Psalm Like It Hot: Conservatives Rally Around Psalm 109

Conservatives have picked a curious new slogan to oppose President Barack Obama: “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” It is a quote from Psalm 109:8, but conservatives leave off the full passage: “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.” It is a damnation or imprecatory prayer.

In this case, conservatives are citing a passage that would seem to advocate Obama’s death. While obviously not the intended meaning, it is an interesting example of how these passages are used with no consideration of their actual meaning.

It is often interesting to see religious people use passages with little understanding of their meaning or to sanitize the passage to omit the violent Biblical message. This was the case recently in the controversy over cheerleaders like Georgia’s Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School who use Biblical verses as part of their cheers, here. They use such passages as Ezra 10:4: “Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.” The only problem is that this Biblical passage describes how Ezra followed the lead of God to banish foreign women and their innocent children for not being pure.

The Psalm is one of David and is an imprecatory prayer for God to destroy his enemies in the most horrible ways. We have seen the use of imprecatory prayers against Obama and others recently, here.

Here is the whole Psalm:

Help Me, O Lord My God
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

109:1 Be not silent, O God of my praise!
2 For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
speaking against me with lying tongues.
3 They encircle me with words of hate,
and attack me without cause.
4 In return for my love they accuse me,
but I give myself to prayer. [1]
5 So they reward me evil for good,
and hatred for my love.

6 Appoint a wicked man against him;
let an accuser stand at his right hand.
7 When he is tried, let him come forth guilty;
let his prayer be counted as sin!
8 May his days be few;
may another take his office!
9 May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow!
10 May his children wander about and beg,
seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!
11 May the creditor seize all that he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil!
12 Let there be none to extend kindness to him,
nor any to pity his fatherless children!
13 May his posterity be cut off;
may his name be blotted out in the second generation!
14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord,
and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out!
15 Let them be before the Lord continually,
that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth!

16 For he did not remember to show kindness,
but pursued the poor and needy
and the brokenhearted, to put them to death.
17 He loved to curse; let curses come [2] upon him!
He did not delight in blessing; may it be far [3] from him!
18 He clothed himself with cursing as his coat;
may it soak [4] into his body like water,
like oil into his bones!
19 May it be like a garment that he wraps around him,
like a belt that he puts on every day!
20 May this be the reward of my accusers from the Lord,
of those who speak evil against my life!

21 But you, O God my Lord,
deal on my behalf for your name’s sake;
because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!
22 For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is stricken within me.
23 I am gone like a shadow at evening;
I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees are weak through fasting;
my body has become gaunt, with no fat.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
when they see me, they wag their heads.

26 Help me, O Lord my God!
Save me according to your steadfast love!
27 Let them know that this is your hand;
you, O Lord, have done it!
28 Let them curse, but you will bless!
They arise and are put to shame, but your servant will be glad!
29 May my accusers be clothed with dishonor;
may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a cloak!

30 With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord;
I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy one,
to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.

Of course, the part about “May the creditor seize all that he has” appears to be working, at least for the Chinese government holding our debt. It is always nice to see the religious call for “his children wander about and beg, seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!” After all, there is no vengeance and violence quite like Biblical vengeance and violence.

For the full story, click here.

73 thoughts on “Psalm Like It Hot: Conservatives Rally Around Psalm 109”

  1. Difficult people are a blessing as they teach us the value of patience. However, fortunately for us, “difficult” is a pliant term in this context.

  2. Folks,

    Why are you allowing Paully to turn this into yet another ‘birther’ thread?

  3. Gyges, I probably should have supported my last statement about Hawaii violating their own law.

    §92F-12 Disclosure required. (a) Any other provision in this chapter to the contrary notwithstanding, each agency shall make available for public inspection and duplication during regular business hours:

    (1) Rules of procedure, substantive rules of general applicability, statements of general policy, and interpretations of general applicability adopted by the agency;

  4. Gyges, I don’t know about other people, and I don’t know why and when they present different arguments.

    We can call this my argument if you like. I wasn’t aware that some Hawaiian COLBs say Date Filed and other say Date Accepted before the election. I also wasn’t aware that my hot water heater was leaking 6 months ago. All I can do is address what I find, when I find it.

