Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hatred in Religious Terms ?

I recently blogged this topic on BlogHer where you can see the many comments that came in.

Over the past few days, a Biblical verse has topped the google trends charts. It is also turning up in bumper stickers across the country. It reads:

“Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8”

But what do you see when you look up that Psalm?

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

But take a look at the whole psalm, especially the lines immediately after this one -- lines the original framer of this sticker -- and many others after him/her could not have failed to miss:

9 May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow.

10 May his children be wandering beggars;
may they be driven from their ruined homes.

Diana Butler Bass in her blog on Sojourner's Magazine says "Thus, the “Prayer for Obama” does more than anticipate that he leaves office; it entreats God to destroy the president."

Grandma'Retta says wisely:

Exactly how long is it going to take us to figure out the danger of linking faith claims and violent fantasies?

Frank Shaeffer was interviewed on the Rachel Maddow Show. Ms Madow describes Mr Shaeffer thusly "...Frank Schaeffer, whose father Francis Schaeffer helped shape the evangelical movement in the United States. Mr. Schaeffer grew up in the religious far-right. He’s the author of ‘Patience With God: Faith For People Who Don’t Like Religion Or Atheism.” Here is a long but very important quote from that interview, the full text of which can be found here

SCHAEFFER: "...This is the American version of the Taliban. The Taliban quotes the Qu'ran, and al Qaeda quotes certain verses in the Qu'ran, in or out of context, calling for jihad, and bloody war, and the curse of Allah on infidels. This is the Old Testament, Biblical equivalent of calling for holy war. Now, most Americans'll just see the bumper sticker and smile and think that it's facetious. Unfortunately, there are 22 million Americans or so who call themselves super-conservative evangelicals. Of this, a small minority might be violent. But, the general atmosphere here is really getting heated.

And what surprises me is that responsible, if you can put it that way, Republican leadership and the editors of some of these Christian magazines, etc. etc., do not stand up in holy horror and denounce this. You know, they're always asking 'Where is the Islamic leadership denouncing terrorism? Why aren't the moderates speaking out?' Well, I challenge the folks who I used to work with... I would just say to them: 'Where the hell are you? This is not funny anymore. And be it on your head if something happens to our President..."

The unholy linkage between any hate sentiments and the trappings of religion are disgusting to me. I love my faith. I am tired of having the word "Christian" link up to hate mongers.

Last week I blogged on BlogHer about the 71st anniversary of Kristallnacht, the beginning of the Holocaust. That night was a trial balloon sent up by Hitler. If no one objected strongly in Germany, Austria or the rest of the world, then he would gear up full efforts to exterminate the Jews.

The signs of hatred we see now -- Psalm 109 bumper stickers being only one, only the latest, are like that trial balloon. Conservative bloggers are having a heyday with Psalm 109 posts.

Do they all know that the Psalm also seeks death? No, I am absolutely 100% sure they do not. I am sure they just followed along the snark trail, thinking it was OK. Others knew exactly what they were saying -- some of the conservative blogs I saw were quite clear in their unbridled hatred.

We need to be careful. Certainly the bumper sticker is part of the free speech guaranteed to us all. Where I draw the line is when people attempt to link religion and any justification for hatred.

On the one hand -- it's just a bumper sticker -- just a joke.

But it makes me uneasy. Very uneasy.

It is time that those of us who identify as people of faith stand up to this. It is being done in our name. And that is just plain wrong. Speak up. Blog up. Stand up.


Blogger Barb said...

Well said. Amerian version of the Taliban, using religion to justify hatred, violence against another human is so accurate. Food for thought.

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Liz said...

The dialogue, if you can call it that, has become so vile and hate filled - from members of Congress to members of the public, on hate TV and hate radio, that it is very frightening. It is completely inexcusable that people on the right, especially those in Congress, but also commentators on TV, have not spoken out against it. They are all responsible for every bit of the hatred and bigotry if only because they don't speak out against it.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Mata H said...

Everybody has to speak up. Everybody. Right - left- centrist -- everybody.

6:16 PM  

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