“I sincerely hope you’ll join me in Houston on August 6th and take your place in Reliant Stadium with praying people asking for God’s forgiveness, wisdom and provision.” – Texas Governor Rick Perry
The rest of us should be asking what happened to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
The GOP, better known as “God’s Own Party,” has, since it joined with the forces of Christian fundamentalism, been far more interested in what people are doing with their bodies and their emotions than they are about the nation’s real problems – debt, war, taxes, poverty, education, unemployment, malnutrition, disease, pollution, etc.
Various popular tactics have been refusing to answer questions, refusing to allow questions to be ask (or violence against the questioner) or redefining a problem out of existence. That has been the fate of global warming: the Republicans have simply legislated it away.
Now they can focus on our real problems, like marriage equality and women’s reproductive rights. Private things, like bodily functions and emotions. You know, what’s really ailing America.
Rick Perry, governor of Texas and famous for his drought-related “pray for rain days,” is a firm supporter of this distorted reality. Perry’s message is that “there is hope for America, and we will find it on our knees.”
Prayer. Prayer is the solution: “I sincerely hope you’ll join me in Houston on August 6th and take your place in Reliant Stadium with praying people asking for God’s forgiveness, wisdom and provision,”
Prayer was supposed to (if you remember) end abortion. Prayer was supposed to keep gas prices low. Prayer does not have a good track record. But that’s the Republican answer: get on your knees America, and pray. To their god. Not yours, but to theirs.
What Perry has in mind is a day-long prayer rally to be held on August 6, 2011 from 10:00AM to 5:00PM, called (ta da!): The Response: A call to prayer for a nation in crisis. This is, after all, he says, a crisis situation:
We believe that America is in a state of crisis. Not just politically, financially or morally, but because we are a nation that has not honored God in our successes or humbly called on Him in our struggles. According to the Bible, the answer to a nation in such crisis is to gather in humility and repentance and ask God to intervene. The Response will be a historic gathering of people from across the nation to pray and fast for America.
Fundamentalists are used to this sort of thing. The more gut-wrenchingly emotion the experience the better the chance of group psychosis thing happening on a Nuremberg rally level. It’s a lot easier to delude yourself if you have a lot of deluded company. Don’t mock; it’s a tried and true method.
Of course, having pretensions of leadership and jonesing for fundie cred on a nation-wide scale (Texas is big but not big enough, apparently), Perry wants other governors to join him on their knees – all 49 of them – in a “solemn gathering of prayer and fasting” at Reliant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Texans, in Houston, TX. Perhaps while he is at it, he will try to pray President Obama out of existence, making a potential run in 2012 a tad easier. It’s unclear what effect this will have given the presence of two messiah-contenders out there, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, unless he has in mind some sort of unholy trinity.
Of course it’s not just politicians he wants present. The roll-call also includes,
- Don Wildmon and Buddy Smith of the American Family Association who are picking up the tab for the rally;
- Jim Garlow of Renewing American Leadership (who says America has cancer);
- David Lane, the infamous banditti responsible for trying to get Iowa’s Supreme Court Justices removed as well as “Restoration Project” events;
- Former Congressmen Bob McEwen; and,
- Some Lou Engle and/or the International House of Prayer posse members.
According to the website:
“Right now, America is in crisis: we have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.”
Yes, debt the Republicans under two-term President George Bush created themselves, terrorism resulting from criminal mismanagement of the terror threat, and natural disasters that are no one’s fault. The first two problems would cease to exist if the Republicans did likewise. Maybe we really do need God for that. Can we all agree to pray for that? We can have our own day of prayer or just gamble on October 21st being all it’s billed as.
Just for the record, if you want to save yourself and America, here are the belief requirements:
“The Response is a non-denominal, apolitical Christian prayer meeting and has adopted the American Family Association statement of faith.”
- We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
- We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
- We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
- We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
- We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
- We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
So there you go. And only they can save America. By praying.
I’m not certain what happened to elbow grease, to common sense, imagination, thought, planning, debate, and compromise. Those are the things that won us our independence from Britain and forged us into a Nation. The Founding Fathers didn’t win our independence by prayer, and if you actually bother to read the letters and diaries of the men involved, you will know that nobody made the mistake of thinking prayer forged the Constitution.
But compromise has been, like global warming, banned from the debate. Compromise is a betrayal of the above-noted God, so the old ways must go the way of the buffalo.
This is rather like praying that diseases caused by germs will go away when you pray because you don’t believe in germs. The germs won’t go away, and neither will America’s other problems. And of course, none of the people actually attending this rally really believe it either, given the nature of the Republican and Tea Party war on America through state and federal legislation.
Whatever his pretensions, Rick Perry should take cognizance of Sarah Palin’s promise on the eve of Election Day 2008, that God will do “the right thing for America.” Since God gave us Barack Obama, Rick Perry might want to be careful what he prays for.