Here’s some of the story from Associated Baptist Press:
A former Southern Baptist Convention officer who on June 2 called the death of abortion provider George Tiller an answer to prayer said later in the day he is also praying “imprecatory prayer” against President Obama.
Wiley Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif., and former running mate of American Independent Party presidential candidate Alan Keyes, said June 2 on Fox News Radio he didn’t understand why people were upset with his comments quoted by Associated Baptist Press from a webcast of his daily radio talk show.
“Imprecatory prayer is agreeing with God, and if people don’t like that, they need to talk to God,” Drake told syndicated talk-show host Alan Colmes. “God said it, I didn’t. I was just agreeing with God.”
Asked if there are others for whom Drake is praying “imprecatory prayer,” Drake hesitated before answering that there are several. “The usurper that is in the White House is one, B. Hussein Obama,” he said.
It’s crazy I know. It’s also not representative of all Southern Baptists. But here’s where I think this kind of poor use of Scripture originates. A lot of fundamentalist Christians believe that Scripture should be interpreted literally–hence the Creation Museum. This mindset is encouraged by Baptist leadership. Those who drafted the Baptist Faith and Message (the guidepost for Southern Baptists) in 2000 set the stage for this insane Biblical interpretation. Don’t think it’s crazy? Then why shouldn’t Christians delight in the bashing of babies on rocks (Psalm 137) or stone disobedient children (Deuteronomy 21:18) or force rapists to marry their victims (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)?
In the 1963 version of the Baptist Faith and Message, this type of interpretation was discouraged by including this phrase in the section on Scripture: “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.”
You see, Jesus called us to love our enemies in Matthew 5:43-46. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?”
That’s a far cry from Wiley Drake’s prayer! Baptist leadership involved in the drafting of the 1963 version believed that the Sermon on the Mount was a key to understanding how one should act. However, in the 2000 version of the Baptist Faith and Message, this phrase is omitted. Thus, the Wiley Drakes of the Baptist world are free to find any section of Scripture and follow it literally without reflecting on Jesus’ message. It’s pretty darn scary and one reason so many Christians can endorse torture.
Lately I’ve been very depressed about how my Christian brothers and sisters have endorsed behavior Christ would have scorned. It’s time for us who believe the ultimate message of Christ was one of God’s call to love and grace to take a stand against those who fail to follow Christ’s command to love our enemies and serve others and see others as persons loved by God rather than objects of our hatred. Sure, it’s tough to do. It’s downright Un-American. Christians need to realize that following Jesus makes us Un-American sometimes. It puts us in the minority on some things. That’s OK!