Entangle Me in Hopelessness and Prayers for Rain

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This week, while you're waving miniature flags and inviting trichinosis, the citizens of Alabama will be praying for rain. As the governor told them to.

WHEREAS, throughout our history, Alabamians have turned in prayer to God to humbly ask for His blessings and to hold us steady during times of difficulty:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Bob Riley, Governor of Alabama, do hereby encourage citizens of Alabama to pray daily for rain and proclaim June 30 – July 7, 2007 as Days of Prayer for Rain.

During this time, I encourage all Alabamians to pray individually and within their houses of worship for sufficient rain.

It's more likely grandstanding than creeping theocracy. Riley is the guy who beat Judge Roy Moore in the 2006 primary, and he's also the guy who proclaimed a boycott of Aruba to capitalize on the Natalee Holloway case.

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  1. If they really believed such a thing would work, wouldn’t Alabamians have a number of higher priorities?

  2. Well, this IS Alabama we’re talking about. Now if Pataki pulled a stunt like that it’d be different.

  3. Let me be (not) the first.

  4. Don’t forget he’s also the guy who proposed the largest-ever-tax-increase in the history of the State.

  5. Governor Riley just has a “telling people to pray” fetish. A few months ago he told everyone to pray for the students of our fair state. There was basically no reason for him to do this, except for the fact that our schools suck, though that’s a fairly constant thing, not some recent development

  6. our schools suck, though that’s a fairly constant thing, not some recent development

    “The world today is in great trouble. Children do not listen to their parents and everybody is writing a book.” ~ Cicero

  7. Don’t forget he’s also the guy who proposed the largest-ever-tax-increase in the history of the State.

    Because he said Jesus wanted us to pay more taxes.

  8. Coincidently, lots of people in Alabama (not just the guvnah) got on this whole “pray for rain” kick at about the time forecasters finally started predicting at least some chance of rain.

    Not that I’m accusing them of being cynical opportunists, of course.

  9. I have a Mexican hat they can dance around.

    Oh, sorry. Different dance.

  10. Way to bust out an obscure The Cure headline. Love it! (As Stan said on South Park, “Disintegration is the greatest album ever!”)

  11. Can’t wait to hear Rush, Hannity, et al, tear into all this silliness tomorrow.

    (That’s a joke, of course: since Riley has an R next to his name, the squawk hosts will praise him as a good Christian, or ignore the story completely and continue to harp as nauseum about the war…)

  12. I’m sympathetic, and this Texan will happily do what she can to send our rain over to ‘Bama for a couple of weeks.

    Also, I’ll never get a better chance to tell this joke about Texans and rain:

    Two cowboys are riding in a pounding rainstorm. Thunder peals, lighting flashes, swollen streams rush by with clots of debris visible. They get all the cows on the ranch to safety, and just as they lock the barn, the rain slows to a drizzle. Younger cowboy shouts “Hey look at that! Finally, after a week of this, I can see the sun.” He points to small break in the clouds.

    The older cowboy responds, “I sure do hate to see that.”

    Younger wrangler: “Have you lost your mind? It’s been raining constantly for three days and daily for a month. We almost drowned.”

    Older cowboy: “Son, I once saw a really terrible drought start just like that.”

  13. Hey, give the Governor a break. Whatever a libertarian may think of the efficacy of prayer, don’t forget the maxim: no harm, no foul. So long as there is no compulsion and no public funding, what’s the objection to one citizen encouraging others to pray?

  14. Let me be the first:

    public funding

  15. Weigel is just shilling for Big Meteorology.

    BTW, I ditto Karen’s willingness to send some Texas rain, at least from the Dallas – Fort Worth area, anywhere people need it. I arrived at this sub-tropical rain forest six months ago hearing people complain about a drought supposedly dating back to the early Pleistocene Age. Well, we’ve gotten something like twelve thousand inches of rain since then (okay, that might be a little bit off) and there’s no end in sight so far. I’m beginning to think I’m living in a story by either Somerset Maugham or Ray Bradbury.

