Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Imprecatory prayer?

The L.A. Times carried an article, Buena Park pastor asks followers to pray for the death of his critics. The article says,
Drake said Wednesday he was "simply doing what God told me to do" by targeting Americans United officials Joe Conn and Jeremy Leaming, whom he calls the "enemies of God."

"God says to pray imprecatory prayer against people who attack God's church," he said. "The Bible says that if anybody attacks God's people, David said this is what will happen to them. . . . Children will become orphans and wives will become widows."
Not how God actsThe problem that leads to the "imprecatory prayers" is that the pastor is in a pickle with the IRS for endorsing a candidate on his church letterhead and during a church- affiliated radio show. Obviously, he can endorse anyone he would like and do so using the church's letterhead etc. He just can't do that and continue to be tax exempt. So now he wants God to smite the liberal leaning guys who blew the whistle on the endorsement.

Two things about the episode intrigued me. First, Jesus taught that we are to love our enemies. Now we have well covered here at Irenic Thoughts that this is not an excuse to remain in an abusive situation, such as spouse abuse. Jesus was teaching about those who will persecute you for your faith in him. Jesus said,
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
If the Rev. Wiley Drake thinks he is being wrongly persecuted because of his faith in Jesus, he should be rejoicing, not calling for the deaths of those who are wronging him. I would suggest that he try praying Bless them, change me.

The other thing I note is that he doesn't believe in the separation of church and state, but wants the state to keep its nose out of his church business. That sounds more than a little contradictory to me. Remember, it was the people of faith who wanted a separation of church and state. It wasn't that the state wanted the divide. The separation of church and state was devised by people of strong faith who wanted the state to keep out of their religious lives. Church's didn't want one state-sponsored church to determine all there was to know about following Jesus (or Buddha or Mohamed as the case may be).

The pastor can choose one of two ways to handle political endorsement: either allow the tax-exempt status to drop and endorse away or not put the church's imprimatur on his own political choice. Both disbelieving in the separation of church and state and wanting the state to keep their hands off his tax-exempt status is not an option.

For another take on this read Ben Wetherington's Pastor approves cursing your enemies. He does a good job of handling the biblical interpretation issues in the statements of the pastor.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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  • At 8/21/2007 7:41 AM, Anonymous Denise said…

    Does God really need an esc key? What would God have to escape from?

  • At 8/21/2007 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There is no better way for a pastor to divide his own congregaton than to bring his politics into it.

    Like you said in your explanation about the cancellation of the weapons protesters' "luncheon turned political discussion" at KOP: "Our political agendas should be left at the altar."

    I really don't care who the pastor or individuals in my church are endorsing politically. That's not why I go to church. And, frankly, I believe that God stays out of politics too. We are all there praying for guidance. If we are all guided by Him concerning politcal agendas, then aren't we all voting for the same candidate?

    Doesn't this pastor see that by praying these imprecatory prayers against anybody is passing judgemnet against them? Yes, the proper response is "bless them, change me."


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