    I really have looked for the answer. I probably wouldn’t be so concerned had I not noticed that the other COLBs that say Date Filed were either from extrateritorial births, with no Island of birth identified, or they were births at a military hospital. I’m reasonably sure that the state should be able to answer the question, but they have violated their own law to avoid giving an answer.

  5. My personal response to the kind of people the article is talking about who use the Bible to back up their agendas is: Obama is our elected President so all Christians should remember what the Bible says about respect and obedience to authority as outlined in the Book of Romans Chapter 13, versus 1-7.

  6. Mike Spindell, I’m sure you can find a birther that wants Obama to be harmed. I’m sure we could also find a liberal, progressive, lawyer, police officer, engineer, etc. that would like to see Obama harmed. I don’t think it is reasonable to attribute the statements of the few, or the one, to the whole.

    You said “[T]he fact remains that the rhetoric used by this movement goes far beyond political opposition and expresses a hatred of the President that borders on and offtimes crosses the line of treason”.

    The rhetoric comes from a few. Probably less than 1% of the whole. How big is the birther movement? Could it be millions? The only “voices” of the birther movement you know are those who make a living by stirring the pot. Orly Taitz, Wiley Drake, and Pastor Manning do not represent me, and I doubt they represent a large population of those who consider themselves to be birthers.

    I said “Obama’s COLB says that it was filed, but never accepted. This isn’t some crazy question that has been answered. It’s a question that has been avoided.”

    Mike Spindell answered “Actually this is a crazy question that has been answered time and again on many threads here and in other venues. The real issue is the inability of the birther movement to accept the facts and instead be led by the nose by unstable, self seekers like Taitz and Donofrio. Just Google Vince Treacy for a full and complete refutation of the entire birther argument.”

    Mike Spindell, If you think this is a crazy question that has already been answered then I’m sure you are more than capable of answering it. Please tell me what dictates Date Filed vs. Date Accepted, and please provide with the authority used to support the answer.

    It is a fact that Obama’s COLB states that his birth was filed, but it does not say that it was accepted. I could specultate on the reasons it was not accepted, but I would rather see why Hawaii makes the determination.

    Do you think it is acceptable for a state to generate a form, but not be able to tell you about the variables on that form?

  7. Paully,

    Well if we say Vince’s name three times while spinning around in front of a mirror, he might appear.

    Also, don’t you find it odd that the reason for Obama’s supposedly ineligibility seems to shift on a weekly basis? I mean, if they had had a valid argument at the beginning, wouldn’t they have stuck to it and if the argument d’jour was a good one, why didn’t they lead with it? Their entire conduct just makes it seem like they’re out to find ANY excuse to remove Obama.

  8. Gyges, Thanks for the links. Way too much information to digest in a short period of time. I did look to see if any answer to that presented to Hawaii had been answered. It had not.

    The question is not a determination of law, but a determination of fact.

    We know that Obama’s COLB says Date Filed by Registrar, and we know that most Hawaiian COLBs say Date Accepted by State Registrar. I should say MOST of the Hawaiian COLBs that I have seen say Date Accepted. Nevertheless, it is a variable that should be explained, and I can find no good reason for the issuing authority to not explain it.

    I guess that makes me a birther. I sure don’t want any harm to come to Obama.

  9. Paully,
    One example of how wrong you are from another thread today in a comment by Vince Treacy.”

    “Drake has stopped praying for the President’s death. He now wants him to live long enough for a treason trial.

    Too bad he didn’t promise to hold his breath until that happened.

    It turns out that Drake is also a “birther,” represented, with spectacular lack of success, by our old friend from many other threads, Orly Taitz, in the case dismissed by Judge Carter in California. Small galaxy.

    Also note that his mentor, Rev. Manning, has been visited by authorities for his death-themed sermons.
    Q
    Wiley Drake lifts call for ‘imprecatory prayer’ against President Obama
    By Bob Allen
    Friday, November 20, 2009

    BUENA PARK, Calif. (ABP) — A former Southern Baptist Convention officer who made headlines in June when he said on national radio that he was praying for Barack Obama to die now says he wants to see the president live long enough to stand trial for treason.
    Wiley Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif., was second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2006-2007.

    Wiley Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif., issued a press release Nov. 19 calling for an end to “imprecatory prayer” — words of judgment from the Book of Psalms prayed back to God, directed toward Obama.

