Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Psalm 109

A few months ago, I received an email from someone I know to be no fan of President Obama asking we that we "Pray for Obama" - referencing Psalm 109:8 - "May his days be few; may another take his office."

When I read this, I immediately went to the USCCB website to find the entire 109 psalm online. After reading the psalm, it was clear to me that the person who came up with this email had little or no understanding of the Bible. He,or she, had taken a line out of context in an attempt to be funny or clever in his criticism of Obama. Using the 109th psalm in regards to the President actually has the opposite meaning to that which the email-er had in mind.

A footnote to the psalm shows that:
"[Psalm 109] A lament notable for the length and vehemence of its prayer against evildoers (Psalm 109:6-20); the cry to God (Psalm 109:1) and the complaint (Psalm 109:22-25) are brief in comparison. The psalmist is apparently the victim of a slander campaign, potentially devastating in a society where reputation and honor are paramount. In the emotional perspective of the psalm, there are only two types of people: the wicked and their poor victims. The psalmist is a poor victim (Psalm 108:22, 31) and by that fact a friend of God and enemy of the wicked. The psalmist seeks vindication not on the basis of personal virtue but because of God's promise to protect the poor."

Although no one can accuse me of being a fan of Barack Obama, I saw the use of this psalm as an improper use of scripture.

I had forgotten about this email until I read a link posted by an atheist I know on his Facebook wall. Christian Jihadists Call for Obama's Assassination.
In the article linked to, blogger Jerry Bowles quotes the lines immediately following 109:8 - ["May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.May his children be wandering beggars;may they be driven from their ruined homes."] and claims that this proves that the folks wearing T-shirts with the reference printed on it, are the "American version of the Taliban" who are, in his view, calling for Obama's assassination.

Bowles misses the point. If, by using, psalm 109:8, we can conclude those wearing the T-shirts also believe psalm 109:9-10, then we'd have to conclude that they also believe those portions which would show Obama as a victim of lies and slander. As I said earlier, using 109:8 in this way is to take the line out of context in an attempt to be funny or clever in criticism of Obama. In his ignorance, Bowles blows things out of proportion. He's certainly not the first atheist to do that.

Bowles ends his article this way;
"These are the same people who scream about how Islam is a religion of violence and Christianity is a religion of peace. If there is a hell, you f...ing hypocrites are going to burn in it." (I've cleaned it up a bit).

Does Christianity truly resemble Islam when it comes to violence?

Read these 3 stories:
Pakistani Christian couple refuses to convert: husband is burnt alive, wife raped by police -

Pakistani Christian burned alive to prevent reporting a rape -

Lahore: 12-year-old Christian domestic worker killed by Muslim employer-
then give me examples of Christians treating Muslims in the same manner.

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