Saturday, November 21, 2009

Imprecatory Fashion

An imprecation is a curse.

Imprecatory prayer is a plea for God to strike down an evil person or people.

A typical case from the Bible has David, as related in Psalm 35, righteously calling for God's vengeance when he, David, was surrounded by enemies. Not to glorify David, mind you, but to glorify God Himself via some good, righteous, holy ass-whooping.

There is lately an American fashion in imprecatory prayer against the current President of the United States. We see people wearing t-shirts or slapping bumper stickers on their cars saying, "Pray For Obama -- Psalm 109:8."

That's pretty cute. Read the Psalm. "May his days be few, may another take the place of his leadership. May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow." (109:8-9)

In other words, calling on God to assassinate a politician they personally do not like. No doubt, they have not for one second considered the parallel to Islamist-inspired acts of terrorism, or acts of Christianist terrorism such as the murder of physicians who perform legal abortion procedures.

This calls for social confrontation and rejection. Notes on windshields of cars that bear such messages. Addressing the issue when someone shows up wearing the t-shirt. A person visiting my home in such a t-shirt, for instance, would be required to change or cover it up -- and I would be prepared to explain why.

I would have responded similarly if I had ever run into someone bearing signs like this during the Bush Administration:

No, no, no. Violence and imprecation are not cures; they are part of the disease.

Whichever side you are on, I ask you to think on this. What sort of country are we making? Are we Iraq, where political and religious divisions led to routine violence on a daily basis in the aftermath of our 2003 invasion? Or are we a democratic republic that honors the results of elections and, if so inclined, prays for our elected leaders to be guided by wisdom and compassion?

By my lights, the dispassionate answer to that question appears to be: neither, but some tortured thing lying in between.

What is your choice, and what will you do to walk that talk?


Kelly said...

There's no excuse for this sort of behavior.

I didn't vote for Obama and I'm not that impressed with his record so far. However, I think I would like him personally and, even if I didn't...I wouldn't wish him any harm!

There's an awful lot of hate in our world.

Debby said...

My God. I am speechless. Even here in homogenous Republican land, I have not seen such a thing. There will be a direct confrontation if I ever do though. That is the most horrible thing I've ever seen.

Debby said...

I actually used this as a basis for my Sunday School class discussion. It got quite a lively debate going. I began everything with 'What would you think if you saw a man wearing...'and I listened to the responses. Everyone thought this was a holy man, a prayerful person, a good person. It did not occur to them to look the psalm up in the Bible. It was a good lesson. Thanks.

Algernon said...

Debby, thank YOU! By engaging some young citizens in the conversation, you have likely made a more far-reaching difference than my little blog post.

WhiteStone said...

Came over from Debby's blog. Actually I'm glad you (and she) have given the heads-up on this t-shirt (for I have yet to see it) so that I will know ahead of time what that verse says. In fact, it warns me to check any verse associated with political shirts/bumper stickers, etc. I did not vote for Obama but I pray for him that God will cause him to make wise decisions for our country.