Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pray for President Obama

I would suggest that those who don't particularly care for President Obama should pray for his safety as well. Like him or not, just like President Bush was, he is our President. This is why it concerns me that the "Pray for Obama Psalm 109:8" T-shirts have been made and sold.

The verse by itself ("May his days be few; may another seize his position.") seems somewhat benign, but the intent behind it is anything but. The entire psalm can be found at this link, but for those who aren't much for clicking links, an extended portion of the prayer reads:

Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand. When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places. Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labor. Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out. Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.

I first heard about this prayer, known as an Imprecatory Prayer about 2 years ago. The context in which I first heard it was that it was being invoked by a Baptist Minister (a Reverend Drake) against Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU). The reason was that he felt that AU was an enemy of God because AU "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 my post linked above).

The problem then, as now, is that the concept of imprecatory prayer is being misapplied. The original intent for imprecatory prayers are to ask God to intervene against His enemies. There is no call in the prayer for enemies of individuals, and there's no evidence whatsoever that President Obama, himself a Christian, is an enemy of God.

While I can only speculate that the majority of people who would purchase this are members of the Religious Right, or the Right in general, it seems likely that these would be the individuals who came up with the idea of putting this clever little line on a t-shirt. This is interesting, because it wasn't too long ago that this group of individuals (the Right) had among their number people who openly called for sedition trials for those who opposed the President or his policies (see comments), or advocated sedition against the Democrats. I remember very clearly reading several comments on blogs that I followed where individuals were calling for sedition trials for anyone who opposed the Iraq war or other Bush policies. My question, then, is why would this type of act not be considered a form of sedition? Or do First Amendment rights only apply when it's a Republican or "Right" individual doing the talking? (FTR - I believe that the idea of protected speech is a good one, and don't advocate sedition charges, but think the hypocrisy is astounding.)

Perhaps the most concerning aspect of this is that this type of inflammatory rhetoric by itself might seem shrewdly humorous, but the concern for me is that, much like what happened with Dr. Tiller's murderer or Charles Guiteau, all it takes is one person to determine that it was his calling to carry out this action to really wreak havoc, and I think that this lack of foresight by the makers of these shirts is appalling (and if that's their plausibly deniable intent, then its downright evil and nothing my God would ever approve of).

1 comment:

Gramma said...

It is supremely wicked to use this psalm as a weapon against our president. As usual, the idiots are using the Bible selectively to prove their point.