I read in the paper this morning that a man in Nebraska was sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder of his four-year-old son. He had a good reason, though: He believed the boy was the antichrist.
According to the story, when the man confessed to the killing, he claimed the boy had the number 666 on his forehead. Of course, since the body has yet to be found, we have no way of knowing if Dad wrote it on there with a ballpoint pen or a Sharpie.
Now, the most likely scenario is that the murderer, probably an abuse victim himself, made a habit of beating his son, went too far one day, then figured he could get off by claiming the victim was the antichrist. After all, everybody hates antichrists, right? What judge would convict a man for killing the antichrist?
I’m sure his lawyer suggested something a bit more plausible: “Bob, I think you’d be better off saying the kid slipped and fell in the bathtub. Yes, even though you hid the body, it’s got more legs than the antichrist thing. Trust me.”
Let’s face it. The “my son, the antichrist” defense might have worked in ninth-century Europe or present-day Vatican City, but fortunately, here in the mostly rational world it doesn’t fly.
However. Let’s pause for a moment and give the murderer the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say he sincerely believed the smudges on the kid’s forehead said 666 and jumped to the eschatological conclusions. It doesn’t make him any less twisted, but it does raise an interesting point. Since you have to take the Book of Revelation seriously to even believe in the concept of an antichrist, it follows that you think the whole “end times” interpretation has to play itself out, lest (gasp) the bible be proven fallible. I mean, you either believe in Revelation as prophecy or you don’t, so if you honestly believe your kid is the antichrist, where the hell do you get off killing him? Where’s the verse in Revelation that says “Then the antichrist will be born in Nebraska but will be slain before he can do anything much worse than leaving his dad’s tools out in the driveway overnight”?
Somewhere in a Nebraska prison, a big convict named Bubba has “the antichrist killer” cornered in the shower room: “When I heard you say you killed the antichrist, it made me doubt the theological beliefs I hold so dear—and I don’t appreciate that, bitch.”
I feel sorry for the victim. Whether his dad was abusive or delusional, he got cheated, badly. So parents, stop killing your kids because you think they’re the antichrist. They aren’t. Nor are they Zeus, Harry Potter, or Huckleberry Finn. Your kids might be cranky, they might need a nap, they might need a visit from Supernanny Jo Frost, but for crying out loud they aren’t the freakin antichrist.