Wingnuts on the Power of Prayer

Rick Scarborough was on David Barton’s radio show making the idiotic claim that Gov. Rick Perry’s public prayers for rain were answered and God solved the drought in Texas because of it. Get a load of this exchange of stupidity:

Scarborough: Our Governor here in the state of Texas called for a day of prayer and fasting last May. We were at the height of a drought that meteorologists were telling us was part of a cycle that would last perhaps for a number of years and that it would take us years to get our lake levels back up and so forth. It occurs to me that, not immediately, but after that prayer event that thirty thousand people participated in, we started getting rain and in less than a year, our lakes are full, our fields are brimming. A lot of people seem not to connect the dots on that, but we’ve got a fresh illustration of how God honors prayer.

Barton: Yeah, that’s one of those many things that historians will looks back upon and say ‘look at the correlation.’ But I look back over the last few years at Sonny Perdue of Georgia who called, in the middle of their drought – that was an unprecedented century drought that they had there – he called for prayer and within three days they had rain falling in Georgia again. They’re back in good condition.

I recall what happened with the oil spill in the Gulf, how all the Gulf governors except for Charlie Crist of Florida got together and called for a time of prayer that God would mitigate the damage of that and cause that thing to be sealed. And guess what? All the expected damage along the shorelines to all the wildlife, it didn’t happen.

And now a word from reality. As of May 16th, the Texas lakes and reservoirs are not “full,” they are at 75.67% capacity. Perry’s prayer rally was from April 22-April 24, 2011. At that time, 17% of Texas was classified as undergoing “exceptional drought.” By August, when Perry held yet another prayer rally in Houston, those conditions had spread to 70% of the state. The first real rain didn’t come until Oct. 11. Texas did have an unusually wet winter, but that’s hardly a shock. Texas goes in and out of droughts routinely. They were having prayers for rain in 2006 too; the weather seems to go on its merry way without regard to such prayers.

And those prayers in Georgia don’t seem to have done much either. Yes, northern Georgia did get a rainstorm shortly after the prayers. That storm damaged a Baptist church, sending three little girls to the hospital with injuries from broken glass. And it did little to help the drought. And here we are 5 years later, and Georgia is still in a serious drought, with water levels “at historic lows.”

As for Barton’s claim that prayer prevented the BP oil spill from damaging wildlife and the shoreline…wow. One really has to wonder what planet he lives on.

About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • Gregory in Seattle

    It is kind of like the religious doctrine that the sun would refuse to rise if the Pharaoh failed to perform the Farewell Prayer at sunset: it gets done, the sun rises, praise Aten!

  • physioprof

    One really has to wonder what planet he lives on.

    Planet Lying Fuckebagge.

  • Uncle Glenny

    Well, Barton *is* the go-to guy for historical records…

  • Makoto

    Yes, those prayer festivals took care of all our water problems.. except for those pesky “we are under water use restrictions, call (number) for details” signs that have been up for well over a year now on practically every street corner, even after our wet winter. If this guy is right, my Texas city should place more faith in prayer and less in people’s innate sense of responsibility. We should use all the water we want and simply pray for more!

  • davidct

    What is ignored it the occurrence of major wildfires shortly after the prayer rally. Perry prayed and Bastrop burned. That was the immediate effect. It took months for any rain to start.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    As for Barton’s claim that prayer prevented the BP oil spill from damaging wildlife and the shoreline…wow. One really has to wonder what planet he lives on.

    Oh, come on, Ed! Everybody knows that Gulf of Mexico shrimp are supposed to have oozing sores and no eyes!

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    I especially love how the power of prayer is supposed to mitigate man-made disasters, as if the oil just decided to spill itself.

  • Mr Ed

    Snow. If every one who reads this blog gets together and doesn’t pray for snow lets see if it snows in the next year or two.

  • raven

    You all don’t understand how prayer works.

    I prayed for the sun to come up this morning. And hey, it came up, in the east no less.

    If I ever forget to pray for the sunrise, you will just have to spend all day in the dark.

    By August, when Perry held yet another prayer rally in Houston, those conditions had spread to 70% of the state.

    Not to mention that Texas at this time also had some horrific wildfires due to the drought, ones that burned homes and killed people. Perry, of course, with his hotline to god, had cut the budget of the agencies that…fight wildfires. Great timing there, Perry.

  • sc_971a13ed081fe55ce520bf693fc9354a

    We are only a week away from the 559th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople. If God could not be bothered to protect that great shrine to his glory from the Turks, then I doubt that there’s much that prayer will ever move him to do.

    ****

    The Army converged upon the Augusteum, the vast square that fronted the great church of Hagia Sophia whose bronze gates were barred by a huge throng of civilians inside the building, hoping for divine protection. After the doors were breached, the troops separated the congregation according to what price they might bring in the slave markets

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_Constantinople

  • Alverant

    And on top of that you have an advertisement for a Christian Prayer Service. (Yes, I know you don’t have control over the ads. I’m just pointing out the irony.)

