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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Psalm 109: A Cry for Hypocrisy

In our continuing spectacle of Right-Wing religiosity:

GOP State House Speaker Under Fire For Bible Quote Some Interpret As Death Prayer For Obama
by Frances Martel 
4:46 pm, January 14th, 2012
Earlier this week, the Lawrence Journal-World was sent an email that O’Neal [Kansas Republican House Speaker Mike O’Neal] had forwarded to House Republicans that referred to President Obama and a Bible verse that says “Let his days be few and brief.”
Rodee said that that email was referring to the president’s days in office.
The email, which has been posted in various places on the Internet, refers to a bumper sticker that reads “Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8.”
The email states: “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. Brothers and Sisters, can I get an AMEN? AMEN!!!!!!”
And the Psalm 109: 8- 13 is as follows:

8 Let his days be few;
            and let another take his office. Acts 1.20
9  Let his children be fatherless,
            and his wife a widow.
10  Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg:
            let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.
11  Let the extortioner catch all that he hath;
            and let the strangers spoil his labor.
12  Let there be none to extend mercy unto him:
            neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children.
13  Let his posterity be cut off;
            and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.

All of this might make one rather glad that one skipped Sunday School and Summer Bible Camp in one's youth so one did not grow up practicing the most craven hypocrisy, evidenced by cherry-picking Bible verses and using them in a thoroughly non-Christian manner.

The Psalm is attributed to King David, and is subtitled A Cry for Vengeance. The curses within echo other texts from the ancient world replete with magical and superstitious curses. David calls upon his God to exact vengeance, just as millions of other ancient called upon their gods. We may assume that the outcomes were roughly the same: a coin toss whether the curse be fulfilled or not.

Hold! There is Irony,  just as there is so often in religious matters. Reading just a little way down, we see:

17  As he loved cursing,
            so let it come unto him:
as he delighted not in blessing,
so let it be far from him.

18  As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment,
            so let it come into his bowels like water,
and like oil into his bones.

If only Mike O'Neal had not skipped the session where Psalm 109 was continued, he would not have called this curse down upon his own head!

What the Right-Wing fails to grasp - and many others of us fail, also... and this may be due to our having little sense of humor - is that there is a very good chance that one of the basic pillars of religious belief is ironical:  casting the high and mighty... down from their lofty thrones; the fall of the Tower of Babylon, and curses heaped on those whose tongues are cursing!

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