Monday, August 27, 2007

The Bible as a Weapon

I grew up learning to love my neighbor, and to turn the other cheek; that God is Love, and various other Biblical truths. While I have read the Bible, I confess I didn't remember Psalm 109. For those of you who share my ignorance, Psalm 109 is where the Bible teaches about imprecatory prayer, or prayer for the misfortune of God's enemies.

Why was I reminded about imprecatory prayer? Because a Southern Baptist Preacher has declared it time to resort to imprecatory prayer against the Americans United For Separation of Church and State. And what has this group done to invoke the wrath of God (at least, in Reverend Drake's mind)? They asked the IRS to probe the tax-exempt status of Drake's congregation. You see, generally, churches are tax-exempt, which carries with it the burden of not being able to campaign for political candidates. It turns out that Rev. Drake issued a statement endorsing Mike Huckabee as a presidential candidate.

From the article:
Drake told his supporters that he attempted to talk to Americans United for the Separation of Church and State about the issue. He cited a verse from the Gospel of Matthew that says "if your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you." Drake said his efforts were rebuffed.
Drake did not say, according to the article, what sin was actually committed by the group. From what I can gather from the LA Times Article linked above, though, the sin committed was asking a government agency to look into potential improper (illegal?) actions by a person/organization. In other words, urging one entity to obey the law and check into another entity's possible illegal activity is a sin against God. Well, maybe not against God, but against Reverend Drake, apparently. You see, the imprecatory prayer is to be used against God's enemies, but that doesn't necessarily mean that someone who has pissed off a Baptist preacher from Buena Park is God's enemy, just that preacher's (also from the article).

It's a shame when religious leaders use religion to attack, instead of trying to persuade. It's even more shameful when religious leaders invoke their Deity to counterattack inquiries into that leader's potential improper action.

1 comment:

Just Wondering said...

I guess the good reverend also conveniently left out the part from those Matthew verses wherein Jesus says, if all else fails and your brother refuses to acknowledge the sin or continues to sin against you, treat him like a foreigner or tax collector (Matthew 18: 15 -17). One doesn't have to read too much of the New Testament to realize that Jesus, the man who ate with tax collectors and spoke to the Samaritan woman, was being ironic. Imprecatory prayer certainly is a twist! Enjoyed this post, Steve.