Having a personal opinion about the policy of a president —agree or disagree— is also okay.
Having a personal opinion that prays for the death of President Obama, as appalling as it may be, is also protected under the First Amendment.
However, Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal (R-Hutchinson) recently circulated an email saying “Pray for Obama,” to all of his republican colleagues that cites Psalm 109:8.
Psalm 109:8 begins: “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.”
It seems harmless — a biblical joke about an administration O’Neal disagrees with.
A joke that, as you continue reading the Psalm, turns into something much more serious.
The Psalm goes on to say “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.”
While O’Neal’s office has insisted that he only meant to quote the first, fairly harmless part of the verse, he also wrote in the email “At last — I can honestly voice a Biblical prayer for our president! Look it up — it is word for word! Let us all bow our heads and pray. Brothers and Sisters, can I get an AMEN? AMEN!!!!!!”
This seems to suggest O’Neal’s enthusiasm for the “word for word” endorsement of the prayer.
If indeed O’Neal meant to quote only the first part of the verse, he should have read his Bible more closely. Despite the fact that O’Neal only cited the first line of the Psalm, it is unreasonable to expect people not to read it in context with the rest of the passage.
This is also not the first time that the Kansas speaker abused his GOP email list. Earlier in January he forwarded an email to his colleagues in which he referred to First Lady Michelle Obama as Mrs. YoMamma and called her a twin of Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch.
It is entirely inappropriate for an elected representative of the people of the United States to use his position to send snarky, insulting emails, regardless of his political position. This behavior is childish and an abuse of his office. Furthermore, it is inappropriate to target the First Lady. To target her appearance and make racist-sounding jokes smacks of elementary school.
If O’Neal is attempting to bring about change, he is going about it the wrong way. If he disagrees with the position of the president, perhaps he should spend his time and energy drafting legislation instead of sending rude emails.
While we are happy to give everyone an equal right to free speech, we can not excuse the fact that O’Neal used his public political platform to behave like a child.
We expect and deserve more from our elected officials than this.