Now is the Time on Sprockets When We Pray

The Supreme Court is set to hear the two marriage equality cases at the end of this month, so the head of the Southern Baptist Convention is urging anti-gay Christians to “intensify their prayers” on the subject. Why? I have no idea. Does he think God is going to change the mind of a Supreme Court justice? If so, what about all that free will stuff?

Christians need to intensify their prayers for the Supreme Court in the countdown days to its deliberations on same-sex marriage later this month, according to Frank S. Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee.

Page, who issued a call to prayer for the court Jan. 11, reminded members of the Executive Committee of the urgent need for prayer during his remarks at the EC’s Feb. 18 plenary session in Nashville.

But millions of Christians have no doubt prayed every day for years to make sure they get what they want on marriage equality. Why does it need to be intensified? Is there some sort of minimum number that must be met to get God’s attention and it hasn’t been hit yet? Do you have to pray super extra duper hard? Would it help to wear special outfit, or sacrifice a lamb? God does seem to love the smell of burning flesh.

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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.

  • joeina2

    Nothing to add, but I thought I was the only person who remembered Sprockets.

  • davidct

    If this imaginary god were real, it would know what it wants to do. Is not praying just questioning gods will? Oh, I forgot it has to do with religion so there is no need to make sense. Personally I would like these believers to do all the praying they can. It keeps them from actually having to do anything which is fine by me.

  • jnorris

    Five of the justices are Roman Catholic. Does Mr Page really believe the Southern Baptist god has any power over Roman Catholics?

  • Mr Ed

    While prayer works in cases like this I don’t think it is enough. If you truly wish to defeat gay marriage you must make a sacrifice to the Lord. Right now, today true Christians should take a vow of silence and dedicate the rest of their lives to God in prayer apart from society.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    Maybe they are hoping for a hundredth monkey effect.

  • imrryr

    Quickly, Mr. Data! Divert all auxiliary power to the prayer conduits!

  • tbp1

    I’ve never understood the idea of intercessory prayer if you believe God is omniscient. He already knows who’s going to pray for what, and what, if anything, he’s going to do about it.

    I would argue that the OT god isn’t omnisicient (nothing in the text states or even implies it; that comes later). In that case, praying for divine intercession might make some sense.

  • http://dododreams.blogspot.com/ John Pieret

    He urged Christians to “pray that the individuals selected to argue for the constitutionality of traditional marriage will have keenness of insight, eloquence and logical consistency in their arguments and in response to each question directed their way” and that “their arguments will be biblically sound, compelling, reasonable and persuasive.”

    Oh please, oh please … start spouting Bible passages at the justices! That will go so far toward establishing a secular purpose for it!

  • blf

    Maybe they are hoping for a hundredth monkey effect.

    Nah, that’s evilution. “I ain’t no monkey!”

    I suspect it’s several things, such as (as a few examples):

    Increase tithes. Works whichever way the eventual rulings go: “Our prayers weren’t listened to because you haven;t been donating enough.” “Praise be! Our prayers were answered! Show your gratitude and donate now!”

    Keep the sheep occupied.

    Send a message to politicians. “Do as we pray or we’ll pray you out of office!”

  • Akira MacKenzie

    tbp1 @ 7

    For many Christain sects, it’s all about ass-kissing the cosmic autocrat. They would see constitutionally-recognized same sex marriage as nothing short of a disaster of epic proportions, and Yahweh only allows those to happen when his alleged creations have not sufficiently cowered before him.

  • whheydt

    Re: Joh Pieret @ #8…

    If that’s the plan, they haven’t got a prayer.

  • doublereed

    Now I’m imagining Goku doing a Kameha-pray or something

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    …the head of the Southern Baptist Convention is urging anti-gay Christians to “intensify their prayers”…

    In other words, daddy’s not giving them what they want, so they scream LOUDER. A totally predictable response from people who are so well known for clinging to a childish mindset 24/7.

  • Scr… Archivist

    Since Yahweh doesn’t exist, the exercise is both for and about the believers. It is a way for the Good People to demonstrate to themselves (and to the sinners) that they are indeed part of the the Good People Club. If they could pray by patting themselves on the back and simultaneously clutching their pearls, they would do so.

    Matthew 6:5 is a dead letter, because what would be the point?

  • roggg

    Come on… you have to intensify. The big guy is not going to break out the mind control unless it’s for something you really really want. You have to let him know by furrowing your brow and beaming your thoughts to him extra hard. Now everybody do your part, and pray really really hard. You in the back… I dont think you’re praying hard enough! Hey, who farted?

  • roggg

    @8 Holy Jebus! I didn’t realize the constitutionality of traditional marriage was even being challenged. Well, that is reason for concern. I guess I get why all the right wing concern and calls for prayer. I hope they dont uphold the ban on traditional marriage. That doesn’t seem right to me.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Akira MacKenzie “..cosmic autocrat…”

    Isn’t that a Russian car?

