Thursday, August 16, 2007

And You Thought Baptists Didn't Curse

The group Americans United for Separation of Church and State is, it's not hard to figure out, opposed to the fudging of the line between religion and government. When they think a church is getting too political, they tend to publicize the fact, sometimes file a complaint -- that's what they're there for. The group exists to see that the strict and extremely-necessary wall between religion and government stands firm.

Turns out the churches don't always really appreciate this. So what can the churches do to defend themselves? Who can help them? Ah, yes ... (From USA Today's blog):
God is being called upon in a bitter dispute between a California Baptist pastor and the organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Specifically, Rev. Wiley Drake of the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, Calif., is asking his supporters to use "imprecatory prayer" to curse Americans United and its leaders.

The argument centers on whether Drake violated federal tax law by "electioneering" when he recently endorsed the presidential candidacy of Republican Mike Huckabee. Americans United on Tuesday asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate.

Today, Drake told us by telephone that he has called for prayers aimed at smiting the AU and its leadership not because they oppose him personally, but because "they are attacking God's people." Dispute over pastor's politics escalates: He wants prayers cursing his foes

They must not have heard about the guy the other day who got hit by lightning out of a clear, blue sky while he was passing out religious literature. I'd think there's a chance this might backfire.
Drake also said he had been careful to state that he was "personally endorsing" Huckabee, not throwing his church's support to the candidate. He put the endorsement on the church's letterhead, Drake said, "because I'm not going to let anyone tell me I have to hide who I am. I use letterhead to pay my phone bill and to send my mother a note."

AU, meanwhile, today issued a statement that condemns "the tactics of a political pastor in California who has urged followers to pray for the demise of staff members of the religious liberty watchdog group."

"Instead of addressing our concerns of illegally melding religion and partisan politics, Dr. Drake has launched an outlandish attack on us," Rev. Barry Lynn, AU's executive director said in the statement. "Calling for curses on us might distract Drake's supporters, but it won't help him with the IRS."

Yeah, can you imagine Jesus looking down at this? His disappointment must be immeasurable.

The Associated Baptist Press has a little more on this:
Wiley Drake, pastor, radio crusader and Baptist gadfly, issued an Aug. 14 statement calling for "imprecatory prayer" from his supporters against two communications staffers for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The term "imprecatory prayer is used to describe prayers, mostly in the Bible's Old Testament, that the righteous used to call down God's wrath against their enemies.. Drake, SBC presidential candidate, calls for God's wrath against AU

Funny, I never heard of that before, have you?

You think it'll work?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In the statement, Drake asks supporters to “specifically target” the group’s communications director, Joe Conn, and his associate, Jeremy Leaming."

From Drake Statement: "David as our Old Testament shepherd gives us many Imprecatory prayers, and can be found to be in best focus in Psalm 109"

Psalm 109: 8) May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. 9) May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.


From Drake Statement: "Jesus in Matthew 23: 13, 15, 16, 23, 24, 27, and 29 gave us our New Testament marching orders as well."

Here’s just a couple, but I encourage you to read the rest. There's really nothing quite like projection to make your point:

13"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

27"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.

And what does the Bible say of the prayers of the wicked?

Proverbs 28:9 -If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.

Isaiah 1:15 -When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood

Psalms 66:18 -If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened

The irony's so thick you could cut it with a knife.

August 16, 2007 10:55 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

These are just a few of those embarrassing examples from our history that we Jews tend to ignore, from elementary school through Saturday sermons. But you've got to give the guy credit. He's seriously using parts of the Hebrew Bible Jim didn't even know existed.
We continually lambast the extremists for singling out the prohibition against homosexual sexual behavior while ignoring all the other primitive injunctions, and here comes a guy quite facile in using some of those.
If they ever figure out how to be consistent, and call for stoning children and adulterers and reintroducing slavery and the bride price, we'll lose one of our most powerful arguments.

August 17, 2007 4:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they ever figured out how to be consistent, they'd no longer be hateful, bigoted, and homophobic.

In other words, they'd no longer be "Christian."

August 17, 2007 6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Dana, I didn't quite complete that thought.

I admit, if they were consistent, either way, they would have much more credibility. My thinking was that supremacists would never ascribe to the "love thy neighbor as thy self" philosophy -- if they did, they'd no longer be what they consider Christianity to be, namely supremacy.

So if they did, they'd no longer be supremacists, and therefore no longer be anti-gay. At least not in an antagonistic way.

On the other hand, they could be more consistent with OT law, like Rushdoony. Of course most people wouldn't take them seriously at that point if they openly advocated for our death.

Either way though, they'd get more respect from me, just for being honest about their beliefs.

You also said:
"These are just a few of those embarrassing examples from our history that we Jews tend to ignore, from elementary school through Saturday sermons."

That reminds me of the Lewis Black HBO special, where he was railing about how stupid it was for Christians to use the OT Bible to justify being anti-gay-marriage, and said something like:
'...for your information...there are jews who walk among you....And they will take time...out of their jewy jewy e-x-p-l-a-i-n it to you.

It was hilarious, but it resonates with what you said, and profound in the sense that for a Christain to proclaim themself an expert on the Old Testament, must seem to a jewish person to be tantamount to proclaiming themselves an expert on Jewish history.

And too, another reason to give this guy Drake credit, he's anti-gay, but I also read that he got in trouble for allowing homeless people to stay on church property.

August 19, 2007 4:49 AM  

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