Tuesday, November 24, 2009

God Help Us . . . Please!

I came across this story about right-wing pastors engaging in “imprecatory prayer,” which involves asking for the death of someone, that someone in this case being President Obama.

A lot of interesting questions arise. If we had (as many of those practicing imprecatory prayer would like) a system of government overtly based on Christian principles, would such a prayer constitute treason? That is, if we as a nation believed that intercessory prayer has real power, wouldn’t this sort of prayer be considered not only treason, but attempted assassination?

For that matter, given that these ministers believe in the power of prayer, might they not be committing treason in the good ol’ fashioned secular sense? Just wondering.

And if, God forbid (a little counter-imprecatory prayer for ya), some wingnut took a potshot at the president and was doing it to help fulfill what he/she saw as God’s will, would these theological hooligans be held accountable for publically asking God to kill Obama?

Interesting questions all, none of which I have the answer to. Nor do I have an answer to the more fundamental question (at least in my mind): why one would ever pray for the death of another human being?

Think of all the things one *could* pray for instead, no matter how virulent one’s disgust with the current president’s policy might be. You could pray for his heart to be turned and his mind changed. You could pray that the American people not be swayed by him. You could pray that Congress does not pass legislation championed by the president.

You might even simply pray that God bring about whatever is right and pleasing to Him, acknowledging that in your imperfect knowledge, you cannot know with certainty what is ultimately right or wrong. Isn’t “Thy will be done” the only truly proper intercessory prayer?

I have a sneaking suspicion that even if Christ Himself came back and announced he was for universal healthcare (and some might say he more or less did just that the first time around), there are those who are so ideologically opposed to the idea that even this wouldn’t sway them.

That’s obviously their right. But could we at least avoid invoking God as the Hitman on High to kill people with whom we have a difference of opinion on public policy? Do we want to adopt the theology of Tony Soprano?

God, I hope not.


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