  16. I pray for the utter and lasting destruction of the Deep South, for it has delivered little these last 150 years save generations of wards of the state types that love their old time religion: a mix of Jesus, mendacious nationalist triumphalism and a sickening dependecy upon the tax-dollars of their wealthier neighbors to the North and West. Now this … one more reason to offer a gaze to the heavens and wish for a well placed comet strike.

  17. Whatever a libertarian may think of the efficacy of prayer, don’t forget the maxim: no harm, no foul. So long as there is no compulsion and no public funding, what’s the objection to one citizen encouraging others to pray?

    Because somewhere in the state of Alabama, there are atheists whose tax-coerced dollars are being used to pay this moron’s salary.

  18. Jim Greenleaf | July 1, 2007, 6:44pm
    Don’t forget he’s also the guy who proposed the largest-ever-tax-increase in the history of the State.

    Franklin Harris | July 1, 2007, 7:06pm
    Because he said Jesus wanted us to pay more taxes.

    Or somebody prayed for a big tax increase.

  19. If there is a Just God, Governor Riley’s prayers would be answered in the form of a Category 5 hurricane.

    Admittedly, I am an atheist, but I’m just saying “IF there is a Just God…”

  20. We’re past praying for rain, it ain’t worked anyway. The rainy season just ended yesterday and our grand total is the lowest in recorded history. Less than DEATH VALLEY.

  21. Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares. 🙂

    Well, assuming you can find a phone booth and it hasn’t been vandalized and it’s a local call.

  22. I pray for the utter and lasting destruction of the Deep South….

    Hey Poop, that ain’t nice. You have to do one of two things. You gotta add The entire Middle East, New York & California to the Destruction Prayer Request List OR you have to realize that there’s good people come from down there.

    More than one of them posts right here at H&R.

    Ain’t me, I’m a Prune Picker.

  23. DAR, we only have two types of weather in Texas — apocalyptic droughts broken by Noachine floods. The drought starts again next week. Also, you’re right, it HAS been about 12,000 inches of rain.

    Also, I’ve lived through enough droughts to know better than to wish them on anybody. TWC, my heart and prayers, FWIW, to all of you in Cali. And to everyone in the Deep South.

  24. Well now wouldn’t you know Alabama is behind the times, here in Georgia our Gov. asked us to pray for rain last week.

  25. Dear God,

    Forget the rain, but could you make President Bush choke on another pretzel? Pleeeeeease.

  26. The Wine Commonsewer? | July 1, 2007, 9:17pm | #

    …you have to realize that there’s good people come from down there.

    Karen | July 1, 2007, 9:36pm | #

    Also, I’ve lived through enough droughts to know better than to wish them on anybody. TWC, my heart and prayers, FWIW, to all of you in Cali. And to everyone in the Deep South.

    TWC & Karen

    You’re both right. I withdraw my wish for a hurricane.

    A trillion-volt lightning bolt striking a certain occupant of a publicly-funded residence in Montegomery, however….

  27. Coincidently, lots of people in Alabama (not just the guvnah) got on this whole “pray for rain” kick at about the time forecasters finally started predicting at least some chance of rain.

    Not that I’m accusing them of being cynical opportunists, of course.

    Yeah, how bout that. Weather.com predicts scattered t-storms for 8 of the next 10 days in Birmingham. Guess it just goes to show, prayer works. But if it doesn’t rain, it just goes to show, the Lord works in mysterious ways. Either way, irrefutable proof that God wants us to vote Republican.

  28. Aresen, here in Texas, we’ve been known to pray for hurricanes in droughts. It’s not okay to wish for droughts or tornadoes, but a Cat 1 or 2 can do a world of good during a dry year. (Also, I’m really not being at all sarcastic here. We really do such things. But then, most of Texas isn’t coastal.) So your wish for a hurricane, provided it’s only at a lower level, is probably in line with the average ‘Baman.

  29. So your wish for a hurricane, provided it’s only at a lower level, is probably in line with the average ‘Baman.

    Screw hurricanes. What was left of Hurricane Ivan, by the time it got to the northern part of the state, fried my VCR.

