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'Pray for Obama' T-shirt not exactly prayer for Obama


AP Photo

There's a T-shirt which is creating a ruckus. It's yellow, and  emblazoned on the front is, "Pray for Obama" and underneath, "Psalm 109:8."  The actual line in Psalm 109:8 states, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.”  A hope that Obama gets voted out of office, or something more sinister? 

(President Obama remains in office and unsmited, as can be seen from this photo taken yesterday.)  

My fellow examiners in Tucson, Portland and Atlanta have given their two cents on this subject, but let’s recap what the fuss is about.

A company called Zazzle was purportedly selling this particular t-shirt, but no longer. This statement was released on Wednesday:

“…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.”

The full text of their statement can be found here.

Another company called Cafepress is, however, selling another t-shirt with the same slogan (but not in the seizure-inducing neon yellow which Zazzle was.)

Supporters of the President are up in arms, and declaring that the t-shirt is an exhortation on the part of Christian Conservatives to cause grievous harm to the President. While the actual passage in Psalm 109:8 reads, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office” the rest of the psalm is an entreaty to God to ruin the supplicant’s enemy, to “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow” (the next line.) Clearly, it could be interpreted that some who buy and wear the t-shirt want President Obama deeply incapacitated, to put it mildly. However, other commentators have countered that it’s taking Psalm 109 out of context; all 109:8 declares, they say, is that those who are opposed to the President wish him to not be re-elected. That’s all. There’s no murderous intent, nor are they praying for lethal divine wrath to be visited upon Obama or his family.

Now, the actual psalm itself, read as a whole, is a lament against an oppressive and wicked time; it is also a call by David to bring down righteous vengeance upon his transgressor. But not just to smite down; the oppressor’s familial lineage must also be exterminated, and his deeds stricken from the public records. Taken in literal form, this was part of the no-holds-barred approach in the dog eat dog world that was the ancient Holy Land. It’s tribalism in the purest form, and utter destruction of an enemy was paramount if you wanted to survive. Which brings us back to the t-shirt’s original intent. Is the t-shirt, the fridge magnet, and the bumper sticker (all of which list “109:8”) code for “we hate Barack Obama and hope God or someone does grievous injury to him?” Or was it simply quoting that single line, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office” as a simple statement of political dissatisfaction? Which, by the way, is free speech protected by the First Amendment. When it’s a provable exhortation to violence, then it becomes hate speech.

The only person who could truthfully address the intent is the designer of the offending apparel and the other brickabrack. And if his or her purpose was to maliciously incite the more homicidally inclined amongst the Christian community, then that’s a matter to be settled between the t-shirt designer and God. And the Secret Service. Apparently, they take a dim view of threats (implied or otherwise) against the President of the United States.

Comments

  • Leon - Asian Pacific American 4 years ago

    There are too many nuts out there disguising their racism with anger at the government. It took us eight years to get to this mess. I advise the Obama haters to take a deep breath and give him a chance.

  • Lynne Lehmer 3 years ago

    I agree with you.

  • Henry C Avery 3 years ago

    Until the end of 2005 Bush was president and the congress was controlled by republicans, and the country was fairly prosperous. The November 2005 elections put the democrats in charge of both houses. They made the laws, they passed the rules, they were in control. Then Obama came along. And they had total control of government. For the past 5 years it has been the democrats that have put this country in the shape it's in. I really feel sorry for all who are either too blind to see that, or just to stupid to know the facts of how things run in Washington. They lie, lie, lie. And you just eat it up.

  • Henry C Avery 3 years ago

    Until the end of 2005 Bush was president and the congress was controlled by republicans, and the country was fairly prosperous. The November 2005 elections put the democrats in charge of both houses. They made the laws, they passed the rules, they were in control. Then Obama came along. And they had total control of government. For the past 5 years it has been the democrats that have put this country in the shape it's in. I really feel sorry for all who are either too blind to see that, or just to stupid to know the facts of how things run in Washington. They lie, lie, lie. And you just eat it up.

  • Carol Gibson - Miami Astrology Examiner 4 years ago

    I agree with Leon. Wouldn't it be wonderful if people would stop hatred based on skin color, religious bias, gender, and other superficial aspects?

  • Lynne Lehmer 3 years ago

    I think it's partly because we are not taking the time to get to know each other. It might be because we don't think. We are supposed to be homo sapien, thinking man, but we just go too often on our emotions or something...fear of taking the time to communicate and just hanging around with our own social groups, not intermingling enough.

  • Sprite 4 years ago

    Apparently bigotry is OK if you support the president.

  • Peter, Esoteric History Examiner 4 years ago

    Now folks, America's one big Thanksgiving Dinner. We're all sitting at the table, trying very hard to overcome our mutual antipathy and revulsion for each other. I'd say that's a start, wouldn't you?

  • Hello Welfare, Good bye Pride 4 years ago

    So the correct awnser would be just give your freedom over, give your rights over, let uncle sam make your choice, let big brother come in and take what they like. Sit by do nothing, and leave your children with nothing. As long as you do nothing you will get the world is that it. Why not the world owes you right. Why not give your right away your not using them any way.

  • Larry Luntsford 4 years ago

    I did not find the Zazzle statement repudiating the Obama/Psalm 109:8
    T-shirt violence threat to the President at the link you provided.
    However, I did notice that the site is still selling 3 bumper stickers
    with the same dangerous message, at this address:
    www(dot)zazzle(dot)com/pray+for+obama+psalm+109+8+gifts
    (dot), of course, means the period symbol, which is not allowed
    on this site in the context of a link or URL.

