Thoughts and Prayers for Donald Trump

It’s a federal offense to threaten or incite violence against the President of the United States. I would never do such a thing. Nor am I doing it now.

But one has a First Amendment right to pray to the deity of one’s choosing.

As it happens, there is a form of prayer in the Qur’an, used in daily (often public) prayer, which might be called the prayer of execration. In prayers of execration, one petitions God to smite or damn one’s own enemies, and/or His (it helps if they coincide). A famous example is Surah Lahab, aimed at one Abu Lahab, an enemy of the Prophet Muhammad.

Would it, then, be a federal offense to make a prayer of execration against the President of the United States? Or would it be constitutionally protected speech? It has to be one or the other, I reckon. I’m open to suggestions.

Would any offense involved be mitigated by the suggestion that the petitioner was a fictionalist about religious utterances?

I merely raise these issues in a spirit of philosophical inquiry. I swear to God.

4 thoughts on “Thoughts and Prayers for Donald Trump

  1. 1. If there were libel laws, the New York Times would be out of business.
    2. There are libel laws.
    3. The New York Times is in business.
    4. Paradox!

    Guess we should add this Trumpian paradox to the list of great philosophical conundra. Perhaps promising students should be encouraged to write a thesis on it.


  2. I like the concept of a Prayer of Execration; and so long as it calls only on God to act; there’s no legal impediment.

    And to Mr Long:

    1. If libel laws were generally enforceable, the New York Times would be out of business.
    2. The New York Times is in business.
    3. Libel laws are not generally enforceable.

    see: New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 US 254, 1964

    sean s.


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