  30. Suprisingly little Southern bashing in this thread so far. I see nothing wrong with the governor calling on people to pray for rain.
    Can’t hurt and doesn’t cost anything. I just wish Bush had called on America to just pray to turn crops to ethanol and then pray it gets into the gasoline supply. Beats the shit out of programs, subsidies and bureacrats.

  31. This is exactly the kind of activity I wish politicians would perform. Attempting to provide non-coercive advice and moral authority. Telling us what it is you think we should do. Not taking our money. Not constraining our freedom.

    If I were a Virginian, I’d decline to follow his advice, and be perfectly happy it was offered.

  32. If I were a Virginian, I’d decline to follow his advice, and be perfectly happy it was offered.

    Speaking as a Virginian, I agree, especially since it was offered in Alabama.

  33. “Suprisingly little Southern bashing in this thread so far. I see nothing wrong with the governor calling on people to pray for rain.”
    Except that its:
    1. Stupid
    2. At least contrary to the spirit of seperation of church and state, if not the letter of the law here

  34. I don’t understand those posters who call this advice free. Oh well.

  35. Thanks Karen, we still got water, they just filled my lake to the brim with Colorado River water, not your Colorado River, ours. 🙂

    Course I don’t get any of that water, it mostly all goes to the OC. My water comes from No Cal and local wells. Go figure. Got a lake the size of Lake Austin that I look at every day and I get zero water from it.

    The politcos are already on the conservation band wagon which I find rather preposterous given that about 80% of water use in Ca is for agriculture.

    The short term problem of no rain is that everything is dry as a bone. All the native chaparral around here is D-E-A-D, which makes fire problematic. OTOH, without rain there’s no lush winter growth to turn brown all summer and give us our usual fall firestorms. [shrugs]

    ‘sposed to be record heat in the southwest over the next two days. Glad we canceled our trip to Mesquite where it is forecast to be 118 on the 4th of July. Hey, I like it hot, but man, that’s hot.

    Our governor is progressive, he hasn’t asked us to pray for rain.

  36. [sigh]

    Do you REALLY think it’s a slippery slope from an ambiguous non-binding suggestion to pray (to no god in particular) for rain all the way to establishment of religion? Because I’m guessing all of the politicians who worked to ratify the Constitution AND routinely petitioned Providence in both public and private life would beg to differ.

    Stupid I’ll give you, though. It’s definitely stupid. But harmless. I can deal with stupid and harmless, particularly in view of the likely alternatives.

  37. Hey Monkey, commies and Christians, you never know what you’ll find under the bed…..

    🙂

  38. M,

    It’s certainly incrementally free. No new taxes, no additional beurocracy, no diversion of funds from other sources, no penalties for non-compliance or even observation of such. The cost of asking citizens to pay for rain vs. doing nothing whatsoever during the same amount of time is basically identical.

  39. Hmmm. Slip of the fingers there. Pay=Pray.

    On another note, Disintegration IS the greatest album ever. There should be a publicly-funded national holiday devoted to listening to the CD version all the way through at least once per year. And severe civil penalties for non-compliance. And a cabinet-level department for enforcement.

    If that doesn’t solve your rain problem, honestly, I can’t imagine what will.

  40. Our governor is progressive, he hasn’t asked us to pray for rain.

    I’m going with the assumption that we’re supposed to pray to the public employee unions for rain. Ya know, since they control *everything* in this state 😉

  41. It’s my understanding that, when it rains, it’s Jesus crying.

  42. Poop Monkey,

    What an incredibly rude and hateful remark! Do you pull legs off of house pets, too?

  43. Monkey RobbL –

    incrementally free. No new taxes, no additional beurocracy

    You seem to be making my point for me.

    no penalties for non-compliance

    Whatever happend to the guy in I think Chicago who withheld the portion of his taxes that would have paid for Medicaid abortions? Years ago. Had nothing to do whether he “complied” with the expenditure; it had to do with whether he complied with the command to pay for it. I think he emigrated.

    asking citizens to pay

    Is our Newspeak detector learning?

