Walter Rhett at the Democrats for Progress website claims that some Christians are wrongly using Psalm 109:8 to pray against President Obama.1
Is there something unbiblical about praying Psalm 109:8 for Obama which states (ESV), “May his days be few; may another take his office!”? That verse alone does not seem problematic to pray for someone whom a Christian deems as a poor leader for the country. However, Rhett paints a wider picture in his criticism by noting the context of verse 8 as if one must pray verses 7 – 15 also.
When he is tried, let him come forth guilty; let his prayer be counted as sin! May his days be few; may another take his office! May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow! May his children wander about and beg, seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit! May the creditor seize all that he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil! Let there be none to extend kindness to him, nor any to pity his fatherless children! May his posterity be cut off; may his name be blotted out in the second generation! May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD, and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out! Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth! (Psalm 109:7-15 ESV)
I would agree with Rhett and not pray those verses for Obama. Yet, he never gives a clear reason why verse 8 should not be prayed on its own. In fact, prior to quoting verses 7-15 he writes the following.
For Christianity, the Bible is a sacred text. Its words by many believers are considered the holy writ of God. And its believers, many people of power and influence, of education and means, are using its verses to pray for the defeat, death and the spiritual disembowelment of Barack Obama.2
Of course, Rhett has not proven that Christians are praying for Obama’s death and spiritual disembowelment. He continues serving red herring to his readers.
People around the country are praying these words, sending them to friends, specifically putting “Pray Psalm 109:8″ on tee shirts, hats, and bumper stickers and earnestly bowing their heads without thought or remorse that Barack be “blotted out.”3
Psalm 109:8 does not say anything about being blotted out. Rather, verses 13 prays that the leader be blotted out. Maybe it is Rhett who is mocking God and some of His people by not being honest about them. Would I pray Psalm 109:8 for Obama? I may, but I would not pray the other verses. In the past, I have suggested a prayer that the Apostle Paul may have prayed on Inauguration Day and Psalm 109 did not come to mind.4
Harriet Tubman. In his defense of President Obama, Rhett shifts gears and explains that Harriet Tubman is a “major source of [his] own belief.” He praises Tubman for her work during the Civil War. To say that the odds were against Tubman would be an understatement. Rhett made some interested observations about Tubman that do not seem to help his case.
During the Civil War, Harriet Tubman served as a soldier, scout, spy, and nurse–but never fired a shot. She united faith and works…As freedom spread across the South in its own long march, at the time and place of its notice, no soldiers died and no deaths were recorded. Freedom was unspoiled…God’s warrior angel deserves sainthood. Her work is how God answers prayers. It shows how God intervenes, not through death but hope. God is a refuge, not an assassin.5
The problem is that we do not live amongst the “19th century enslaved.”
By charging that some Christians pray for Obama’s death and pointing to Tubman as an example of how Christians should pursue God through hope, prayer and nonviolence – Rhett gives Obama a pass.
Obama claims to be a Christian. He has quoted and interpreted Scripture in speeches. Yet, from the deaths from Fast and Furious to the killing of Osama bin Laden t0 the hundreds of drone strikes, Obama can hardly be today’s Harriet Tubman.
Ironically, Rhett ends his article with this line: “So with courage of heart, I pray for Barack: “may his years endure to all generations!”"
Prayer and partisanship, indeed, Mr. Rhett. The mirror is calling.