I just heard a very disturbing story last night. Apparently there is a campaign called Pray for Obama Psalm 109:8. If you look up that Psalm you will find it says:
May his days be few, may another take his place of leadership (NIV)
That might seem innocent enough, although I don’t think it is, but it is next verse that is truly disturbing:
May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.
I am a strong supporter of the first amendment and will defend the right of people criticizing the President, but this is a troubling trend because it is beginning to take on the taint of the anti-abortion movement in which killing abortion doctors is justified, even killing them in their church. Obama has been compared to Hitler, Stalin, etc. and even been called the anti-Christ. There can be little doubt that there are some people who view this rhetoric as justification for seeing him dead.
The man who took an assault rifle to an Obama event in Arizona had heard his preacher say just the night before in his sermon that he would “pray for Obama to die and go to hell.” He says that he doesn’t want violence to come to Obama he just wants him to die of “natural causes.”
We as the church need to stand up and say that this is unacceptable. Whether we like the President or not, it is beyond conscionable to be offering prayers like this. It is even worse to be using scripture to justify his removal as being approved by God. Again, there can be little doubt that there are some who will take this reasoning to heart and feel completely justified in killing the President. And not only will they feel justified but will believe that they were doing God’s work.
As Peter Gomes reminds us (I think he was quoting someone else):
“A surplus of virtue is more dangerous than a surplus of vice.” Why we naturally ask? “Because a surplus of virtue is not subject to the constraints of conscience.”
My greatest fear going into the election was that Obama would not survive his term. The secret service is reporting that they are overstretched because the threats to Obama are greater than they have seen for any other President.
We as a church need to step up and say that this is unacceptable. This has nothing to do with politics it has everything to do with who we think God is and what we are called to do as Christians. If you search praying for Obama you will find much of this hate, but you will also find some who are calling for prayers in support, even though they disagree with him. This is what we should be promoting.
For a better more eloquent and more insider perspective on this issue, please watch this interview (it starts 3:30 into it) with Frank Schaeffer, who with his father Francis Schaeffer helped create the modern fundamentalist movement and in particular their opposition to abortion and the rhetoric surrounding that issue.
Here is another good piece on it by Diana Butler Bass, with a great quote from CS Lewis.