  44. It’s my understanding that, when it rains, it’s Jesus crying.

    Or Moses is schvitzing.

  45. the proper response is:

    “no problem, governor. now all i need is a chicken, a bunch of candles, some lsd and a suitable female to serve as an altar.”

  46. The Roman priesthood was made up of politicians. Maybe we should just bite the bullet and do the same.

    Okay, maybe not 🙂

  47. How about a State Climatologists Prayer?

    ” We beseech thee, O Lord,in the name of Christy and thy saints Spencer , Patrick, and Michael, to quieten the restless waves in the 9 to 11 and 21 to 22 micron bands , and to chastise the satanic forces that tempt thy CO2 molecules to wiggle warmly in the night.

    Cast them down,O Lord , and as we are but dust in thy hands, raise up instead a pillar of it as thy cloud condensation nuclei, that the small rain down can rain on the abundance of thy old cotton fields down home, we do humbly beseech thee, Amen”

  48. It’s fun to laugh at stupid, stupid people.

    If only the dinosaurs had known Jesus. Perhaps with enough prayer they could’ve avoided their untimely demise at the bidding of Mother Nature. Such a shame. Let us all bow our heads and pray for them.

  49. (Also, I’m really not being at all sarcastic here. We really do such things. But then, most of Texas isn’t coastal.)

    True dat. Not to mention the added bonus of all the urban renewal in Galveston.

    Seriously, I have refused to complain about all the rain, basically because the alternative is usually 30 consecutive 100F days and up to three months without any rainfall whatsoever.

    But I’d be happy do send, say, 75% of our rain to Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina (not sure if NC and VA need any).

    What’s perverse is that we’re STILL under watering restrictions. And there are jackasses who’ve just left their sprinklers on timers so they go off every goddamn day despite the fact that they need to water their laws in much the same way that the sun needs hot.

  50. Do the voters of Alabama know that Gov. Riley believes in a God who torments Alabamians with drought until enough of them turn to Her through prayer? Does Gov. Riley have any idea how many prayers God has to record on Her abacus before She relents? Of course, Catholic Alabamians are praying for the saints to intervene. God, going over the appointments calendar: “Hmmh. I see I have a 10:15 with St. Anthony. I wonder how many prayer petitions he has today? I’m feeling a bit peckish, so he better have some real good causes that I’ve overlooked in my omniscience.”

  51. Ken, I don’t think it’s contrary to the traditions of separation of church and state here in the United States, but it is a little close, I’ll grant. He clothes his admonition in official language – “hereby”, “as Governor of”, – which is disturbing. Those elements are somewhat balanced by his use of “encourage”. I’d be more comfortable if he referenced his personal belief in the wisdom of the course of action he recommended.

    In any case, I’d contrast the American view here with that of France, where I think stuff like this would be beyond the pale. The American political sphere is supposed to be religion-neutral, while the French is supposed to be religion-free.

  52. Grotius | July 1, 2007, 10:45pm | #
    Which God?

    Zeus?

    No, silly, the other one. You know, the one the atheists are always getting pissy about?

    Defensive? Who’s being defensive?

  53. Those wacky Christians are infesting the entire world with their silly ideas!

    “Muslim community holds mass rain prayer –
    The Islamic Community is calling on the power of prayer to help end the drought.” (ABC news AU)

    “Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, reported:
    I saw the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) raising his hands (high enough) in supplication (for rain) that the whiteness of his armpits became visible.” (hadith.al-islam.com)

    ‘Amo ng[sic] these cases in which God can change the laws that govern the universe what we Moslem call ” the rain prayer “‘ (thequranmiracles.canalblog.com)

    “Prayer for rain
    VASANTHA PRIYA, dedicated to MLV, will present prayers for rain, `Akhanda Ganam,’ rendered exclusively by women. The venue will be Kapaleeswarar Temple, Mylapore and the date and time, December 20 at 9 a.m.” (thehindujobs.com)

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