A quick jaunt into today’s takes on Georgia’s prayer for rain event led by Gov. Sonny Perdue
Don’t dare spin God
This from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Political Insider feature:
The ‘up’ side of Sonny Perdue’s prayer service
Many of you secular humanists have had a good chuckle at Gov. Sonny Perdue’s pray-for-rain service on the steps of the state Capitol on Tuesday.
But allow us to point out that, regardless of any future precipitation, the public has already benefited from the experience. It was allowed to eavesdrop on some honest admissions of failure, which by themselves — given the location — should be viewed as minor miracles.
In his prayer, the Rev. Gil Watson, pastor of Northside United Methodist Church, said this:
“We have not been good stewards of our land. We have not been good stewards of our water,” he said.
And Gov. Sonny Perdue said this:
“We acknowledge our wastefulness. We acknowledge that we haven’t done the things we need to do. Father, forgive us and lead us to honor you as you honor us with the showers of blessing.”
You can spin some of the people all of the time, and you can spin all of the people some of the time. But you don’t dare spin God.
Perhaps we should think about turning the next legislative session into a giant, 40-day prayer service.
“Is it raining yet?”
This from the Los Angeles Times news story:
Georgia governor leads prayer for rain
ATLANTA — Bowing his head outside the Georgia Capitol on Tuesday, Gov. Sonny Perdue cut a newly repentant figure as he publicly prayed for rain to end the region’s historic drought.
“Oh father, we acknowledge our wastefulness,” Perdue said. “But we’re doing better. And I thought it was time to acknowledge that to the creator, the provider of water and land, and to tell him that we will do better.”
Hundreds of Georgians — ministers and lawmakers, landscapers and office workers — gathered in downtown Atlanta for the prayer vigil. Some held bibles and crucifixes. Many swayed and linked arms as a choir sang “What a Mighty God We Serve” and “Amazing Grace.”
As Perdue described it, “We have come together, very simply, for one reason and one reason only: To very reverently and respectfully pray up a storm.”
About a block way, more than 20 protesters — some carrying placards saying “All hail Sonny Perdue” and “Is it raining yet?” — joined a rally organized by the Atlanta Freethought Society. The vigil, they said, violated the principle of separation of church and state.
And finally, the I hate that I come from Georgia where Jesus freaks do stupid things college student story…or the like, I am so like, totally embarrassed that people prayed like, on the Capitol steps…I mean, oh, my God! (can I say that?) story.
This from an associate editor of The Red & Black, which is a paper serving the University of Georgia community:
Rain vigil not a practical solution
If there’s one thing Georgia’s good at, it’s perpetuating a stereotype. There are plenty of people out there that think Georgia is a backward state full of rednecks and Jesus freaks. And as a whole, we haven’t done too much to convince them otherwise.
I’ve lived in Georgia all my life and I always try to defend my state, but let’s face it – it’s difficult amid the shrapnel of embarrassments flying around during the last few years.
Remember when we had three state flags in two years? The argument over the state flag, a major issue in Gov. Sonny Perdue’s first campaign, spun out of control and revealed how reluctant we were to give up the confederate emblem.
And who can forget the hearty belly laugh the nation had on our behalf after the evolution incident in the Cobb County school system?
To cap it all off, Tuesday morning Perdue held a public prayer vigil for rain on the front steps of the state capitol. The event was also hosted by Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Representative Melvin Everson along with leaders from various religious institutions.
A public prayer vigil is an inappropriate way to deal with the problems we face from the drought and is a cheap political tactic.
Separation of church and state is a founding principle in America.
Though they often bleed together, we at least try to project that we have a secular government.
As an elected official, Perdue disregarded the principle of separation of church and state by organizing a religious event, and had the brass to do so at a government building.
I firmly believe that religion is a personal matter and always have respected people with strong beliefs. If the governor wants to pray for rain, he has a constitutionally protected right to do so.
However, as an elected official he should do so with members of his church – at his church. Prayer has no place on the steps of the capitol.
Georgia is home to a diverse and progressive population that deserves better from our politicians.
Tuesday’s vigil was a slap in the face to anyone who has worked hard to find practical solutions to help Georgia during this drought. Instead of praying for rain, Perdue, Cagle and others need to spend their time and resources on more immediate and realistic solutions to the drought.
Recovering from our water deficit will be difficult, and it will take time to get out of a drought state.
Conservation needs to become a way of life. The state needs to offer incentives to those who install water saving devices, like toilets that use less water and receptacles for collecting rainwater.
There also should be strict financial penalties for water wasters. We can pray until our knees bleed, but only when we come together and work to conserve our remaining water will we be able to get by until the skies finally open up.
- Melissa Weinman is the associate news editor of The Red & Black.
Weinman, my dear, sometimes prayer is the only thing to do! I pray your grass is always green and your showers are at full strength! And one more thing…that someday you will not be so embarrased to live in a state with so many people that believe in Jesus Christ!
Can I hear a Hallelujah?