    Drake said he is now “calling for all of God’s people and prayer warriors to cease the imprecatory prayer, and pray for Mr. Obama’s protection until he can be properly tried for treason.”

    Drake attributed his change of heart to “spiritual counsel” of James David Manning, pastor at ATLAH World Missionary Church in New York, contained in a 16 1/2-minute video recorded Nov. 18.

    Manning preached a series of harsh sermons last year against then-candidate Obama that prompted Americans United for the Separation of Church and State to ask the IRS to investigate him for violating rules governing tax-exempt charities against electioneering. He says he was visited by officials from the Department of Homeland Security after a recent video message in which he advised people who strongly oppose Obama to “be ready to die.”

    Drake, a third-party candidate for vice president from the American Independent Party on the California ballot in the 2008 presidential election, recently lost a round in an ongoing legal battle challenging the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency.

    U.S. District Judge David Carter dismissed a lawsuit filed by Drake and other plaintiffs Oct. 29, saying the Constitution does not give federal courts, but only Congress, the authority to remove a sitting president….UQ

    http://www.abpnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4588&Itemid=53

    We owe this link to Dr. Conspiracy at his excellent website:

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2009/11/eligibility-lawsuit-plaintiff-drake-stops-praying-for-obama-to-die/

    The Doctor posted a very wise and thoughtful afterword to this story that should be considered by all who view this thread: “[I was a Baptist for many years, and I never heard of anyone praying for the harm of another human being. Drake represents Baptists no more than Obama denialists represent the country in general. Martin Luther included the following in hymn he wrote: “Give to our Prince and all [political] authorities peace and good government that we under them may live a calm in quiet life in all blessedness and modesty.”]”

  10. Paully,
    I notice you replied to my comment about your misunderstanding of me, to others and not directly to me. Your realize of course that your comment was a slur and certainly drawn from nothing I’ve written. Though I’m normally not given to superstition, I do have a deep seated believe that to wish death on those I disdain, somehow would rebound on me and so I do not do so. Since you seem partial to finding meaning in people’s words, that clearly do not exist, let me clarify my meaning. I am not and have never been a pacifist, lest you think me a “namby pamby” liberal. I would definitely use violence to protect those I love, or myself from others violence and at times have done so in legitimate self defense. However, I take no pleasure in bringing harm to others, nor do I find in my heart any elation at harming even those who deserve harm, it is not in my nature.

    “I know lots of birthers, and none of them want Obama dead.”

    While this is quite possibly literally true, the fact remains that the rhetoric used by this movement goes far beyond political opposition and expresses a hatred of the President that borders on and offtimes crosses the line of treason. Comparing the President to Adolph Hitler is an example of this and actually is a slur upon those who were killed by this monster. It is ideological overkill to such an extent that it encourages the least stable among the movement towards the belief that redress by violence is a viable option.

    Secondly, you are too intelligent not to be begging this question since you are no doubt aware that to espouse the death of this, or any President is per se criminally actionable. So the birther movement skates around this intent, but their meaning is clear.

    Finally, you again bring up the COLB nonsesense:

    “Obama’s COLB says that it was filed, but never accepted. This isn’t some crazy question that has been answered. It’s a question that has been avoided.”

    Actually this is a crazy question that has been answered time and again on many threads here and in other venues. The real issue is the inability of the birther movement to accept the facts and instead be led by the nose by unstable, self seekers like Taitz and Donofrio. Just Google Vince Treacy for a full and complete refutation of the entire birther argument.

    Finally, if you have comments regarding me I would appreciate it if you directed them at me, so that I can directly disabuse you of your
    faulty conceptions.

  11. Paully,

    If you’re honest in your curiosity, may I suggest you do a search on this site for “Natural Born,” and skim through any one of the longer threads, and reading any post by Vince or Mike A. Vince in particular has done an amazing amount of research on the subject. You’ll find few better tutorials on the issue than is found in the comments sections on JT’s blog.

    By the way, if the answers to certain people seem terse, just know that there is more history than just in those comments. Including threats, racist comments, and just plain deliberate obtuseness. That Vince remains as polite as he did is truly stunning.

