com video hosting web site, on the two terms "New World Order" and "Obama", produced over 50,000 results. Today on July 26, 2009, the same search produces over 90,000 results. Within weeks, the same YouTube search will net 100,000. Some of the YouTube NWO videos have had millions of views.
Although there are secularized versions of New World Order conspiracy narrative, the conspiracy theory genre is at base a religious one. These YouTube NWO videos tend to associate Barack Obama with the forces of absolute evil, suggesting Obama is either an antichrist or "false prophet" figure or, probably more commonly, that Obama is a key player in a conspiracy to create a world totalitarian system which, in religious versions of the NWO conspiracy narrative, will be led by a murderous antichrist figure soon to dominate the world political stage.
NWO conspiracy theories typically are interwoven with Christian apocalyptic End-Time narratives predicting the immanent arrival, on the world stage, of a satanic world ruler who will come to power promising peace but instead implement a savage and bloody reign of tyranny.
Then, either a) Christians will be "raptured" up to heaven after which Jesus Christ will return to Earth to overthrow the evil regime or, in an increasingly common version of the narrative, b) Christians themselves will take up arms, overthrow the evil world regime, cleanse the world of all evil including ideological foes, and implement a thousand-year utopian Biblical theocracy. The latter doctrine is promoted by Sarah Palin's key Alaska church, the Wasilla Assembly of God.
New World Order conspiracy theories are nothing new, but the sheer scale and range of the current outbreak of NWO conspiricism may be unprecedented. The rise of the Internet and its ability to facilitate homespun rich-media productions has given right wing conspiracy theorists a powerful new tool for spreading anti-government sentiment.
Tens of millions of Americans are intimately familiar with interwoven New World Order / Christian apocalyptic end-time narratives, which have for decades in some cases been preached from megachurch pulpits, by Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee and other prominent evangelists.
Hagee's sermons go out over Christian broadcast networks that now can reach into upward of a hundred million households globally. Other Christian networks that unabashedly broadcast New World Order conspiracy theory have even broader reach; GodTV, headquartered in Jerusalem, claims its broadcasts can reach four hundred million people worldwide.
Under the rubric of a religious narrative, clad in thinly coded "Biblical prophecy" form, opponents of the current presidential administration are able to undercut and demonize Barack Obama, associating the president with absolute evil. During the Clinton Administration, such NWO demonizing played a substantial, and some would say primary, role in motivating those American citizens who formed independent militias and even carried out acts of domestic and anti-government terrorism.
[for the full version of this story, see here.
For one of the most authoritative treatments of apocalyptic conspiricism and its relationship to US right wing movements, see Political Research Associates Head Analyst Chip Berlet's PRA series Dances With Devils]