  • roggg

    Perry’s prayer rally was from April 22-April 24, 2011. At that time, 17% of Texas was classified as undergoing “exceptional drought.” By August, when Perry held yet another prayer rally in Houston, those conditions had spread to 70% of the state. The first real rain didn’t come until Oct. 11.

    October 2011 was AFTER April 2011. By your own admission, the rains came AFTER the prayer rallies. If that isn’t proof, I dont know what is.

    QED

  • d cwilson

    So, let’s see:

    Rick Perry prays for rain, gets wildfires.

    Gawd tells Perry to run for president. Perry goes down in humiliating defeat after numerous debate gaffes.

    So, the obvious conclusion is, prayer works!

    You know, if it were really true that Gawd strikes people down with a lightning bolt to the ass when they lied, it’d be a wonder how Barton’s radio station could make it through the first hour of his show.

  • baal

    You’re allowed to complain that the right-wingers are retconning reality but they are then allowed to complain that there are “both sides to the issue.”

    /facetious

    One of my aunts nearly lost her home to the massive firestorm that followed on gov. perry’s pray for rain day. The situation wasn’t helped by perry cutting funding to the firefighters who did actually have a real impact in the real world.

    I also was a little surprised until I figured out that Rick Scarborough isn’t Joe Scarborough (morning joy on msnbc, former conservative FEDHOUSE member).

  • dingojack

    “One really has to wonder what planet he lives on”.

    On the Planet Wingnuttia with trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle thier thumbs and toes.

    :) Dingo

  • John Hinkle

    If a thirty thousand strong prayer concert is all you need to get what you want, the Xians should’ve been ruling the world for centuries by now.

     

    But why not start small. Hey Xians, how about praying for marriage inequality. Get together a lot of people, rent an expensive stadium, and pray your asses off. Then continue praying at least 8 hours a day until you get what you want.

  • Skip White

    “Barton: Yeah, that’s one of those many things that historians will looks back upon and say ‘look at the correlation.’”

    Yeah, and another astonishing correlation that historians’ collective jaws will drop over is that the more birthdays all of us have, the dumber the discourse in this country becomes.

  • Francisco Bacopa

    The drought started breaking on the night that Hitch, Dawkins, and PZ showed up. It rained the second night of the Texas Freethought Convention in Houston. We’ve had fairly normal rainfall since that night, but the reservoirs are pretty low.

  • Gregory in Seattle

    @dingojack #15 – To the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time and you’ll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats.

  • zmidponk

    And those prayers in Georgia don’t seem to have done much either. Yes, northern Georgia did get a rainstorm shortly after the prayers. That storm damaged a Baptist church, sending three little girls to the hospital with injuries from broken glass. And it did little to help the drought. And here we are 5 years later, and Georgia is still in a serious drought, with water levels “at historic lows.”

    These wingnuts don’t seem to get that one spell of high rainfall doesn’t fix a drought. Over on this side of the Atlantic, up until March this year, southern parts of England were having the driest 18 months since 1922, causing water levels to fall to the lowest they’ve been in 35 years. However, this was followed by the wettest April since records began, leading to flooding in many areas – some of which were still under a hosepipe ban, despite being underwater.

  • jakc

    First of all, prayers are NOT what causes the sun to rise. Sunrises are directly due to the intervention of St Ronald Reagan.

    Second, facts have a well-known liberal bias, so isn’t it just better for America to make stuff up?

  • F

    Six months ago, I ate a pomegranate. Two weeks ago, I was really sick for three days. Now, most folks wouldn’t have made the connection…

  • dingojack

    “Wingnuttia – the most delusioal state of the union!”

    Dingo

  • caseloweraz

    DCwilson wrote: “Rick Perry prays for rain, gets wildfires.

    Gawd tells Perry to run for president. Perry goes down in humiliating defeat after numerous debate gaffes.

    So, the obvious conclusion is, prayer works!”

    All that reality aside, if Rick Perry believes in the power of prayer, how come he hasn’t prayed for a state budget surplus?

    The governor also warned that tight budgets and tough decisions will be a reality in Texas over the coming years.

    Asked about education and social services, he replied, “You can expect us to prioritize what’s important.” But, he said, “we’re never going to have enough money” to meet every need.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/state-politics/20120418-perry-touts-budget-limits-as-crucial-to-states-future.ece

  • jakc

    The other thing about the power of prayer is that when prayers didn’t bring immediate rain in Texas, conservatives considered it bad form for liberals to make fun of the day of prayer.

  • kimberlyherbert

    My 2nd graders get that –

    Yes it has rained

    Yes the playground no longer has deep long cracks in the soil that can swallow a 2nd grader to the hip(actually happened, I had to lay down on the ground to reach down and remove her shoe so we could get her leg out).

    Yes our playground has actually been covered with water a couple of times, but until the lakes and aquifers are closer to normal we are still in a drought.