Praying for the Death of the President

Wiley Drake, pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, California is praying Psalm 109:8-9 every day. Psalm 109 is a psalm of lament. The psalm is an imprecatory prayer in the form of a curse against a particular enemy. Drake’s prayer is focused on verses 8 and 9:

May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow (Psalm 109:8-9).

The focus of Drake’s prayer is President Barack Obama. In a radio interview, Drake said he is praying for the death of President Obama. According to an article published in Salon.com, Drake was asked the following question by radio talk show host Alan Colmes:

“Are you praying for his death?” Colmes asked Drake, referring to President Obama. “Yes,” Drake replied. “So you’re praying for the death of the president of the United States?” Colmes asked. “Yes.” “You would like for the president of the United States to die?” Colmes asked once more. “If he does not turn to God and does not turn his life around, I am asking God to enforce imprecatory prayers that are throughout the Scripture that would cause him death, that’s correct.”

But Drake is not the only one praying for the death of President Obama. According to Salon.com,

Pastor Steve Anderson of Faithful World Baptist Church in Tempe, Ariz., also incorporates this form of prayer in his worship. In fact, Frederick Clarkson of Religion Dispatches surmises that Anderson inspired one regular attendant of Faithful World Baptist, 28-year-old Chris Broughton, to show up to a speech by the president with two guns in hand when he issued the following sermon:

“You’re going to tell me that I’m supposed to pray for the socialist devil, murderer, infanticide, who wants to see young children, and he wants to see babies killed through abortion and partial-birth abortion and all these different things,” Anderson said, referring to President Obama. “Nope. I’m not gonna pray for his good. I’m going to pray that he dies and goes to hell.”

It is sad that Christians are praying for the death of the President of the United Sates. This attitude violates the intent of Paul’s words in Romans 13. Paul wrote:

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:1-2).

When Paul wrote these words both Christians and Jews were under Roman oppression. It is in light of the political realities of the first century that Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome urging them to honor and obey the political authorities of his days.

Paul also wrote:

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God” (1 Timothy 2:1).

Some Christians agree with the policies of President Obama, other disagree with what he is doing as President. But political disagreement is no reason for Christians to pray for his death. The political response of any Christian should reflect an attitude of respect for the person and for the office, even when they disagree with the policies of the President.

Those pastors who are praying for the death of the President should read their Bible and be aware of what God’s Word has to say about those in authority. The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote:

“Do not curse the king even in your thoughts” (Ecclesiastes 10:20).

HT: Benjamin Myers at Faith and Theology

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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15 Responses to Praying for the Death of the President

  1. Jeffrey says:

    >Dr. Claude MariottiniThis is a sound biblical rebuttal you have written. It's very important for Christians to study to show themselves approved unto God a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth.God bless in Jesus name

    Like

  2. >I have to say that I think Wiley Drake is racially motivated. I know Obama is President but that does not perceive mean now all racists love black folks. I don't see Obama as more less Christian than any President we have had before.

    Like

  3. >Marcus,It is sad that in a country like ours, people do not like one another because of race or culture. People may disagree with the policies of the President, but no one has the right to pray for his death. It is people like that give give Christianity a bad name. Claude Mariottini

    Like

  4. Don says:

    >To pray for the death of a president is inconscionable. As a former Southern Baptist, it grieves me to see this take place in America.

    Like

  5. >Jeffrey,Thank you for your comment. This un-Christian action needed a rebuttal.Claude Mariottini

    Like

  6. >Don,I agree with you. No Christian should pray for the death of another human being, much less the President of the United States. Those who do these things do not know the teachings of Christ.Claude Mariottini

    Like

  7. Anonymous says:

    >I agree 100%, but it's incredible to think that we need to quote a bible verse to note that wishing harm on an individual is vile behavior. It's an example of how Christianity makes people into worse human beings, and I say this as someone who has attended evangelical churches for decades.Whatever happened to the idea that christians should love people we don't naturally get along with (although even that is a stretch, given that the only sense in which Obama has harmed this individual is in his own fevered imagination)?paulf

    Like

  8. >Paul F.,Thank you for your comment. There are some people who use the Bible as an excuse to justify their behavior. There is no place in Christianity for anyone using the Bible to wish the death of a person. What happened to Jesus' words: "Love you enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44)?Claude Mariottini

    Like

  9. mattdabbs says:

    >Steve Anderson doesn't have a clue what he is talking about on a variety of matters. Just have a look at youtube and do a search for him, especially the "He who pisseth against the wall" sermon. It is craziness and the worst exegesis that has existed this side of the asylum.This is all very unfortunate.

    Like

  10. >Matt,Steve Anderson is famous for his sermons. The guy does not know a thing about biblical exegesis.I have a post in which I include a video of his famous "pisseth against the wall" sermon. That sermon is a classical on how not to preach a sermon.Claude Mariottini

    Like

  11. Anonymous says:

    >If I understand what is being argued and apply it to another situation with another evil leader – a good German Christian in the late 1930s-early 1940s would pray for long life of the German leader and only a bad and racist German Christian in the late 1930s-early 1940s would pray for that leaders death.Matthew Hamilton

    Like

  12. >Matthew,President Obama is not killing 6 millions American.Claude Matiottini

    Like

  13. >Matthew, I don't agree with all of Obama's policies, but in what way is Obama more evil then all of the presidents we've had before, or any of us for that matter?

    Like

  14. Anonymous says:

    >Due to the strength of the pro-death lobby no recent US president has tried directly to outlaw all (non-medical) abortions that kill well over 6 million US people in a presidential term, so I won't hold Obama to account for that – but I do hold him to account for not taking any steps to indirectly limit the number of abortions.For example, has Obama stated he will veto any bill that funds abortion or abortion providers, has Obama used his rhetorical skills to argue against abortion and then followed up with any actions, has Obama appointed pro-life judges in greater number than pro-death judges?Matthew Hamilton

    Like

  15. >Matthew,I am against abortion but not even this is a reason to pray for the death of the President. If America does not like abortion, then Americans should elect a President who does not favor abortion.Claude Mariottini

    Like

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