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Prayer video that sought a Barack Obama drenching gets yanked

August 12, 2008 |  6:10 pm

Political lesson of the day: Be careful what you ask people to pray for; you may find yourself embroiled in a public relations flap.

The political arm of the socially conservative Focus on the Family religious group today yanked from its website a video that called on folks to ask God to open the heavens and let precipitation pour on Barack Obama just before his nomination acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 28.

Stuart Shepard, director of digital media at Focus Action (and a meteorologist to boot), wrote and appeared in the video (see below) that he posted in late July.

In it, he rhetorically asked if it would be wrong to ask people to join him in praying for rain two minutes before Obama takes the stage for his big moment at Invesco Field in Denver. And not just a drizzle -- in friendly, conversational fashion, Shepard said he had in mind "abundant rain, torrential rain, urban-and-small-stream flood-advisory rain."

He added: "Not flood-people-out-of-their-houses rain, just good old swamp-the-intersection rain."

Responding to initial questions raised about his message, Shepard said he was aiming to be "mildly humorous."

But, as he made clear at one point in the video, his bid for bad weather stemmed from his concern about the possible fallout of an Obama presidency on issues such as abortion.

“Well, I’m still pro-life," he told his listeners, "And I’m still in favor of marriage being only between one man and one woman. And I'd like the next president, who'll select justices for the U.S. Supreme Court, to agree."

As the video attracted more and more views, those questioning its propriety included some members of Focus on the Family, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported. The video was then pulled from the website of the group's political unit.

"If people took it seriously, we regret it," Tom Minnery, Focus Action vice president of public policy told the newspaper.

Focus on the Family, of course, is headed by James Dobson, who has had his issues with John McCain. But, as Dobson spelled out in a recent radio address, he really has problems with Obama.

-- Don Frederick

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