I’ll make no secret of the fact that I voted for Barack Obama, and I don’t regret the vote. I still support President Obama, and as a disciple of Jesus I follow the biblical injunction to pray for him. (1 Timothy 2:1-2) I did the same when George Bush was president (even though I didn’t agree with many of his policies) and when Bill Clinton was president (even though I didn’t agree with many of his policies).
But a new crop of t-shirts and bumper stickers making the rounds in conservative religious* circles makes me sick. (As a note, I won’t call them Christian because they are as opposed to the gospel of Jesus as you can get.)
The sentiment seems great. “Pray for Obama.” And it even has a Bible reference, Psalm 109:8. I mean, what Christian can argue with that. It’s in the Bible, right. Gee, I know the references from Paul’s epistles about praying for your leaders, but I didn’t realize it was in the Old Testament as well. That’s great.
So what does Psalm 109:8 say? (This is from the NIV)
May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.
Gape. blink. blink.
Really? That’s how you follow the command to pray for your leaders? Remind me not ask you to pray for healing or safe travel. Who knows what I’ll get.
The real problem comes from the verse that follows it, and, honestly, if you have to look it up, you’re going to keep reading, right. Why stop with one verse? This is where it goes from just wrong to plain dangerous.
Verse 9 says,
May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.
Why, what exactly does that mean to you? What would be the real world application for your life?
And well meaning (I think) Christians will put this stuff on their cars and their bodies. I didn’t particularly like our last two presidents, but would praying for their demise really be true to what Paul meant? Is that what Jesus was thinking when he told the disciples to pray for their enemies? (Matthew 5:44-45) I don’t think so.
It’s just wrong, and it needs to be repudiated by evangelical leaders. It’s bad Bible, and it is the spirit of anti-christ.
For another response to this, check out Matthew Paul Turner’s post. He has a link to an interview with Frank Schaeffer that is excellent.