Friday, September 16, 2011

Robert Spencer Implying a Treasonous Obama?

President Obama
9/11 Memorial Service in NYC

I learn a lot about radical Islam from reading Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch, but I'm careful to remain my own man and keep my own counsel. I therefore read the posts on his site with a critical eye, especially when I come across a blog entry such as this recent one (September 12, 2011) by Mr. Spencer:
Obama reads Biblical passage at 9/11 ceremonies implying that 9/11 was an act of God

Obama reads Psalm 46, including verse 8: "Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has wrought desolations in the earth."

The only people who think that 9/11 was an act of the Supreme Being wreaking desolations on the earth are . . . Islamic jihadists.

So why did Barack Obama pick this psalm out of 150 psalms, and out of innumerable appropriate Biblical passages, to read at the 9/11 ceremonies? 9/11, after all, was a day when there were indeed wrought desolations on the earth. Did Obama really mean to say that God did it, that it was an act of divine judgment, rather than a monstrous and unmitigated evil?

Or is this just another one of those funny coincidences, of which there are so very, very many when it comes to Barack Obama and his remarkable, unqualified and obvious affinity for Islam? 
In taking verse 8 of Psalm 46 as a reference to the destruction of September 11, 2001, Mr. Spencer has allowed his distaste for President Obama to cloud his better judgment. Here is what the President actually said in quoting the entirety of the scriptural passage:
Remarks by the President at the September 11th 10th Anniversary Commemoration

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear,
even though the earth be removed,
and though the mountains be carried
into the midst of the sea.
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
though the mountains shake
with its swelling,
there's a river
whose streams shall make glad
the City of God,
the holy place of the Tabernacle
of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her.
She shall not be moved.
God shall help her
just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged,
the kingdoms were moved.
He uttered his voice.
The earth melted.
The Lord of Hosts is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come behold the works of the Lord
who has made desolations in the Earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the Earth.
He breaks the bough
and cuts the spear in two.
He burns the chariot in fire.
Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the Earths.
The Lord of Hosts is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge. 
If we read the above passage carefully, we see that the only lines that might refer to the destruction of 9/11 are the following ones, and these clearly present God as a place of safety in troubled times when the earth is unstable and even the heights are brought down to the level of the seas:
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear,
even though the earth be removed,
and though the mountains be carried
into the midst of the sea. 
This upheaval described above can be read as destruction by enemies, and therefore as a parallel to the 9/11 attacks, but the terrible destruction is countered in the verses that follow below by gladdening streams of water, a metaphor for God's blessing upon his people in a time of trouble, which can be applied to mean blessings upon America by drawing upon long-held traditions about America as a shining city on a hill, a new Jerusalem:
[T]here's a river
whose streams shall make glad
the City of God,
the holy place of the Tabernacle
of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her.
She shall not be moved.
God shall help her
just at the break of dawn.
In the verse that Mr. Spencer objects to, which follows in the verses below, President Obama is much more likely referring to God's assistance on America's side in defeating Al-Qaeda, for the term "nations" is used scripturally to refer to enemies, such as Al-Qaeda, which is indeed a multinational terrorist group:
The nations raged,
the kingdoms were moved.
He uttered his voice.
The earth melted.
The Lord of Hosts is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come behold the works of the Lord
who has made desolations in the Earth. 
In the context of this psalm, the Lord's desolation would far more likely be wrought upon America's enemies than upon America herself, for the God of Jacob could hardly be a refuge for Americans if He is attacking the United States. President Obama could more plausibly be accused of jingoism than treason in quoting this psalm, but I'll give him a pass on both. He's simply drawing upon scripture to offer comfort by reaching to metaphors of divine blessing upon those who have suffered from the 9/11 attacks. Here's the video of the entire ceremony (27:24), which includes Obama's recitation of scripture (starting at about 9 minutes).

The problem raised for Mr. Spencer is that his unlikely scriptural reading here in this psalm calls into question his general ability to provide sound hermeneutics of scripture, whether the Bible or the Qur'an. I don't think him incapable of a proper interpretation, for he's an intelligent and well-educated man, but I do think that his 'distastes' can cloud his judgment, so I advise a degree of caution in accepting his views.

In short, learn from him, but think for yourself, which is good advice in general.

Labels: , , , , , ,

5 Comments:

At 5:15 AM, Blogger dhr said...

In short, learn from him, but think for yourself

... that's what Jesus said referring to the Scribes and Pharisees :-D

Anyway, our left-wing so-called thinkers, who appreciate Obama so much, would cry treason if our President or Prime Minister happened to quote any Psalm or Biblical passage. They would surely imply a Vatican scheme aiming at denying laity and democracy.

 
At 5:41 AM, Blogger dhr said...

Not joking. The Italian Government just conjectured, some weeks ago, to shift all "lay" celebrations (National Unity, etc.) on Sundays. It was a scandal.

 
At 7:32 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, the Italian Left has apparently been reading Milton and is persuaded by him that Catholics can't be trusted.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

 
At 2:34 PM, Blogger dhr said...

apparently been reading Milton

... the main feature they share with Milton is blindness.

;-)

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, that's at least a start.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

 

Post a Comment

<< Home