Praying for Liberals
By David Waters

A conservative Christian organization affiliated with Jerry Falwell's Liberty University has decided to take a less partisan and more prayerful approach to the "radically liberal" age of Obama. The Liberty Council, a nonprofit that defends religious liberties, is encouraging its supporters to "Adopt a Liberal" and "pray earnestly and intensely for them."

(Semantic aside: Ironically, "liberty" and "liberal" share the same Latin root, liber, an adjective meaning free.)

Liberty's prayer list of liberals includes Democrats and Republicans -- President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but also California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"Pick one or more of the liberals from the list we have posted online at, or choose your own liberal(s) to adopt," Liberty requests. "Pray earnestly and intensely for them! Pray that the Lord would move upon them and cause them to be the kind of leaders who will encourage others to lead 'a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.' We encourage you to seek the Lord's guidance on how to pray for your liberal(s), always allowing Him to temper your prayer with His love and mercy."

Is this what Jesus meant when he told his followers to "pray for your enemies"?

It's certainly a nicer and more faithful approach than, say, last weekend's "How to Take America Back" conference, co-sponsored by Christian Right mavens Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum and Janet Porter of Faith2Action.

Saturday at the conference, for example, U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who founded the Arizona Family Research Institute, told the audience that President Obama "is an enemy of humanity." (A spokesman for Franks later tried to "clarify" the remarks.)

Sunday, former Mike Huckabee adviser Rick Scarbrough, self-described "Christocrat" and author of the book "Liberalism Kills Kids," accused Obama of staffing his administration with "well-financed, well-heeled, and highly-staffed professional infidels who have dedicated their life" to destroying America.

The Liberty Council isn't quite so direct, but it's not hiding its disdain for Obama. The prayer initiative includes "reasons why they qualify for the program."

"President Obama has assembled what is arguably the most radically liberal administration in American history. His policy initiatives have favored socialism, the homosexual agenda, and the funding of infant genocide around the world. He has denied America's Christian heritage but has openly praised Islam for its contributions to America and the world. He calls himself a 'citizen of the world,' a term that reflects his support of a 'one world government.'"

Liberty acknowledges that its prayer initiative "has a certain amount of tongue-in-cheek humor associated" with it, but can you pray for your enemies while you're bearing false witness?

Last week I noted that the progressive (some would say liberal) Christian group Sojourners (led by Jim Wallis) was asking its supporters to pray for Glenn Beck of Fox News -- specifically that he change his opposition to health-care reform.

Is Liberty's prayer initiative -- or Sojourners -- an example of Christ-like compassion or Rush-like condescension? Should prayer be politicized?

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Atheism along with other groups of non secular critical thinking is on the rise. It doesn't surprise me that there would be backlash from the rationally impotent "faithful". I don't believe that prayer, though, is the delivery system the religious intend to employ in their fight against "we heathens". It appears to me Prayer is merely code for Action. When you season an already intolerant belief system with propaganda buzz phrases like "liberalism kills", "homosexual agenda", and "infant genocide" one's motives begin to see new clarity. Don't think for a second that fundamentalists who cower behind skirts of freedom that religious moderates provide, are looking at those words and wondering whether prayer is the proper course of action or not. Words can become weapons when used skillfully, especially when you consider the source.
Sticks and stones can break my bones but useless prayers will never hurt me. I'm all for them wasting their time praying for me. It's just less time they'll have acting against me.

As progressives, we need to try to leave this delusional lot behind and let them go wait on the hill for their suicidal rapture. There's real problems to deal with that will take real action to solve them.
Nietszche had an interesting qoute about this. Where Christians would "pray for" someone. He said that sometimes it was their way of trying to be arrogant "Hey this guy needs help which means I am better than he. And I am a good enough guy to love my enemy, he is not." and appear holy and rigthous at the same time.

Wish I could find the qoute.
I'm unfamiliar with the particular quote you seek but I hope this will suffice

The best way to begin a day well is to think, on awakening, whether we cannot give pleasure during the day to at least one person. If this could become a substitute for the religious habit of prayer our fellow-men would benefit by the change. - Friedrich Nietzsche From Human, All Too Human.




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