As Georgia descends deeper into drought, Gov. Sonny Perdue has ordered water restrictions, launched a legal battle and asked President Bush for help. On Tuesday, the governor called on a higher power.
He joined lawmakers and ministers on the steps of the state Capitol to pray for rain. (Link to Video and story)
How ridiculous. He tries to wrap it all up in respectable language, but it’s really as primitive and ineffective as a rain dance or praying to a stone idol.
But if we pray and it doesn’t rain, does that mean the answer is no? Not necessarily, said a handful of Atlanta thinkers.
“The answer is at some point it will happen,” said [Rabbi Steven Lebow]. “Maybe we’re just not ready for it yet.” (Link)
I saw a lot of these kinds of “explanations” (no matter what happens, God is involved in the situation) growing up in a fundamentalist Christian church. I eventually realized that all their excuses were just that – excuses. Anything and everything could be explained away: why did my friend’s brother-in-law get killed by a drunk driver [God must have a reason], why are children born crippled [insert excuse that preserves divine providence], why does medicine work so much better than prayer [maybe God gave us the medicine], why did a Christian I knew in college get cancer and die in his early 20s leaving behind a widow [uh, God works in mysterious ways? – translation: “yeah, it doesn’t make sense to me, either”]. It always makes me want to confront Christians directly, and ask them: “Well, you claim to have a personal relationship with God, why don’t you ask him? Does He have a problem responding to you, even though you have a ‘personal relationship’ with Him?” The litany of hollow excuses was one of the reasons I woke up to the fact that religion is a sham.
One other thing that struck me about the whole situation was this:
October 20, 2007:
Gov. Sonny Perdue declared a state of emergency in most of Georgia on Saturday, and called on President Bush to recognize that the historic drought had created a disaster for 85 counties.
In a defiant plea Saturday at Lake Lanier, Perdue asked Bush to issue a federal disaster designation that would:
* Empower the president to order less water released from Lake Lanier.
* Make federal funds available to state and local governments.
* Offer low-interest loans to Georgia businesses hurt by the drought.
“We will continue to conserve,” the governor said, “but we have to have help.” (Link)
So – he appealed for help from Bush on October 20th, and prayed for divine help on November 13. Apparently, even Gov. Perdue knows prayer is a last-ditch attempt for help – even He knows God isn’t likely to do anything.