No, that's not funny, it's sinister.

I don't care if you love or hate Obama - this is dangerous territory.

Whats that you say? Oh, just this (click here). Okay, haha, a scripture taken completely out of context makes a funny when you apply it to Obama. But after a quick chuckle, I realized this is not something that should be tolerated - and I'm saying Christians shouldn't tolerate this.

C'mon! You guys are actively taking God's word and making a mockery of it. Its not a punchline.

My only hope is that Christians who are actually sane will continue to do what they have always tried to do in this country: pray for God's blessings, support, and favor on our nation and all nations. Couple that with an honest desire to SEEK God's will (rather than just command God to do your bidding) and you have a better world that looks more like the Kingdom of God. We should pray that Obama seeks God just like we try to seek God.

Instead, the inside joke of Psalm 109:8 apparently devalues God's existence to being either a.) a joke, or b.) some mafia hit man who takes out your opponent's knees. Geez, no wonder Richard Dawkins thinks religion is evil.

A few random thoughts:

- If a pastor or friend would ask you to pray for the President's demise, its only a matter of time til they pray for yours. Asking for God's wrath on someone is about the stupid as asking for yourself to meet a grisly end.

- This is the kind of thing that makes Christians look like idiots on the national scene. Its favoritism, bigoted, and completely stupid. Thankfully, there are some that are being good Jesus followers and loving people into the Kingdom of God, regardless of what is portrayed by the national media.

- There are many places in the Bible where the faithful pray for God's protection, God's providence, and God's deliverance. Praying for the President's death might be harmless in itself (hey, lets be honest, we ask for crazy stuff all the time that I'm sure gives God a good chuckle) but certainly there is someone out there that will take this as divine revelation to go and shoot the president. And no, you shouldn't wish that even on your enemies (if Jesus is to be trusted). To wit: David's psalms are powerful because they speak to the whole range of human emotions. There are some emotions in Psalms, that while they should be identified and owned, aren't exactly a good place to stay or make smart decisions. David might have prayed for his enemy's demise, but he never - never - never went out and took care of them himself. God always took care of them for him and David would kind of come in behind. David's biggest sin wasn't simply about having an affair - it was a sin of acting unilaterally without God. And just because you pray to God to do something for you doesn't instantly mean God is going to do it or approves. Even if your preacher says its so. Yeah, you can be angry with the politics of America and the leaders we have. Speak your mind with God, he's big enough. Don't back down from your passion for a better and more godly world. You can even be angry with God - but if you don't leave room for God's wrath against your enemies, you re-direct God's wrath somewhere much closer to home: you. Just please, don't put your desire for God's wrath on a t-shirt.

- Some will say that Obama is the one who shouldn't be tolerated and this 109:8 thing is just a snarky way of showing our displeasure with him. I hear ya! Look, Jesus had a lot to say about government, about nations, and about leadership that goes astray. This is not that discussion. There are things that need to be addressed with our current president and he's far from perfect. But that doesn't mean you pray for his demise. Its worth pointing out that Jesus' most damning comments were reserved not for Caesar (yes, he said some nasty stuff about him too) but instead for church leadership or as we know them, Pharisees/Scribes/Priests. Being a good Christian is tough stuff! Its hard! It means loving the unlovable! It means loving your enemies! Which is a greater precedent? Jesus' death on the cross (self-sacrifice in the face of evil/hatred) or... wait, I don't think Jesus calls judgment on anyone, actually, but lets people do that to themselves. Oh hi! Weren't we just praying for God's judgment on the President?

Man, its a good thing Jesus armed his followers with "powerful" weapons and clever bumper stickers. We'll show those muslims - right!? yeah!? hmm....

I dunno, maybe this isn't that big a deal.

So be it. I'll shrug. But there is a distinct difference in asking God to deal with your enemies and taking it upon yourself to deal with your enemies for God. Psalm 109:8 as a way of joking about praying for our President? haha indeed. Psalm 109:8 as actual advice? Watch it.

I doubt there are many Christians who can tell the difference (or care) between God directing our passions and us directing God's passions.

Dangerous territory.

Comments

  1. You speak what many of us are thinking, and know in our hearts.

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  2. I can't tell if I'm more angry or saddened by that article. That is just sad and disgusting. Just so you know...I'm w/you, and I do think it's a big deal

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  3. Well, I suppose this is a slight step up from Pat Robertson style calls for assassination of world leaders...

    I wish people would think about what their words mean. I imagine many people sporting that verse on a bumper sticker or T-shirt haven't even looked it up or thought about its implications other than 'OMG I hate the prez'.

    What ever happened to praying for our leaders, regardless of their political affiliation?

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  4. All well said and comforting to know that some people who call themselves Christian are paying attention to what is being said.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly and pray that the people who are saying these vicious things about other people and sending the sick internet stuff will find a true real heart for God and soften.

    Leslie

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  5. To call this Obama bumper sticker (or whatever form it takes) as disgusting, an act of treason, or some other off-the-wall, radical notion is a bit disturbing to me. This was sent to me as an email forward from a friend, and I took it as a joke and nothing more. You must know the sender in order to know how to take it. While I would never send it to people who I don't know, anyone who I chose to forward it to would know that I was sending it as a funny statement (and nothing more).

    As Christians, we should be able to distinguish between what's a joke and what's a sincere statement. I wish (and pray) nothing but the best for our President, our political leaders and the country as a whole, but if one scrutinzes little comments like this, then one must be on one's guard at all times, and expect to be scrutinized by what comes out of one's mouth as well.

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  6. I read my post over twice, and I don't think I called it disgusting or treason. The post I reference asks if it is funny or sinister - I sided with sinister. I say this not because most of the people who have referenced this to me are being sinister, but because the popularity of such a joke propagates on the unspoken desire that something bad will befall the president.

    I'm all about some context - and I believe you make a wonderful point about being sensitive to and appreciating how things appear (and who you tell this joke to)

    I used to have a youth director who criticized my choice of music. His justification for that was a simple question: "Would you listen to that kind of music in church?" as in, in God's presence. Two thoughts to go with yours (both, the statement simply as a funny statement and devoid of malice AND scrutinizing the jokes we tell):

    1) God is present everywhere, not just church. If you can imagine Jesus laughing at your joke, well, you obviously won't have a problem with it then, right? God knows our hearts. Likewise,

    2.) There are some things you just don't do in a church. Like conceive children. There are other, appropriate, places for that. In other words, context _is_ important. There is a difference between jokes and sincere statements. In this regard? In a weird way? Sincere statements are less of a threat than jokes. Because jokes are sinister and speak an indirect attitude. At least with folks who shoot you straight you know where they stand. But I don't know if that changes whether some statements are appropriate or not. My sweet dutch grand-dad has some unsavory beliefs about particular ethnicities. These aren't okay just because he's a former Presbyterian minister. They aren't okay because he'd never hurt a fly or because he desires greatly to be a Godly man. The statements (joke or sincere) have their own entity that either sits well in God's truth or not.

    And with that said, I hope my friends and brothers/sisters in Christ will continue to scrutinize what comes out of my mouth.

    You are right, we must always be on guard. Does that somehow steal our joy? Does that mean we can't laugh at things that don't oppress people? Is there ever a moment we don't stop trying to look, sound, and behave like Christ?

    Our hope and joy is in Jesus Christ - who regardless of the jokes we tell or sincere statements we might have, loves us. And certainly enjoys a good laugh. I just don't think this is one of them.

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