This week, both the websites of CafePress.com and Zazzle.com decided to stop selling merchandise that featured the latest right-wing craze: the slogan “Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8.” However, Cafe Press then changed its mind and told ThinkProgress that it was reinstating the merchandise, which fell within “fair political commentary.”
Whether it’s “fair political commentary” was quickly questioned. While 109:8 reads, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office,” the next line is, “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow,” suggesting far more violent rhetoric than simple criticism. Diana Butler Bass at Beliefnet has explained that Psalm 109 is “considered one of the most difficult of all the psalms — full of violent images of vengeance and death.”
Yesterday, Cafe Press announced that it was again reversing itself and removing all the merchandise in response to strong public pressure:
The public debate started with questioning if the design was simply intended to be criticism of the President or something much worse. The discourse was surprisingly civil online, given the heated nature of the topic. Given that, and the positions of groups like the ACLU and the Anti-Defamation League, we decided to let the dialogue play out publicly before making a final decision.
Last night we posted a poll on our blog, read through the emails we’ve received and weighed the nature of the calls we’ve received on the topic. In the process we also learned that many of the original designers of the Psalm 109:8 designs had already decided to remove them on their own.
General consensus has proven that the design does point to a broader interpretation of the Psalm and thus has been deemed inappropriate for sale at CafePress.
(HT: TP commenter Marie)