C.J. Marshall: Significa: For those who really do give a 'curse'
I read with interest a recent article by columnist Elizabeth McAlister of the Los Angeles Times, who wrote about people who offer "negative prayers" to God, in the hopes of visiting something bad on another person.
One of the most recent - and notorious - examples of this is a campaign mounted by some groups to "Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8." According to McAlister, this campaign has included T-shirts and bumper stickers. But the whole concept takes on a more nasty note when you realize that Psalm 109:8 reads: "May his days be few; may another take his office. May his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow."
Now, a person can pray to God for anything he or she wants - what they ask for is between themselves and the Lord. But the whole concept took on a more chilling aspect when an email from Kansas House Speaker Mike O'Neal to his fellow members in the Kansas House of Representatives, stated: "At last - I can honestly voice a biblical prayer for our president! Look it up - it is word for word! Let us all bow our heads and pray."
Hmmmmm. I don't know if O'Neal was serious or just kidding around - probably a little of both - but I'd be willing to bet a considerable amount of money that he would be upset if a group of people started reciting Psalm 109:8 about him.
Now me, I take a different point of view. I like to believe the Supreme Being is a god of justice and fairness, who would never, never inflict harm on anyone just because a separate group of people was selfishly calling for Him to visit His wrath down upon someone they don't like. Or that one person fail or be hurt so that another could succeed - such as in a sporting event. If a thousand or a million people were saying Psalm 109:8 about me, I'd say "Pray for yourselves, because you're the ones asking God to commit an immoral act. I don't think He's going to take kindly to that."
Because let's face it. The term "negative prayer" - sometimes called "imprecatory prayer," particularly when the prayer involves harming another - is just a polite way of skirting around its real name: a curse. Those who recite Psalm 109:8 in reference to Obama - or anybody else for that matter - are quite frankly asking God to curse the president!
OK. It's a person's right in this country to be able to do that, without fear of repercussion. It's comes under the heading of Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech, two of the cornerstones that made this country great. However, it works both ways, so I am going to express my opinion here about what I believe about such an act.
To any person or group that would pray to God to curse Obama or any other president for that matter, I say SHAME! FOR SHAME! Because what they all seem to overlook - or more like don't care about - is that man is our leader. He was duly elected - twice - by a majority of the people in this country, and so as such - like it nor not - he represents this country as a whole. My least favorite president of my lifetime is Richard Nixon - I still think the abuse of his authority during the Watergate scandal is despicable - but I never wished God's wrath on him or any other Chief Executive. Because in doing so, you are, by extension, wishing God's wrath on the nation as a whole.
Some will no doubt observe that - based upon what I said a few paragraphs ago - God wouldn't take seriously prayers to harm the president; or any one else for that matter. True. In those circumstances, it doesn't matter. However, when you pray to harm someone, you run the great risk of becoming so callous that you won't care what happens as long as you see your prayers fulfilled. For example, if - God forbid - Obama were cut down by an assassin's bullet, I'm certain there would be those who participated in the Psalm 109:8 campaign who would rejoice at the thought their prayers had been answered (at least to their way of thinking), unmindful of the fact that they were celebrating the death of a U.S. president.
To those who pray to God to harm another, I offer this biblical quote, which I think is very appropriate, under the circumstances: Luke: Chapter 23, Verse 34.
C.J. Marshall is a writer and columnist for The Daily Review. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.