Paul Cooper

NewsReal Sunday: Using Bible Verses for Jokes or Jihad

Posted on November 22 2009 3:40 pm
Paul Cooper is a husband and father above all else. With a wife and 2 daughters he could use a dog, but sadly he only owns a cat – a female cat no less. Paul is also a pastor, blogger, and business owner. Find him on Twitter.
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Are Christians using Bible verses to wish death on President Barack Obama?  Even worse, are Christians using Bible verses to convince people to kill President Obama?  MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and the Huffington Post‘s Frank Schaeffer seem to think so.

After church last Sunday, a conservative church member came up to me.  He told me a friend of his showed him a verse his church has been praying for Barack Obama.  It was Psalm 109:8.

May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. Psalm 109:8

What was my initial reaction?  My hope was that the people praying it meant they wanted Obama voted out of office and not dead.  My church member assured me the prayer was only for Obama to lose the 2012 election.  He then added that they specifically only pray verse 8 and not verse 9.  Why not verse 9?

May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. Psalm 109:9

Thankfully my church member didn’t think they should pray that verse for President Obama.  No one should wish death on anyone – especially our President.

Up until recently at least two companies were making merchandise like bumper stickers and t-shirts that say, “Pray for Obama, Psalm 109:8.”  This past week the merchandise fell under the criticism of Maddow and some bloggers.  Since the media gave this issue attention, both companies selling the merchandise have stopped.

Some of the criticism is valid.  Like me, people could get the wrong idea when they first read Psalm 109:8.  The context of the passage is of an evil leader being killed – it is not talking about someone being voted out of office.  I believe proper use of the Bible centers around using verses in their proper context.

Also, the verse is used  by most people as a joke and not for genuine prayer.  Obviously I have no problem with someone praying for Obama to lose the election in 2012.  I pray for that myself.  But I’m not totally comfortable with using a call to prayer with an out of context Bible verse as a joke.

Sadly, some commentators have gone beyond valid criticism and used the story to incite fears that evangelicals or some on the Right are hoping for violence against Obama.  As usual, MSNBC leads the way in that type of an attack.


Maddow: “Can you tell me if this means something less threatening to people hearing this in a biblical context?”

Schaeffer: “No actually it means something more threatening…I find genuinely frightening…There’s a direct parallel with Timothy McVeigh’s t-shirt on the day of the Oklahoma City bombing…There is a crazy fringe to whom these little messages pouring out of Fox News, now on a bumper sticker, talking about doing with Obama, asking God to kill him.  Really this is trawling for assassins.  This is serious business…It goes to show the religious right, the Republican far right have coalesced into a group who truly want American revolution.  And if it turns out to be blood in the streets and death – so be it…This is the American version of the Taliban…This is the Old Testament equivalent for calling for Holy War. “

If one is looking for an example of crazy, leftist alarmism – there you go.  Schaeffer should win some type of Lunacy on the Left Award.

Schaeffer is one of Maddow’s favorite guests, most likely because she can always count on him to make some outlandish statements attacking evangelicals. And Maddow, like most on the Left, actually thinks that Schaeffer is a valid source on evangelicals, simply based on him being the son of a former evangelical leader.

Using Psalm 109:8 probably isn’t a sign of good taste, but it certainly isn’t on par with the Taliban, Jihad, or Timothy McVeigh.  To suggest such a thing proves once again that the Left doesn’t understand what real terrorism looks like.

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