Death to Americans United for Separation of Church and State!
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Aug 15, 2007 at 11:52:29 PM EST
So says Rev.Wiley Drake, the former Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC); current pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, California; and current darkhorse candidate for president of the SBC -- who has called for "imprecatory prayer" against AU, especially communications staffers Joe Conn and Jeremy Leaming; and executive director Barry Lynn.  In a press release, Drake invoked the 109th Psalm and called them "enemies of God."  
The occasion for Drake's calling the wrath of God down on AU and its staff was an AU complaint filed against Wiley's church for endorsing Mike Huckabee (also an SBC minister) for president -- on church letterhead in flagrant violation of the federal tax laws. Drake followed-up with his endorsement on his church connected radio show with a Huckabee representative on hand.  Drake singled out Conn and Leaming because their names appear on the press release announcing AU's action. The bizarre and sensational actions by Rev. Drake are already making national news.
In light of the recent attack from the enemies of God I ask the children of God to go into action with Imprecatory Prayer. Especially against Americans United for Separation of Church and State. I made an attempt to go to them via Matt 18:15 but they refused to talk to me. Specifically target Joe Conn or Jeremy Learing. They are those who lead the attack. (You can see their press release attack at www.au.org.)

Here is part of the press release that caught Drake's ire:

In a complaint to the IRS, Americans United's Lynn said Dr. Wiley S. Drake, pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, issued a press release Aug. 11 endorsing Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

Drake's press release was issued on church letterhead. He also endorsed Huckabee on a church-affiliated radio show and featured a Huckabee campaign official.

Americans United's Lynn says the church's intervention in partisan politics merits an IRS investigation.

"Although Drake may express his personal views on political candidates," Lynn wrote to the IRS, "federal tax law prohibits such endorsements by religious leaders acting in their capacities as officials of non-profit religious organizations. The IRS has repeatedly warned non-profits not to use organizational resources to intervene in elections.

"Use of church letterhead to endorse a candidate for public office appears to violate the provisions of federal tax law that prohibit non-profit intervention in political campaigns," Lynn continued. "Drake's endorsement of a candidate on a church-based radio show raises the same concerns."

Drake's press release clearly endorsed Huckabee and urged other Southern Baptists to support the candidate as well.

AU issued a further press release denouncing Drake's call for the death of its staff rather than deal with the substance of the issue. AU notes that Drake also left a mesage in Barry Lynn's voice mail box stating that he had been urging his supporters to pray for God to punish Lynn as well, and would continue to do so.

In a section of his press release called "How To Pray," Drake includes a long list of biblical citations that call on God to smite enemies. For example, the alleged enemies of God "shall be judged," "condemned," and "his days be few...." Additionally, supporters should pray that the enemy's "children be fatherless, and his wife a widow," and "his children be continually vagabonds, and beg; let them seek bread also out of their desolate places."

"Let there be none to extend mercy unto him," Drake quoted, "Neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children."

It is worth noting that Rev. Drake has been associated with the violently antiabortion Army of God -- an association he now denies. However, his name appeared for years on the Army of God web site endorsing James Kopp's assasination of abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian. (It has since been scrubbed.) Drake also maintained a close relationship with the late Robert Ferguson, who the Army of God considers to be a "Hero of the Faith," along side James Kopp and other convicted criminals.

While these involvements are not incidental, what Drake means by calling down the wrath of god against his "enemies" is the main question here. There is helpful discussion of what Drake might mean by his call for "imprecatory prayer;" written by a Christian reconstructionist and past president of the National Reform Association, the openly theocratic Jeff Ziegler, in a back issue of The Forerunner. In it, he discusses what is meant by the Biblical verses Drake invokes in his press release. Here is a brief excerpt explaining the verse highlighted by Drake -- who points to the imprecatory prayers uttered by King David in the 109th Psalm. Ziegler discusses:

...the lawbreaker as one who under the crushing weight of Divine wrath, becomes chaff driven by the wind, who cannot endure the judgement and will by virtue of his wickedness, perish from the earth.

This covenantal understanding is paramount if we are to comprehend, embrace, and emulate David's imprecatory war Psalms and recapture our lawless society.

Let us examine the controversial 109th Psalm. David is at prayer warring against the enemies of God. In verses 4 and 5, David gives himself to prayer and describes his enemies as those who act with disdain for God and righteousness. From this forensic, legal ground he proceeds to proclaim and enforce the covenantal negative sanctions against these very same enemies in verses 6 through 29.

OK. So, Americans United files a complaint with the IRS alleging possible violations of the federal tax exemption by Wiley and his church. The IRS, of course, may or may not find against Wiley's church, and if they did, the sanction, if history is any guide, would no doubt be mild. Probabably a promise not to do it again.

But those government employees who do their job and investigate the hubris driven actions of Wiley Drake will probably want to keep in mind that anyone who crosses Rev. Drake is, in his book -- an "enemy of God."

Update [2007-8-16 14:25:50 by Frederick Clarkson]: Ethics Daily has more.




Display:
has to say about Wiley Drake's imprecatory prayer. Does Huckabee think that AU is an "enemy of God?"

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Aug 16, 2007 at 01:54:02 AM EST

Check out this website:

http://www.wewillstand.org/together.html

Drake's apparently been "standing together" with Rev. Moon as well.

by Mrs Robinson on Thu Aug 16, 2007 at 03:42:43 AM EST


This is touched on near the end of the Ethics Daily article Fred links in his update, but worth separate mention: this incident is not Drake's first exposure to criticism for improper candidate endorsement on official letterhead. Here's my BJC blog post from October. Wiley's a bit of a, well, character. Notice I gave him the benefit of the doubt as he claimed good-ole-boy ignorance. That won't work this time.

by DonByrd on Thu Aug 16, 2007 at 05:01:28 PM EST

The fundamentalist "christians" have succeeded in taking over the federal government, by taking over the Republican party and getting Bush into the White House.

The mainstream news media is still ignorant of the fact that we are now living in a fundamentalist theocracy.

This call for imprecatory prayer has been getting no news coverage at all. It should be getting plenty.

by drettmann on Thu Aug 16, 2007 at 07:19:06 PM EST


the level of denominational importance of the preacher calling for it.

Praying for the death of liberal Supreme Court Justices is one of the commonest schticks of radical anti-abortion lay activists and the occasional low-level clergy or delisted clergy. Railing against the judiciary and against abortion in the same breath, and then saying "we pray for intervention by God, but we aren't praying for the sickness or death of Justices X, Y, Z" is a radio-preacher tactic. I am pretty sure that I have heard Dobson do this "don't think of an elephant" tactic.

by NancyP on Thu Aug 16, 2007 at 11:09:53 PM EST

Isn't the expression "imprecatory prayer" some kind of alliterative oxymoron? Didn't Jesus tell these particular morons to pray FOR their enemies? What kind of God encourages believer A to ask Him to kill believer B while requiring believer  B to seek His forgiveness for believer A?  Is it any wonder that Christianity is so often mocked by unbelievers?

by sulphurdunn on Sat Aug 18, 2007 at 05:16:05 PM EST
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