Last week action star Chuck Norris (and his wife) made news with a political ad containing a "dog whistle" remark. In this context, a dog whistle is a phrase that is too vague to be understood by "outsiders" but makes a statement of ideological solidarity for "insiders".
The phrase that caused the stir was made by his wife, Gena. After quoting the (now) iconic Ronald Reagan, Gena Norris claims that Americans will send their children on the "first step to a thousand years of darkness" if they re-elect President Obama. You can view the full ad here; see especially the statements made from 1:40 to 2:00.
After reading several network reports and blogs on this statement, it became clear to me that this dog whistle was especially effective. Very few national reporters or political analysts were able to decipher what she was talking about. Keith Olbermann (who takes himself way too seriously for a former ESPN anchor) was convinced that "darkness" was a racial dog whistle in reference to Obama's "blackness". Others suggested that the phrase was hyperbole connoting a possible era of American socialism. But the contextualization necessary to understand this phrase is Revelation 20:1-7.
The interpreter who came closest to the mark suggested that the Bible predicts that Satan will reign for 1000 years before the apocalypse. But this isn't quite right since it is Christ who will reign for 1000 years, not Satan. This had me perplexed. Was Gena Norris drawing from some other tradition which taught that the antichrist would rule for 1000 years?
It wasn't until I read the KJV of Rev 20:3 that it occurred to me: "And cast him [the Devil/Satan] into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season."
The imagery is obvious enough: Satan will be shut up in the pit (i.e. darkness) during this 1000 year rule of Christ. Could it be that the Norris's are saying that folks who vote for Obama will be sending their children into the abyss with Satan?
What interests me most is the eschatology implicit in this claim... somehow, voting Americans can force God's hand into fulfilling Revelation 20. Are we to believe that voting republicans can stay God's hand?