BUENA PARK, Calif. — A former Southern Baptist Convention officer called the murder of a controversial abortion provider in Kansas an answer to prayer, and he told a talk show host he also is praying for President Obama to die.
An SBC official insists most Southern Baptist are praying for the president's well-being — not his demise. And the denomination's chief ethicist decried the killing of the doctor.
“I am glad George Tiller is dead,” Wiley Drake, the SBC’s former second vice president, said on his Crusade Radio program. Tiller, one of only a few doctors in America who still performed a controversial late-term “partial-birth” abortion procedure, was gunned down in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kan., just after the morning worship service began.
Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif., said he prayed nearly 10 years for the salvation of Tiller, medical director of the Women’s Health Care Services clinic and an outspoken advocate for abortion rights. But about a year ago, Drake said, he switched to what he called “imprecatory prayer.”
“I said to the Lord, ‘Lord I pray back to you the Psalms, where it says that they are to become widowers and their children are to become orphans and so forth.’ And we began calling for those imprecatory prayers, because he had obviously turned his back on God again and again and again,” Drake said.
Later, Drake told Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes he also is praying “imprecatory prayer” against President Obama.
When Drake was discussing praying for Tiller’s death, he was asked if there were others for whom he was offering “imprecatory prayer.”
Drake hesitated before answering that there are several. “The usurper that is in the White House is one — B. Hussein Obama,” he said.
Later in the interview, Colmes returned to Drake’s answer to make sure he heard him right.
“Are you praying for his death?” Colmes asked.
“Yes,” Drake replied.
“So you’re praying for the death of the president of the United States?”
Colmes asked Drake if he was concerned that by saying that he might be placed on a Secret Service or FBI watch list, and if he believed it appropriate to talk or pray that way.
“I think it’s appropriate to pray the Word of God,” Drake said. “I’m not saying anything. What I am doing is repeating what God is saying, and if that puts me on somebody’s list, then I’ll just have to be on their list.”
“You would like for the president of the United States to die?” Colmes asked once more.
“If he does not turn to God and does not turn his life around, I am asking God to enforce imprecatory prayers that are throughout the Scripture that would cause him death, that’s correct,” Drake said.
Most of the half-hour interview on “The Alan Colmes Show” is premium programming available by paid subscription, but a five-minute clip appeared as a “top video” on the Fox News Radio website.
Drake said he didn’t pray for Tiller to be murdered — only that God would take his life by some method — but that he “absolutely” believed that God wanted the doctor dead.
Drake also said he did not believe Tiller’s accused killer is a pro-life Christian.
“I’m of the opinion — and now everybody’s going to say ‘There goes Wiley down the conspiracy-theory road,’ I’m of the opinion that somebody in the Obama camp had this guy killed.”
“Who benefits the most from this man killing a doctor?” Drake asked. “We certainly don’t. Pro-life people certainly don’t. It hurts us. It damages us, but Obama will indeed advance it. This will be one of those crises to take advantage of, and he’s already done that.”
Drake said he had no evidence and admitted his opinion for now is “pure speculation.”
The SBC’s top ethicist condemned Tiller’s murder.
“Murdering someone is a grotesque and bizarre way to emphasize one’s commitment to the sanctity of human life. People who truly believe in the sanctity of human life believe in the sanctity of the lives of abortion providers as well as the unborn babies who are aborted,” Richard Land, head of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said in a June 1 Baptist Press release.
“Clearly the killing of abortion providers is unbiblical, unchristian and un-American. Such callous disregard for human beings brutalizes everyone.”
A Southern Baptist Convention spokesman said Drake is is out of the denomination’s mainstream. Roger “Sing” Oldham, vice president for convention relations with the SBC Executive Committee, said he believes most Southern Baptists are committed to praying for the well-being of the president as instructed in Scripture—not for his demise. Drake is not a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention and his comments do not reflect the actions, resolutions or positions of the denomination, Oldham said.
“I think it is a fair statement to say that the vast majority of Southern Baptists are committed to praying for the well-being of the president in accordance with the specific instruction given in 1 Timothy 2:1-3,” Oldham said, quoting: “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior.’”
Bob Allen is senior writer for the Associated Baptist Press.