    I don’t know this for sure, but I’d be willing to bet some of those people caring around signs referencing “water the tree of liberty” or the Turner Diaries are birthers as well as tea baggers (yes I know what that means, but they should have been a little more careful when picking a name for their movement). So while you might not know any birthers that explicitly wish Obama harm, that doesn’t mean they’re not out there.

  12. Lilove,
    Thank you for your compliment, I was trying to convey those sentiments. Without putting a moral tone on it I think that humanity can be roughly divided into two groups. Those who want us to live in harmony under the Golden Rule and those whose vanity and greed want chaos. While all great religious prophets have tried to improve our human condition, in many cases those that followed each one perverted the purity of the message for their own selfishness. Alas this is the human condition it seems with every aspect of our lives.

    Political people of both the left and the right have also perverted the ideals they purport to espouse, primarily in the service of their own egos. My own dream, which I will never live to see, is of a humanity that can compromise outlooks by keeping in mind the greater good of all of humanity and respect/esteem eachother’s differences. only then might we humans achieve a higher purpose.

    “I was brought up with a religion of fear, so I know exactly what you are talking about, but got away from those denominations as soon as I was old enough.”

    That sentence alone says all one needs to know about your intelligence.
    Our Holy Books, no matter of what faith, are meant to be studied and understood by each individual. The test of ones’ faith and perception of the world is how they perceive the meaning of the message being taught. Jesus taught in parables that caused people to have to think to find their meaning. Buddha used the same technique but they are called “koans.” Confuscious also used parables as examples of his teachings, as have the wisest of Rabbi’s and Imams. Every one of these teachings had a simple commandment at their base and that was, however
    phrased: Treat others, the way you would want to be treated.

    To me, none of us could begin to understand the thinking of a being that can create a Universe, but my sense is that this commandment would be the basis for drawing closer to that being.

  13. Mike, I certainly enjoyed your post of 11/22, and realize that you are very knowledgable about the Bible. As I said in one of my posts, I am not a historian or a debater, but I do admire people of tolerance and understanding, as that was what I realized from your post.

    I was brought up with a religion of fear, so I know exactly what you are talking about, but got away from those denominations as soon as I was old enough. I do find a great deal of comfort from my Bible and now know a Jesus and Lord of love, not fear. Also a God of justice. I study my Bible regularly and find great comfort in it.

    Thank you for your post.
    Lilove

  14. Pete and Takoma, Obama’s COLB says that it was filed, but never accepted. This isn’t some crazy question that has been answered. It’s a question that has been avoided.

    Who can answer that question?

    I would assume that Hawaii can tell us why a COLB was filed, but not accepted. Wouldn’t you?

    I know the question has been asked. The Director of the Department of Health, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Lt. Governor’s Office have all been asked for any statute, administrative rule, or court opinon that controls when a birth report is filed with the registrar, but not accepted by the state registrar.

    All of them were asked on Oct. 16th. The AG and the Lt. Governor’s Office have stated that they don’t maintain those records. The Department of Health has not responded to the request. The statute requires them to respond within 10 days.

    On 11/5 a formal request for assistance was filed with the Office of Information Practices. The next day, the Director of that office resigned. As of today, the Director of the Department of Health, nor the Office of Information Practices has responded.

    The DOH issues the COLBs. Do you think they don’t know what controls the difference between a filed report, and an accepted report of birth?

    As you can see, it’s not a matter of accepting the answer. It’s a matter of the question never being answered.

  15. @ Paully

    Even from Australia, the “problem” with the Birthers (an embarassment for the USA) was not the questioning, but the non-acceptance of the answers.

  16. @ Paully:

    Are you implying that birthers are asking “relevant questions”? Is that a joke? Okay, maybe it isn’t a joke and those crazy people are actually sane. So, what are they going to do about it? Impeach Obama?…

  17. ffleo, I know lots of birthers, and none of them want Obama dead. Most of them just want answers. When we start to castigate those who ask relevant questions, we just do an end-around on censorship.

  18. FFLEO:

    how can you blame a dumb a . . . for doing what a dumb a . . . does?

    Isnt it kind of like punishing a dog for chasing a cat?

  19. Paully,

    Unless you are joking—and I see no evidence of that—you have certainly misjudged Mike Spindell.

    As a conservative Republican, I am more likely to want vengeance against the miscreant, score 25 IQers that have hijacked my Republican Party than Mike S. would ever consider.

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