Controversial Republican Rep. and noted biblical scholar Lauren Boebert of Colorado recently told a crowd of right-wing evangelicals that she prayed for President Joe Biden.
Her exact words were “I want you to know, I prayed for our President…I prayed Psalm 109:8…it says “May his days be few and another take his office.”
The crowd’s reaction quickly moved from laughter to rapturous applause and cheers, which prompted Boebert to yell “Hallelujah…Glory to God.”
This is far from the first time right-wing extremist politicians or personalities have such Psalms, which are called “imprecatory” prayers – prayers for the complete and total destruction of one’s enemies – against their Democratic “enemies.”
Back in 2020, right-wing conspiracy theorist Steven Hotze told podcast host Rick Scarborough that we wanted to encourage listeners to pray for the upcoming Biden vs Trump election by asking God to literally “destroy” those who opposed his radical right-wing, Christian nationalist agenda. Hotze continually urged conservative evangelical Christians to engage in “imprecatory prayer.”
Hotze said that he and a group of his followers had met on the lawn of the National Mall in DC to pray that God would “intercede to stop and bind in the name of Jesus and through the power and blood of Christ to bind anarchy and communism and the ungodliness that’s going on in our country, and to give us a victory in the upcoming election.”
But he didn’t stop there. Hotze continued by encouraging his followers to not only pray for their desired election results (note: it didn’t work), but to pray for harm against their “enemies:”
“I highly encourage you go to the Psalms and pray imprecatory prayers. [God] troubles the wicked, he causes them to be in confusion, he causes them to flee. And we need to pray that those that are wicked and that want to destroy our nation and our Christian values, that God would work in their lives—first to cause them to turn to Christ—but those that refuse to turn to Christ, I want God to take his enemies and rid us of them and destroy them so they don’t destroy you and me and our wives, our spouses, our families, our children, our grandchildren, our friends, and our businesses.”
The Atlantic also noted back in 2016 that then Senator David Perdue, a Georgia Republican who later lost his seat to Rev. Raphael Warnock, used the same Psalm as Boebert against President Barack Obama:
“In his (Perdue) remarks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference, Betsy Woodruff reported, the freshman Georgia Republican encouraged attendees to pray for President Obama. According to Perdue’s office, he said:
I think we’re called to pray for our country, for our leaders, and yes, even our president. In his role as president I think we should pray for Barack Obama. But I think we need to be very specific about how we pray. We should pray like Psalms 109:8 says. It says, “Let his days be few, and let another have his office.”
As many people quickly pointed out, the quotation is not exactly a benign plea for a new president in its original context. Here’s a chunk of the psalm:
8. Let his days be few; and let another take his office.
9. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.
10. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.
11. Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour.
12. Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children.
13. Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.”
While Boebert’s quote could well have been referring only to “his days in office,” when one considers the typical violent rhetoric of extremist Republicans like her coupled with the larger context of the Psalm as pointed out in the Atlantic quote above, it’s hard to imagine her intention was anything but encouraging violence against the President. And even if it wasn’t, it seems increasingly likely that those listening to her might take it that way.