In 2010, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) died. Murtha had been a staunch opponent of the War in Iraq and frequently butted heads with the Religious Right. In response to his death, one of the more disturbing responses came from Pastor Wiley Drake of First Southern Baptist Church in California (below), who sent out an email saying the congressman’s death may have had something to do with his prayers:
“Maybe God took him out,” Drake wrote. “Maybe God Answered our IMPRECATORY prayer that we prayed every 30 days.”
I asked Drake if his statements weren’t distasteful, particularly coming immediately after Murtha’s death. He said that as a Christian, he didn’t buy into the sentiment of not speaking ill of the dead.
“It’s not distasteful to pray the word of God and include somebody’s name,” he said. “I didn’t celebrate his death. I said maybe it was God’s answer to our imprecatory prayer.”
Drake regularly asks his “prayer warriors” to participate in prayer targeting “unrighteous” politicians. He typically uses Psalms 109, including these passages including in his Monday email: “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” And, “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”
I know his prayers had nothing to do with Murtha’s death, but it’s disturbing that anyone would ask God for such a thing at all.
Drake, clearly brimming with good judgment, has now announced that he will run for President:
The nation needs to return to the Judeo-Christian principles on which it was founded, said Drake, who serves as pastor for the First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park.
“We need to get a pastor back in charge,” he said. “Politicians used to be right men. Now they are wrong men.”
Great. Another candidate who insists on merging church and state.
It’s not his first campaign, either. Drake was on the ballot as Alan Keyes‘ running mate in 2008, another campaign that thankfully went nowhere.
Maybe Drake can just pray for success. It’s not like he’s getting support from anywhere else.
(Image via Ustream. Thanks to Becky for the link)