Friday, November 20, 2009

This Crazy Stuff Has to Stop

I suppose you've all heard or read about the new anti-Obama slogan that's making the rounds in conservative circles.This little gem is available on t-shirts and bumper stickers - Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8.

For those of you who may not recall that verse offhand, it says:

May his days be few;
may another take his place of leadership.

Standing alone, the verse may not seem too sinister. Maybe it means "may his days in office be few...." Anyone who is inclined to accept that interpretation, however, is gonna have a whole lotta 'splainin' to do when that verse is put in its context:

8 May his days be few;
       may another take his place of leadership.

 9 May his children be fatherless
       and his wife a widow.

 10 May his children be wandering beggars;
       may they be driven from their ruined homes.

 11 May a creditor seize all he has;
       may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.

 12 May no one extend kindness to him
       or take pity on his fatherless children.

 13 May his descendants be cut off,
       their names blotted out from the next generation.

Now, I know that anti-W rhetoric got heated. And, it was often less than kind. But, the right-wing hatred of Obama has gone beyond differences of opinions and grown disgustingly toxic. Then again, there are some who contend that this is simply a joke, a funny meme. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who thinks this slogan is funny is seriously humor-impaired.

A slogan like this would be bad enough if it were merely vicious. What bothers me nearly as much as the malice is the seemingly seamless blending of religion and politics. What kinds of people are drawn toward this slogan?

Jews? After all, the passage comes from the Old Testament. But, somehow, I don't think many Jews are plastering their Chevys with these bumper stickers.

Muslims? I doubt it.

Buddhists? Yeah, right.

No, the people that seem most likely to be attracted to this slogan are the ones who currently infest the Republican party: rabid, uber-rightwing conservative Christians. Some of them are the kind of people who organize Tea Bagging events to protest taxes and health care reform. And some of them are the kind who insist that the United States is, or ought to be, a "Christian Nation" - with the understanding, of course, that their particular, peculiar flavor of Christianity is the one that should prevail. If this kind of vile, violent, virulent hatred and intolerance for people with whom one disagrees is part of what living in a "Christian Nation" entails, I want no part of it. Furthermore, I will not stand by quietly while they try to wreck my country. I'm all for freedom of religion. And freedom of conscience. And freedom of speech. I am all against theocracy. And oligarchy. And fascism. And I will oppose all of those forces with every breath in my body.

As much as the malice of this simple-minded slogan bothers me, and as much as the narrow-mindedness of the sloganeers bothers me, the thing that bothers me the most about this situation, by far, is the silence of a) Republicans and b) Christians. The Republican party is going to hell in a roller coaster; the Republicans aren't playing a role in the governance of our country, they're playing count-the-votes in next year's mid-term election. Listen up, Republicans: get your act together and do the right thing. Either get some control over the radicals in your ranks or cut them loose. They are a drag on your party and they do not advance the cause of conservative politics. You may think you're using them, but, be aware, they're also using you. There's no guarantee that the civil wing of the party will win the battle for party control. From where I sit, it looks an awful lot like the radicals have taken over and are well into the process of marginalizing the thoughtful among you. Grow some spines and take back your party, lest you lose not only your party, but your country too.

As for Christian leaders, I'm sick and tired of the deafening silence that accompanies Christian extremism. I commented on this before, shortly after the murder of Dr. Paul Tiller. Ever since 9/11 (perhaps even before then), Christians have urged moderate and liberal Muslims to police the rogues within their camp. Has Tony Perkins spoken out against this ostensibly Christian rhetorical nonsense, this oh-so-clever "joke?" Or Don Wildmon? Or Rick Warren? Or Gary Bauer? To my knowledge, not one of them (nor anyone like them) has uttered a word. If I'm wrong, please provide links in the comments. Listen up, Christian activists: now's the time to put your money where your mouths are. Tell the violent, theocratic thugs and teabaggers in your ranks to get over themselves and put an end to the reckless rhetoric before someone - like, maybe, President Obama - gets hurt. Or worse.

If Christians want people to take seriously the notion that they possess the secrets to God's Kingdom, that they bear Good News for all people, they'd better start policing themselves and cleaning up their own wretchedly soiled house. Until they do so, they have no business telling Muslims, or anyone else, what to do. From where I sit, most Republican officeholders and many Christian political activists look like nothing more than power-hungry opportunists and control freaks. I want nothing to do with people like them and I certainly don't want them running
ruining my country. This crazy extremist stuff has to stop before we all get so deeply into it that we'll need bucket loaders to dig us out. The crazy stuff has to stop, and it has to stop now.

UPDATE I: Here's a video of Rachel Maddow and Frankie Schaeffer discussing the issue:

UPDATE II: It appears that a number of Internet vendors have removed this merchandise from their product lines. Given that death threats against President Obama are 400% higher than they were for President Bush, this is, IMO, a good thing.


Dave said...

I agree with Frank Schaeffer...there is a tone and spirit behind this type of stuff that is disgusting and frightening.

Joanne said...

I couldn't agree more! "It's the do as I say, not as I do" mentality. It truly flies in the face of Christ's words to his disciples "Love one another as I have loved you,by this all men will know that you are mine: (John 13:34). Christ did NOT put down his disciples, not even Judas when he knew what was to happen. What ever happenned to unconditional love?

Barbara said...

I'm shocked! Shocked and speechless!