This week, an unusual story was featured on most major networks. A judge in Texas dismissed the case against Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former Navy Chaplain. Michael Weinstein, an outspoken critic of Christianity and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, had filed suit against Klingenschmitt over the content of a 2009 prayer. He complained that the prayer was aimed at inciting violence against him and his family. Weinstein knew the contents of the prayer because it was posted online. Here’s what Klingenschmitt wrote:
“One-Minute Prayer: Let us pray. Almighty God, today we pray imprecatory prayers from Psalm 109 against the enemies of religious liberty, including Barry Lynn and Mikey Weinstein, who issued press releases this week attacking me personally. God, do not remain silent, for wicked men surround us and tell lies about us. We bless them, but they curse us. Therefore find them guilty, not me. Let their days be few, and replace them with Godly people. Plunder their fields, and seize their assets. Cut off their descendants, and remember their sins, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Combative, certainly, but it does not quite reflect the severity of David’s original:
“O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, for wicked and deceitful men have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues. With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer. They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship. Appoint an evil man to oppose him; let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is tried, let him be found guilty, and may his prayers condemn him. May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes. May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor. May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children. May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation. May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord; may the sin of his mother never be blotted out. May their sins always remain before the Lord, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.” (Psalm 109:1–15, NIV84)
Ouch! Some commentators explain away the caustic remarks by attributing them to David’s enemies, but this is not altogether persuasive. Regardless, one thing is clear, it is an appeal to God that He deal harshly with those that threaten His people. The court ruling grants us the freedom to pray in this manner, but should we?