The Disingenuous Nature of the Christian Right Summed Up on a Texas Billboard

A billboard with a biblical scripture on it has popped up on a Victoria, TX billboard, and the Secret Service has been called in to investigate.

Pray for Obama Billboard w/ Psalm 109:8

A billboard in Victoria, TX asks people to “Pray for Obama”, and then disingenuously cites Psalm 109:8, which reads, “May his days be few; may another take his office.”

The billboard asks people to “Pray for Obama”, and then disingenuously cites “Psalms [plural sic!] 109:8″, which reads:

“May his days be few; may another take his office.”

At first glance, the “speech” is not hateful. In fact, the billboard appears to be anything but – a call for all people to pray for President Obama, complete with an image of hands gently folded in prayer, a portrait of the president, and a Bible verse.

However, it is the verse that is cited (Psalm 109:8) that is causing the stir. The single verse (8) simply calls for the removal of someone (King David in the original context) from “office”.

However, the Secret Service was probably called in because the full text of Psalm 109:8-15 reads:

(8) May his days be few; may another take his office. (9) May his children be orphans, and his wife a widow. (10) May his children wander about and beg; may they be driven out of the ruins they inhabit. (11) May the creditor seize all that he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil. (12) May there be no one to do him a kindness, nor anyone to pity his orphaned children. (13) May his posterity be cut off; may his name be blotted out in the second generation. (14) May the iniquity of his father be remembered before the LORD, and do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out. (15) Let them be before the LORD continually, and may his memory be cut off from the earth.

(The Bible is pleasant, huh?)

The fact that the context of Psalm 109 is actually recounting the words of a righteous King David, who is complaining about the lies and threats his enemies are making against him is apparently lost on the individual who placed this ad.

The beginning of the Psalm (109:1-7) reads:

(1) Do not be silent, O God of my praise. (2) For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. (3) They beset me with words of hate, and attack me without cause. (4) In return for my love they accuse me, even while I make prayer for them. (5) So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love. (6) They say, “Appoint a wicked man against him; let an accuser stand on his right. (7) When he is tried, let him be found guilty; let his prayer be counted as sin. (and then Psa. 109:8) May his days be few; may another take his office…

Like most fundamentalist prooftexting and exegesis, the self-indicting context is completely ignored. The fact that the one proclaiming the words “May his days be few; may another take his office” is said to be a wicked man is completely ignored. Likewise, the fact that David is appealing to God about the lies and threats his enemies are making against him is a contextual fact completely overlooked by the one who created this disingenuous billboard.

I say the billboard is “disingenuous” because Christianity does preserve a tradition that Christians should “pray for” those in authority. It is found in 1 Timothy 2:1-3:

(1) I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people, (2) for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (3) This is good, and pleases God our Savior…

However, despite this clear Christian command to pray for (not against) those in power, the Victoria, TX billboard prays for President Obama’s demise:

“May his days be few; may another take his office” (followed by all those pleasant verses calling for the death and demise of his family).

It is not so much that the billboard is “hate speech”, unless you want to argue (as many do) that the Bible is filled with what can be described as hate speech, like the prayer at the end of Psalm 137:9 where the author begs for revenge against his enemies and proclaims:

“Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!

(because celebrating the murder of innocent children always plays well in religious circles.)

Rather, for me this billboard exposes the sheer duplicity and disingenuous nature of many conservative Christians, who seek to pick and choose scriptures that serve their preconceived political desires, and who use the Bible to heap hate and wishes of demise upon their perceived political enemies. It looks bad for all people of faith, and only adds to the ever growing body of evidence supporting the claim that the deliberate infusion of religion into politics in this country is approaching the downright toxic levels that we find in Islamic republics around the world. Conservative Christians rightfully denounce the religious oppression of these fundamentalist Islamic regimes, but then call for the very same Christian version of sharia law in America. Go figure!

Of course, this isn’t the first time that conservative Christians have used Psalm 109 to deride their political opponents. Joel Watts has chronicled several instances of the abuse of this particular scripture in politics.

But given that Christians are commanded to pray for their leaders, this billboard is nothing more than disingenuous religious prooftexting.

Then again, what more should we expect from the Christian right these days?

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texas only wants christians in the state legislature? really?

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. (AP Photo)

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. (AP Photo)

The conservative Christian right is getting desperate, and in Texas, their white hoods are peeking out from beneath their Sunday best.

According to a Fox News article by Judson Berger, there is a call from conservative Christian leaders to replace Jewish Republican Speaker of the Texas House, Strauss, with a conservative Christian:

“…several of Straus’ critics have noted how important it is that a Christian be named to take his place. These discussions have been made public by a series of media reports, drawing condemnation from some corners and making others in the GOP more than a bit uncomfortable.

In one e-mail conversation between two members of the State Republican Executive Committee, official John Cook stressed the need for a Christian to lead other Christians in the legislature.

“We elected a house with Christian, conservative values. We now want a true Christian, conservative running it,” Cook said in the Nov. 30 e-mail.”

Really? There is a Christian litmus test in order to hold elected office in this country? It’s not enough to be a conservative Republican, you have to be a Christian as well to be Speaker?

The article continues:

“At least one conservative activist has directly referenced Straus’ religion. Peter Morrison, who publishes a newsletter, wrote in a recent dispatch that Straus’ rabbi sits on the board of San Antonio Planned Parenthood. Morrison wrote that Straus lacks the necessary “moral compass” to hold his office and called his competitors “Christians and true conservatives.”

Asked about the column, Morrison said in an e-mail that he was “simply making factual statements” about Chisum and Paxton.”

This is yet another black eye for conservative Christians in Texas, who apparently advocate against Jewish Texas House candidates for Speaker in favor of conservative Christians. I wonder if they’d let Jesus serve as Texas House Speaker? Or is he too Jewish?

a-rod finally helps texas reach the world series

i love this story from the onion. as a red sox fan, i couldn’t help it. :D

ARLINGTON, TX—Ten years after signing a record $252 million contract to play baseball in Texas, third baseman Alex Rodriguez finally delivered for the Rangers by leading the franchise to its first-ever World Series. “A-Rod came up big for us this entire series, all the way up until the last out,” Rangers manager Ron Washington told reporters during a postgame press conference, saying that the Rangers would have had no chance of beating the New York Yankees without Rodriguez’s remarkable performance at the plate. “It was a long time coming, but you have to give the guy credit. He was the Rangers’ MVP, no question.” Washington added that seeing Rodriguez take Texas to the World Series was one thing, but A-Rod almost single-handedly beating the Yankees was “extra sweet.”

i love it!

apparently ‘hello’ is a bad word

Get A Brainapparently ‘hello’ is a bad word, and these dorks aim to remedy the situation.

In this friendly little ranching town, “hello” is wearing out its welcome. And Leonso Canales Jr. is happy as heck.

At his urging, the Kleberg County commissioners on Monday unanimously designated “heaven-o” as the county’s official greeting. The reason: “hello” contains the word “hell.”

“When you go to school and church, they tell you ‘hell’ is negative and ‘heaven’ is positive,'” said the 56-year-old Canales, who owns the Kingsville Flea Market. “I think it’s time that we set a new precedent, to tell our kids that we are positive adults.”

ahahahahhhahahhaa! kleberg texas. making texas and christians proud every day.

what’s next? removing all the ‘astroturf’ from stadiums? renaming ‘cocktails’? looking up words in something other than a ‘dictionary’? chasing an abstinence-cat through a field of abstinence-willows? changing the hebrew word for ‘acacia’? (shittim in hebrew)

(with thanx to daniel florien.)

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