Thursday, June 18, 2009

More imprecatory prayer

A couple of weeks ago I told you about former Southern Baptist Convention vice president, Wiley Drake, and his admission that he was praying for the death of President Obama. His commentary was so volatile that even fellow pastors in the SBC gave Drake a very wide berth. It seems that this idea of imprecatory prayer has been spreading like wildfire as of late. It turns out that former Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt is now wishing death upon those who dare to think for themselves. I seem to remember Jesus as saying to pray for your enemies, not wishing them dead.

In April, Klingenschmitt released a podcast called "The One-Minute Prayer," in which he called for the death of freethinkers Barry Lynn and Mikey Wienstein. Hit the play button to hear the clip. Here is the transcript of the prayer:

"One-Minute Prayer: Let us pray. Almighty God, today we pray imprecatory prayers from Psalm 109 against the enemies of religious liberty, including Barry Lynn and Mikey Weinstein, who issued press releases this week attacking me personally. God, do not remain silent, for wicked men surround us and tell lies about us. We bless them, but they curse us. Therefore find them guilty, not me. Let their days be few, and replace them with Godly people. Plunder their fields, and seize their assets. Cut off their descendants, and remember their sins, in Jesus' name. Amen."

For those of you who may not know, Barry Lynn is the host of "Culture Shocks", a daily web broadcast, and an outspoken advocate of separation of church and state. Mikey Wienstein is an Air Force Academy graduate who spent 3 years in the White House during the Reagan administration has his own website, and is also an outspoken advocate for separation of church and state. Interestingly, Lynn is an ordained minister.

Klingenschmitt believes that he was wrongfully court-martialed from the Navy in 2007 because he was praying in Jesus' name in public. In reality, he was canned for disobeying a Navy rule that prohibits taking part in a political rally in front of the White House in uniform alongside known racist and former Alabama Supreme Court justice Roy Moore. Being a veteran, I can assure you that showing up in uniform at a political rally is illegal.

Klingenschmitt put out the divine hit on the lives of Lynn and Wienstein after they sent a joint letter to the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gary Roughead, informing him that he [Klingenschmitt] was violating federal law by misusing a military uniform. Because of this letter, Klingenschmitt was forced to offer a disclaimer informing visitors to his website that he is no longer a Navy chaplain. Not surprising, however, he still refers to himself as such.

The glaring irony of Klingenschmitt's stance is that he claims to support religious freedom. I'm not sure if he knew, but religious freedom does not mean indoctrinating or proselytizing military members with a very specific religious worldview. Rather, it means letting an individual have the liberty to choose which religion is right for him or her, or even if they want to worship at all. The First Amendment is there to protect Americans from religious tyranny, and separation of church and state is possibly the most important aspect of our form of government. Leave it up to right-wing thugs like Klingenschmitt and Drake to take this vital part of our culture and twist it into a demonstrable lie.

In related news, the military is now denying that its members are trying to convert Muslims in Afganistan. According to Klingenschmitt, "It's not proselytizing. It's evangelism." What the difference is I have no idea. It was learned that Christians in the military were carrying Bibles in Pashtu and Dari to give to Afghans, a blatant violation of General Order 1. The Bibles were subsequently confiscated and burned.

In somewhat related news, scientists have determined (again) that intercessory prayer for the sick and injured does little if anything to help them recover. Why universities keep wasting their money on the link between prayer and health I have no idea.

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