Kansas Speaker Cites Psalm Praying for Death of President Obama
A popular conservative meme after President Obama’s election were bumper stickers issuing a “tongue-in-cheek” call to pray for the President, referencing Psalm 109 in the Bible, which actually is a prayer for the death of a leader.
The psalm reads in part:
Let his days be few; and let another take his office
May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.
May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes.
May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children.
Now the Speaker of the Kansas House has come under fire for forwarding this same prayer around in a personal email. When the Psalm 109 email was discovered, Speaker Mike O’Neal was already facing backlash for a racist email he sent describing First Lady Michelle Obama as “Mrs. YoMama” and making fun of her appearance when a second email including the prayer was unearthed. O’Neal added his own endorsement to the Psalm:
At last — I can honestly voice a Biblical prayer for our president!” O’Neal wrote. “Look it up — it is word for word! Let us all bow our heads and pray. Brothers and Sisters, can I get an AMEN? AMEN!!!!!!
To send a clear rejection of this kind of exploitation of faith in service of hateful political attacks, Faithful America launched a petition calling on Speaker O’Neal to resign. The petition has already garnered over
5,000 13,000 18,000 25,000 signatures.
Speaker O’Neal’s office refuses to even apologize for the email, demurring that he only was referencing verse 8 of the Psalm to call for an end to President’s days in office. But as Rockford Register Star columnist Pat Cunningham explained to a reader attempting this same defense, that’s a poor excuse:
You say that verse 8 of Psalm 109, as applied to President Obama, does not suggest a wish for his death. But the first five words of verse 8 are: “Let his days be few.” And verse 9 says: “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”
The clear implication is not changed by the intervening words: “And let another take his office.”
You suggest yourself that scripture should not be “taken out of context.” Well, the context of Psalm 109 is a wish for someone’s death. As O’Neal says himself: “Look it up — it is word for word!”
Does he expect that anyone who looks up Psalm 109 is going to isolate the second half of verse 8 from the rest of that Psalm?
Speaker O’Neal should know better than to use the Bible to joke around with implicit threats to the President’s life and well-being. His actions run counter to his office and basic religious and American values.
Update: In under 24 hours the Faithful America petition has already garnered over 13,000 signatures and counting.
Update II: As of Friday at 2:15pm the petition is up to 18,000 signatures.
Update III: As of Wednesday, 1/18 at noon, the petition has over 25,000 signatures.