Praying for those who prey

Rev. Dr. Herbert L. Lester, Jr.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has proclaimed October 10 a day of prayer and fasting in this state. He invites people to join him in praying for “healing, forgiveness, thanksgiving and hope.” Gov. Lee, who touts his religious faith, says he is motivated by the number of people who tell him and his wife that they are praying for them. According to the Pew Research Center, Tennessee is the third most religious state in the United States, behind Alabama and Mississippi respectively. The governor’s proclamation, then, may be a good political move for him.

I will join the governor in this day of prayer and fasting. As a follower of Jesus, I am called to pray, especially for my enemies. I will pray for those who prey on the least, the last, the lost, the left out and the most vulnerable in this state. Jesus says:

“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone grabs your shirt, gift wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously,” Luke 6:27-30, The Message.

I will pray for those who prey on the people of this state out of their virulent White supremacy and White privilege, their malignant brand of evangelicalism and their metastasized ignorance who:

  1. Claim to be ‘pro life’ while marching people to their deaths in the name of justice.
  2. Claim to be ‘pro life’ while limiting prenatal and postpartum health care and supplemental nutritional support for those in need. I will pray for those who prey on the people of this state and refused $3.1 million a day, leaving 300,000 people, including 25,000 veterans, without health insurance because they would not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
  3. Promote and seek to maintain the presence of despicable statues and monuments to persons who sought to destroy this country in order to maintain chattel slavery and some who, during that conflict, committed tremendous atrocities and continued this behavior after the Civil War through acts of terror, violence and repression.
  4. Plan to funnel resources from public schools to private institutions through voucher systems that further take resources from already underfunded school systems.
  5. Prey on the populace in creating barriers to participation in the electoral process by making voter registration and participation ever more challenging and difficult.

I will pray for those who prey on the people of this state out of their virulent White supremacy and White privilege, their malignant brand of evangelicalism and their metastasized ignorance. Join me!

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