The National Catholic Review

Prayer cards are nothing unfamiliar to most Catholics. We get them after burying family and friends, and sometimes to remind us of our devotion to a particular cause or saint. Chances are, you have one, lying forgotten, in a desk drawer, or maybe on a bulletin board near your desk. But, as the Washington Post reports, prayer cards just took on a strange new form (and no, this is not from The Onion). From the article:

Christian law firm issues Adopt a Liberal card to encourage targets of prayer: Attention, Californians: Your governor has just been adopted. Next up: your bleeding-heart senator, Barbara Boxer, and not far behind Boxer, her Senate colleague Dianne Feinstein. Not by a new set of parents, mind you, but rather an army of conservative prayer warriors committed to restoring "poor leaders to right thinking.”

That’s right, a “Christian” law firm has identified for divine intercession 51 of the nation’s most “ultraliberal” political leaders--one short of a complete deck of cards, so that users can pray for a person of their choice. Some of the sins that these individuals commit: excessive government spending, the closing of Guantanamo Bay, support for same-sex marriage, and advocacy for tougher gun-control laws.

Though perhaps not purposely, these cards are eerily similar to the deck of Iraq’s 52 most-wanted that were popular in the beginning years of the war. Many of the individuals on those cards ended up dead. Let’s hope there isn’t a similar motivation here.

There is nothing wrong, of course, with praying for our country’s leaders, but the hubris of the card’s creators is disconcerting. A little more humility seems in order.  “My concern is not whether God is on our side," Abraham Lincoln once said. "My greatest concern is to be on God's side.” Always good advice for those who claim to know the mind of God--and for those seek to change the hearts and minds of others.

Michael O'Loughlin

Comments

Marc Monmouth | 3/17/2010 - 11:25am
Cliff Norman, Bart Stupak told Robert Costa of National Review that he has been threatened with ethics complaints. I, believe, Bart Stupak is capable of speaking for himself. To Michael Bindner, I would ask aren't there times we would pray for someone's change and conversion? We pray that terrorists change. we can pray for a softening of the hearts of abortionists and their supporters. No one prays that someone else lose the gift of free will but that the person open their hearts to God, The late Cardinal Terrence Cooke once said that prayer was the greatest gift we could give to another person. Prayer is a good wish. Monica prayed that Augustine come to have what she had-her Catholic faith. We must do the same.
Michael Bindner | 3/17/2010 - 10:49am
Praying for the living is usually considered a silly exercise, especially if you pray that they change their minds. God gave them free will. He does not interfere with the free will of others at the request of people who think they are in some way favored.

Instead of praying that someone change their mind, pray that they may recieve all the good things that you would want for yourself. Send them only good wishes and then there may be some benefit, especially if you pray like you mean it since one day you will and this is better for your own spirit.

I wonder if America Magazine or many of its liberal blog writer and posters made the list. Some of us will be offended if we did not. I want my MSW card!
Beth Cioffoletti | 3/17/2010 - 10:03am
I admit that I'm usually outside of the mainstream when it comes to popular spirituality, but honestly, I never can quite wrap my mind around what it means to "pray for someone".  Even when I was going through cancer treatment and people told me that they would pray for me, I could only understand it as a statement that they cared about me, and appreciated me exactly the way I was.  Never that they wanted to change me.
Helena Loflin | 3/17/2010 - 12:30am
I pray for the grossly misinformed souls who watch FOX News, "follow" Rush Limbaugh, and frequent right-wing blogs.  That's where they get "informed" about manufactroversies like nonexistent "false ethics allegations" against Rep. Stupak.
Anonymous | 3/16/2010 - 11:10pm
I agree that Nancy Pelosi is in great need of our prayers.
Brian Thompson | 3/16/2010 - 6:27pm
I don't know about a prayer card, but of course she has my prayers. St Paul commands as much in 1 Timothy 2, we must pray for the "king" or whatever government leaders we have. All of them deserve our prayers that they might govern well and have the needed wisdom. However, those who are misusing their power or doing evil obviously need our prayers for that too.
Marc Monmouth | 3/16/2010 - 5:08pm
Let's see. Conservatives urge people to pray for those who disagree with them. Bart Stupak reports that he has been threatened (by liberals) with ethics complaints if he opposes Obama-care. Isn't it better to pray for those who disagree with you than to make up false ethics allegations? 
JIM MCCREA | 3/16/2010 - 4:31pm
Never ascribe to malice what can be sufficiently explained by stupidity. 
 
Mark Twain
 
Once a fixed idea of duty gets inside a narrow mind, it can never get out.
William Lindsey | 3/16/2010 - 4:13pm
Oh.  I think I had missed my pray for Nancy card.
 
It's buried under the one I use most often in my prayers today, the pray for Chaput card.