I keep seeing this pop up in my Facebook feed--"So-and-so and 18 of their friends joined the group 'Petition to remove facebook group praying for President Obama's death.'" Here's the "prayer."

DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN
In other words, it's a joke. Not a particularly good one, and not an original one either, as there was one circulating earlier which put George W. Bush in the place of Barack Obama, and a former student of mine put Fred Phelps in there as favorite preacher. And the people who are part of the original group aren't exactly covering themselves in glory--neither are those attacking the members of the page, I should point out as well. Put on boots if you're going to wade through that morass.

I think the people who are calling for this group to be removed are overreacting more than a little. Obama hatred is irrational but not illegal. And the joke? It's on the members of the group. All of the people the joke references died in 2009, so if the members are serious about this, then either God told them to piss off, or Obama's mojo is stronger. I'm cool with either result. What's more, the joke misspelled the names of two of the people it includes--Patrick Swayze and Farrah Fawcett.

But Brian, no doubt someone will reply, these people are fomenting hate against the President of the US. Perhaps. Then again, look back (or don't) through some of the things I wrote here during the Bush administration. You won't find the same poor quality of grammar or spelling, but you will find similar levels of vitriol, all aimed at George W. Bush and his administration.

Lastly, even if this were an actual attempt to pray Obama to death, objecting to it doesn't really make a lot of sense. If you actually believe in a benevolent, omnipotent God, then you'd have to have faith that He's not going to be swayed by a group of Facebookers with questionable language skills, wouldn't you? The kind of God who'd cave to those people wouldn't be worth worshiping. And of course, if you're an atheist, then you're not worried about it having any effect. And on the plus side, a Facebook group like this makes it easier for the Secret Service to track people who might actually take this sort of thing seriously.

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