Two Topeka pastors are calling for the resignation of Kansas House Speaker Mike O'Neal because of an email he recently sent that asked people to pray for President Obama with reference to Psalm 109:8, a Bible verse that in context with other verses has David asking God for the death of a leader.
The Rev. Tobias Schlingensiepen and the Rev. Jim McCullough delivered more than 30,000 signatures Thursday that were collected with the help of online faith-based activist group, Faithful America, condemning O'Neal's "egregious use of Christian Scripture to pray for President Obama's death."
O'Neal has apologized for the email, but said he will not resign. O'Neal had previously apologized for another email he forwarded to some legislators that called Michelle Obama "Mrs. YoMama" and made fun of her hair, according to the Kansas City Star.
On Friday, Michael Sherrard of Faithful America told The Christian Post that O'Neal's apology was not enough. His group is now asking for a response from Kansas Republican Governor Sam Brownback to O'Neal's email.
"Yesterday, Faithful America delivered 30,000 petitions to Speaker O'Neal calling on him to resign for his emails praying for the President's death and today we're keeping the pressure up," Sherrard said. "Our members in Kansas are placing calls to Gov. Brownback, asking him to take a stand and join our call for Speaker O'Neal to resign."
"Brownback has managed to dodge the controversy so far, but given his own religious convictions and political leadership, we think he needs to weigh in," he added.
A spokesperson for O'Neal said that his intention in the email was to only provide an "election commentary regarding the president's days in office."
O'Neal's email stated, "Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8."
The verse in the American Standard Version of the Bible reads: "Let his days be few; And let another take his office." Other verses call for the death of David's "enemy leader," including the next verse (Psalm 109:9): "May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow."
O'Neal 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!!!!!!"
"Speaker O'Neal's behavior is an affront to the Christian faith and unworthy of his office," said Schlingensiepen, senior minister of First Congregational Church in Topeka. "It's unpatriotic and offensive for an elected representative to wish harm upon the President of the United States. His refusal to show remorse shows that it's time for him to resign, and to reflect upon the true foundations of his faith."
Faithful America's petition reads: "As people of faith, we believe that scripture should never be used to justify praying for the death of anyone. Speaker O'Neal's hateful abuse of scripture is unacceptable and a disgrace to his office, and he should immediately resign."
Sherrard added, "As a Bible-believing Christian, Speaker O'Neal has certainly opened his Bible and read this psalm, so he must know it's clearly about the death of a political leader."