Is This T-Shirt Praying for Obama's Assassination?

Psalm: "May his children be orphans, and his wife a widow"

By Andrew Greiner
|  Thursday, Nov 19, 2009  |  Updated 6:37 PM EDT
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A new Biblical Obama slogan making the rounds on conservative T-shirts and bumper stickers is being interpreted as calling for the president's death.

The slogan “Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8” seems innocent enough, but the actual verse reads: “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.”

The psalm goes on to say: "May his children be orphans, and his wife a widow." Read the entire psalm here.

Scholars contend that the entire chapter is a plea for God to smite an evil man.

Going beyond simple ill will, the psalm asks that that the victim lose all his worldly goods, that his orphans be abandoned, that his father be remembered as a sinner, and finally, that "his memory be cut off from the earth."

Those with knowledge of the bible say the passage, which is part of a class of psalms called “imprectory” prayers, should not be used at all.

One online marketplace site thought the t-shirt was inflamatory enough to ban it from their sales ranks.

Zazzle.com said:" It is only after great thought that we have determined that these products, in the context of the full text of Psalm 109, may be interpreted in such a way as to suggest physical harm to the President of the United States.  In deference to the Office of the President of the United States, and in accordance with federal law prohibiting the making of threats against the physical wellbeing of the President of the United States, Zazzle has therefore determined that these products are in violation of the Zazzle User Agreement and not appropriate for inclusion in the Zazzle Marketplace.  We have begun efforts to remove them from our website, and we will be vigilant to the publication of similar products moving forward."

The Christian Science Monitor asked a few people if the slogan could be considered hate speech.

“Are we concerned about real hostility towards [President Obama]? Absolutely,” Deborah Lauter, director of civil rights at the Anti-Defamation League said. “Is this a part of that movement? It may be, but in terms of this message itself, we would not criticize it.

“The problem is you don’t know if people who are donning that message in a shirt or on a bumper sticker are fully aware of the quote or what follows. Obviously that message makes the ambiguity disappear. If they’re just referring to him being out of office, that’s one thing. If they’re referring to him being dead, that’s so offensive. It’s protected speech, but it’s clearly offensive.”

Amen.

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