  • Peter, Esoteric History Examiner 4 years ago

    Larry, thanks for checking. I just clicked the original link, and the t-shirt disclaimer is still on the Zazzle site -- you just need to scroll down toward the first quarter of the webpage. It's just after the pic of the teddy bear in the disturbing pink cheerleader outfit.

  • The Antiobammy 4 years ago

    So, I thought liberals thought they were god? Why should they fear this if they don't believe in GOD???

  • Larry Luntsford 4 years ago

    I did not find the Zazzle statement repudiating the Obama/Psalm 109:8
    T-shirt violence threat to the President at the link you provided.
    However, I did notice that the site is still selling 3 bumper stickers
    with the same dangerous message, at this address:
    www(dot)zazzle(dot)com/pray+for+obama+psalm+109+8+gifts
    (dot), of course, means the period symbol, which is not allowed
    on this site in the context of a link or URL.

  • Zazzle Employee 4 years ago

    Larry - Thanks for the alert. These products will be taken down.

  • Belinda Stockton 4 years ago

    Great article! Thank you for covering this. It's saddening and unfortunate that some people would use the Word of God to request that the President and those close to him be harmed. WWJD?

    Romans 13:7
    "Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority."
    *Note: "...give respect and honor to those who are in authority"

  • Shelly 4 years ago

    What's interesting to me is that the Bush haters said things that were just as bad, if not worse in some cases and they still are. Weren't there people hoping for his death? But if someone doesn't like Obama or his policies, well, you better not say anything about it or you'll be a racist. Most democrats claim to be the tolerant ones, but only if you agree with them.

  • Roxana, Tulsa Protestant Examiner 4 years ago

    Hate in different forms isn't the right way. What may sound "funny" for some, isn't really funny at all. We might not like the president, we might disagree with his views, but if I am a Chritian, I am called to pray for him and for all our leaders. (Pray asking for blessing, guidance, wisdom not evil!)

  • Rick 4 years ago

    Let them buy and market these items so that we may recognize them. Then we have the opportunity of informing them or inflicting a sucker-punch to the nose, whichever you chose...

  • T.Burkett 4 years ago

    I'm surprised that those who sell, buy, or wear this product are not indicted for treasonous acts. The shirt clearly is an incitement to assassinate the president.

  • CommieHypocrites 4 years ago

    To Rick and T.Burkett.. you both are hypocrites, and stupid on top of that. The commie democrats have been doing their best to destroy the Constitution for over 100 years and every one of them in office today are traitors to the constitution they took an oath to defend. Did you cry treason when they made a movie of the assassination of PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH? Did you suggest sucker punching those who burned in effigy PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH? No. Of course not. Because you are both hypocrites. You support Marxists and Communists which makes you traitors to this country. You, and every democrat in office today should be put on trial for treason during a time of war. And when you are found guilty, you should be hanged, or killed by firing squad. How unbelievable that you communists would dare mention that someone else might be treasonous. No one is more treasonous than the current CommieCrats in Washington, and you.

  • BlueCornMoon 4 years ago

    Just shows that stupid ignorant people never take a day off. I wasn't a Bush supporter, but I would never ever pray for his or any other of our presidents to be assassinated or create such an ignorant product as that shirt. People use the "freedom of speech" argument as an excuse to show their degenerate & disgusting character. Another example of how low our society has become as far as good manners & respect are concerned SAD.

  • ashley e. gaskin-carr 4 years ago

    I pray for Obama and his familt on a daily basis that he may do what GOD has called him to do and not what man wants him to do.

    Obama and family you guys are always in my prayers.

  • ignorantpolitically 4 years ago

    When someone wishes that their children would become "fatherless", he is a father and if their children become fatherless....... THIS IS A THREAT, AND THE SECRET SERVICE SHOULD TREAT IT AS SO....

  • ignorantpolitically 4 years ago

    BY THE WAY, conservative "christians" know this is a prayer to pray when you want harm to come to your enemies, and they fell President Obama is the enemy. The ignorance of it all, this is OLD TESTAMENT, and we should be living in the New Testament under the blood. Ignorance.....

  • DaWord 4 years ago

    Typical of right wing hypocrites. We love God, we love our country, we are Christians, but pray for the Presidents death, root against him for the Olympics, and generally hope for him to fail.
    Yes, such sincere Christians, or is this what a Christian really is?

  • Denise 4 years ago

    This T-shirt has nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans, because neither party has anything to brag about. This is pure hatred because we have a black President. This was meant to be weather people like it or not. I will pray for Obama that he leads this this country better than any other Presidents has ever led before, this man hasn't been in office very long, and the people expect him to change the whole country. To the haters who printed this t-shirt, watch your back that God doesn't strike you down for using the Bible for your evilness.

  • revptucker 4 years ago

    who would have thought in this day and age we would still be dealing with this type of predjudice. it wouldn't be so baad if all of the hoopla was over the president doing a bad job but it's clearly about him being a black man.having a black president challenges all the lies that have been told through history that black people are not intelligent and we are not human we come from apes and monkies but look what God has done he has elevated this black man to a high position aand there is nothing that anyone can do about because he was voted in using the white mans laws and rules. And if george W Bush and his family can be president why not Barak Obama he intelligent aand thats one up on Bush the problem he has ocording to white society is that he is not supposed to be intelligent because his skim in black. Thank God that God doesn't look at our skin color so that when President Obama turn is up we may have an Indian president or a Hispanic president nothing is impossible with God!

  • DWS 3 years ago

    Thank you,

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