America has long been a source of fascinating conspiracy theories (Roswell, Elvis found on the moon, Michael Jackson seen at Wal-Mart) but this story about the Pope is trumps because it takes conspiracy theories into a place where conspiracy theories abound plenty enough -the Vatican. A tapestry of Roman embroidery of evil and good in modern time has been woven by an American church which says that it follows closely the teachings of Martin Luther.
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) thinks that the Pope is the Anti-Christ. This story has made the news because the Republican Presidential contender, Michele Bachmann, used to attend this church. A statement released by WELS states that:
'As Martin Luther grew in his appreciation of the gospel, he also grew in his recognition that the Papacy is the Antichrist...It was because Luther cherished the Gospel so dearly that his faith instinctively recoiled and protested in umistakable terms when the Pope put himself in the place of Christ and declared his work insufficient and in vain.'
This story has been carried by The Economist who take the view that 'anti', in this case, has not been taken to mean as being 'hostile to' but, rather, to mean 'instead of'. In other words, the Pope is being accused of seeing himself as Christ. Not for one second do I believe that either this Pope or previous ones have meant to do this. My research also shows that many Lutherans do not believe the 'Antichrist' theory either. Just as well, there are enough real devils in the world without us having to fight ones that don't carry forks.