Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Entrepreneurs for the rain god

About 250 people showed up for Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue's prayer for rain press stunt yesterday. A couple of dozen protesters, mostly members of the Free Thought Society protesting the intermingling of church and state, were forced to stand out of sight over a block away. One protester was arrested for trespassing for going onto the property of a church located across the street from the Capitol steps.

Perdue, who apparently ignored advice given in the popular 1980's book Dress for Success, was resplendent in his green suit and cowboy boots. He said they were there to "pray up a storm." Better watch what you pray for, Bro. Sonny. Katrina was one hell of a storm.

Too bad the Atlanta Braves retired Chief Nokahoma. Maybe he could have done a rain dance for us.

Gary Tacon, a New York businessman who traveled to Atlanta to promote a gizmo he sells that makes drinking water out of moisture in the air, was allowed to circulate among the crowd handing out fliers. Protesters and others with signs were pushed back over a block away. I heard a local Atlanta radio personality discussing yesterday afternoon how he was herded off with the protesters after he showed up carrying a cardboard placard with radio station advertisements on it. Dozens of TV cameras were, of course, allowed up close, to capture every moment of this parade of sound- and video-bites. After all, this party was thrown for the press.

"We've been so busy industrializing that we've forgotten how to spiritualize," Gil Watson, senior minister at Northside United Methodist Church in Atlanta, told the crowd. Watson could take some pointers from Bro. Jesse Jackson on speech-rhyming.

"We've been so busy with our economy and what we can have and what we can possess that we've forgotten that you possess it all. Great God, this is your land. We till it for you. We are entrepreneurs for you, dear God."

Last night, at my house 80 miles north of downtown Atlanta, it rained. For about two minutes. A soft, barely noticeable rain. Just enough to wet things. It was nice, and then it was gone.

Skies are blue this morning.

But WeatherUnderground says there is a 40% chance of showers for the area from now until around 10 pm, when the chances of a thunderstorm rise to 80%!

Thanks, Sonny! Thanks, God!

I pray the weather service is correct.

The spin doctors at the Christian Broadcasting Network wasted no time in proclaiming that the prayers worked, based on the weather forecast for rain later today. Sheesh. Wednesday rain has been in the forecast for several days now, long before Sonny's stunt. The CBN story has a byline of "Sarah Miracle," who, curiously, doesn't appear on the list of CBN reporters. Is she real, or did they just see an opportunity to slide in a little "uplifting" propaganda?

Does my skepticism show?

News stories about Bro. Sonny's prayer-a-thon:

L.A. Times

London Times

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

USA Today

TVNZ, New Zealand

Links to about a zillion other stories

Image: Raining in Atlanta, by Hemant Banavar

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  1. I've always heard that timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a raindance.

    Maybe it's that way for rain prayers, too.

    But hey, if it works, when will everyone line up to pray for world peace and prosperity?

    If just a few prayers can persuade God to make it rain in Georgia, perhaps a few more prayers could persuade him to remove greed and malice from the hearts of world leaders.

    I wouldn't bet on that, but I'd pray for it.

  2. A couple of scriptures: one for our Protestant Brethren, and one for our LDS:

    Matt. 6: 6
    6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

    Alma 33: 7
    7 And when I did turn unto my closet, O Lord, and prayed unto thee, thou didst hear me.

    Odd Georgia Methodists ain't heard of at least the first one.


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