By Lily Kuo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Kansas Republican leader under fire for sending an email invoking a bible verse to suggest that Democratic President Barack Obama's "days be few in number" apologized on Thursday but said that he would not resign.
Critics said the email forwarded by Speaker of the State House Mike O'Neal, that was later published by the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper, called for Obama's death.
"The forward contained a single verse and was only intended as election commentary regarding the president's days in office. I have apologized, and I am sincerely sorry," O'Neal said in an email.
O'Neal's email sent to friends and colleagues cited part of Psalm 109:8 which in some interpretations reads: 'Let his days be few; and let another take his office.'
The following verse reads, "May his children be orphans and his wife a widow."
Two pastors delivered a petition signed by 30,000 people demanding that the speaker resign. O'Neal issued an apology, but his communications director said the speaker would not be resigning.
"He is using sacred scripture to flippantly suggest people should be praying for the death of the president," said Michael Sherrard, a spokesman for Faithful America, an online interfaith community based in Washington that organized the petition.
(Reporting By Lily Kuo; Editing by Eric Walsh)