Pastor Calls for Death of Church-State Separationists
From the Baltimore Sun, August 26, 2007:
Until last week, "imprecatory prayer" was not in many people's vocabularies.
But then the Rev. Wiley S. Drake, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Buena Park, Calif., urged his supporters to use Psalm 109 to focus prayers directed at the "enemies of God" - including the leaders of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The controversy flared Aug. 14, the day the Washington-based group asked the Internal Revenue Service to probe the tax-exempt status of Drake's congregation.
Under the heading, "HOW TO PRAY," he listed all 31 verses of Psalm 109, in which King David appeals to divine justice. Drake provided his congregation the King James Version of the psalm, including Verse 9, which says: "Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow."
When some Muslims in the Middle East call down "death to America" because of our foreign policy, we are understandably concerned. Our error comes when we fail to sound the alarm at domestic radical clerics who call down death and grievous misery upon their critics and their families. I don't expect that God will smite down the leadership of Americans United for the same reason that God did not smite down Dover, PA, after Pat Robertson filed a celestial application for a terrestrial smiting of that town. The reason that God did not smite down Dover when its school board decided to comply with common sense, the law and a court order in ceasing to engage in religious instruction in its schools under the rubric of intelligent design is simple: God does not exist, a fatal flaw in God's professional qualifications for the position of celestial smiter of wingnuttery's critics.
The "not existing" part is hard to overcome in the job interview. What does concern me, however, is terrestrial smiters, such as those who vandalized the Unitarian Universalist church near my home for its brazen failure to be homophobic and doctrinally orthodox as defined by several presumably (for that county) Protestant critics who spray-painted their theological and moral criticisms in the dark of night. Their more violent brethren might not use spray paint but powder and lead to render someone's wife a widow and his children fatherless. Abortion clinic bombers and arguably even Timothy McVeigh follow logically from the same sort of mentality.
It should be noted that Americans United asked only that the IRS investigate a probable violation of the tax code. Churches may indeed endorse political candidates but ONLY if the churches don't ask the federal government for a special exemption from income taxes for the church itself AND for their donor flock to the extent of their donations/fees/dues, etc. This church has been living tax free in exchange for being a so-called charity, though "member-supported private social organization" seems a fairer description factually unless the church is actually feeding the poor and sheltering the homeless, rather than reading ancient manuscripts about doing the same. This church pretty blatantly violated this law according to reports. So AU asked the government to take a look; the response from the church was a call for the killing of AU's executives, allegedly by "God" but presumably in practice by someone else. Since God does not exist, it's his followers who have to clear the "celestial in-box" of required smitings filed by our nation's radical clerics.
This story passed almost without notice in the American "press." I recall another nation, one less flirtatious with or accommodating of right-wing religious violence. Did I actually hallucinate the USA of my elementary school years?