Nov 19th, 2009
UPDATE 11/20: Please see the updated Psalm 109:8 post. Thanks, all, for your civil input on this heated topic.
Over the last 10 years, we at CafePress have become accustomed to the T-shirt being a springboard for people to express their views – including those that are political, religious and various combinations of the two. The discussions that result from these designs can initiate healthy political dialogue or debate and, sometimes, strong criticism.
The past couple of days have illustrated this point rather clearly, as user-designed merchandise with “Pray for Obama – Psalm 109:8” has come to public attention.
When folks started talking about the Obama Psalm 109:8 merchandise, we weren’t particularly shocked to find that a T-shirt had caused heated political discourse. What did catch our attention, though, were the folks claiming that Psalm 109:8 was being used to advocate Barack Obama’s assassination.
We take our Content Usage policy seriously here, and no content that advocates the harming of any human being is acceptable. But is that what Psalm 109:8 is trying to convey in the context of a T-shirt?
Psalm 109:8 states: Let his days be few; Let another take his office.
As the leaders in User Generated Commerce we strive to manage our content in a way that protects self-expression and free speech, while also making sure that we’re not allowing the promotion of violence.
Sometimes, though, iconography and words can take on new meaning over time – and this is often as a result of public discourse. If we see that the overall public discourse has determined that the meaning of this use of Psalm 109:8 goes beyond it’s literal meaning, and is being construed as threatening to the President, we will revisit our decision to allow the designs.
We’d love for you to weigh in on the Psalm 109:8 designs:
To see how experts – including representatives from the ACLU and the Anti Defamation League – have weighed in on the subject, check out this article.