…Eliminationist wags were selling bumper stickers that read “Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8” on Cafe Press. Psalm 109:8 reads: “Let his days be few. Let another take is his office.” The next verse is, “Let his children be fatherless And his wife a widow.” Followed by, “Let his children wander about and beg; And let them seek sustenance far from their ruined homes.” How long before one of these is spotted on the bumper of a hapless Republican county chair? I’m taking bets.
….the “Prayer for Obama,” does more than anticipate that he leaves office; it entreats God to destroy the president.
Psalm 109 belongs to a special category of the psalms known as “imprecatory” prayers–it is a lament in the form of petition to destroy one’s enemies. It is the personal prayer of an individual, someone who has been dealt an injustice by another–and usually more powerful–person. The words of Psalm 109 are those of deep agony, the longings of a victim for retribution and justice. This psalm is considered one of the most difficult of all the psalms–full of violent images of vengeance and death. Many a biblical critic has struggled with its words–and not a few–including Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant theologians–recommend that it not be used in public worship, much less as a bumper-sticker political slogan….
Such nice people.
….This morning we made the decision to remove all Psalms 109:8 designs from CafePress.
The public debate started with questioning if the design was simply intended to be criticism of the President or something much worse. The discourse was surprisingly civil online, given the heated nature of the topic. Given that, and the positions of groups like the ACLU and the Anti-Defamation League, we decided to let the dialogue play out publicly before making a final decision.
Last night we posted a poll on our blog, read through the emails we’ve received and weighed the nature of the calls we’ve received on the topic. In the process we also learned that many of the original designers of the Psalm 109:8 designs had already decided to remove them on their own.
General consensus has proven that the design does point to a broader interpretation of the Psalm and thus has been deemed inappropriate for sale at CafePress.
We try to create an atmosphere of self-expression. Many of the things we encounter are not black and white, but grey. When the dialogue is civil, we want to let the larger community work things out rather than making an uninformed ruling. The dialogue has played out and common sentiment has reached agreement – this merchandise is not appropriate….