  • matty1

    Among the Christians I know telling people to pray for something is a kind of verbal tic that adds nothing. What they invariably mean when they say that is “I’m bothered about this and I hope you are too”.

  • vmanis1

    I have nothing to add on the topic, but I just wanted to congratulate Ed on giving this item a headline that reads like the title of a David Sedaris story.

  • cheesynougats

    @1

    How can anyone forget Dieter and his monkey?

  • matty1

    I would argue that the OT god isn’t omnisicient (nothing in the text states or even implies it; that comes later).

    The OT god is surprised several times starting with not knowing Adam and Eve were going to eat the apple. I’d say he is clearly a long way from omniscient.

  • http://thebronzeblog.wordpress.com/ Bronze Dog

    In fantasy and sci-fi settings, I’m not a fan of mind control. It’s inherently disrespectful toward a person’s autonomy. It’s pretty much a villain power for that reason. But for fundies, if it’s their god doing it, somehow all the nastiness of it washes away and evil is good because they say so. While their deity’s nonexistence can make the exercise laughable, it’s also disturbing because they (allegedly) sincerely believe in their god and its power. I’m not sure which is the more disturbing thought: That they don’t bother to think about the moral implications of their prayers, or that they believe in a highly subjective morality where who you are matters instead of the benefits and/or harm that come from an action.

  • http://helives.blogspot.com heddle

    I would argue that the OT god isn’t omnisicient (nothing in the text states or even implies it; that comes later).

    You world be wrong. For example, Ps. 147:5:

    Great is our Lord and mighty in power;

    his understanding has no limit.

    That’s just one example.

    The OT god is surprised several times starting with not knowing Adam and Eve were going to eat the apple. I’d say he is clearly a long way from omniscient.

    Where does the text say he was surprised?

  • http://quodlibet-sarah.blogspot.com/ Quodlibet

    Maybe “prayer intensity” is like a spike in blog hits, which can indicate increased interests in your posting(s). Except for when it’s spam.

  • blf

    Where does the text say she was not surprised, was not the serpent, or is not a strawberry tarte?

  • matty1

    I withdraw that, the response suggests eating the fruit was not anticipated but it isn’t explicit. On the other hand.

    But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

    This is not a rhetorical question, a “You know you did bad don’t you?” as the other questions in that section clearly are it’s the almighty creator of the universe unable to locate a guy hiding in the bushes.

  • Don Quijote

    OK then, not surprised but you have to admit, he was a bit pissed off. But then, he already knew didn’t he?

  • Rip Steakface

    @22

    How often do good guys get mind control abilities anyway? There’s Jedi mind tricks, but that’s almost more like really fast-acting hypnotic suggestion and only works on the feeble-minded.

  • sc_72717b0d8dc4053e632b6512091cef73

    Do you want to touch my monkey?

  • Pierce R. Butler

    jnorris @ # 3: Five of the justices are Roman Catholic.

    Six.

  • yoav

    God does seem to love the smell of burning flesh.

    At least there is one thing me and YHVE can agree on, there are very few things that can beat a good stake grilled over charcoal.

  • baal

    Dieter: Stop. [ they separate ] Before I begin.. would you like to touch my monkey?

    Helmut: I vill touch him!

    Dieter: Touch him! Love him!

    Helmut: [ rtouches the monkey's paw ] There, I did it.

    :D

    Good enough for a mid day big grin.

  • Ichthyic

    BLF @ 9 has it right IMO.

    this has fuck all to do with “prayer”. It’s like a dogwhistle; when the pastors say “pray really hard for this”, what they really mean is… raise a big stink about it with anyone you can get a hold of.

    seriously.

    this is a time honored political practice, if an entirely slimy AND illegal one.

    It’s one reason why these churches should have their 501c3 status stripped from them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=730511544 billdaniels

    Sprockets must have been on TV between the time I was a kid and the time I had kids.*

    God has a critical mass. The dumber the prayer the more prayers are needed before they get his attention. Some things are too dumb for him to consider, like this one.

    *When my sons were young all of the fundie kids in our neighborhood would be at our house on Saturdays to watch all of the cartoons that were forbidden in their houses. Our little way of undermining future christofascists.

  • rr

    …the almighty creator of the universe unable to locate a guy hiding in the bushes

    I bet some editor threw in Genesis 3.9 to give the alleged “Lord” an out, otherwise “his understanding has no limit” means he knew he was going to kill or torture about 99% of all human beings when he created them.

  • http://helives.blogspot.com heddle

    rr,

    means he knew he was going to kill or torture about 99% of all human beings when he created them.

    Where does the 99% figure come from? Surely not the bible, which implies an “uncountable” number of people are saved. (Rev. 7:9).

  • dingojack

    Heddle – for Iron Age Judeans that’s about a thousand. So of all those who have ‘died’ from c650bce to the present at least a thousand (and up to all of them) didn’t die.

    Seriously?

    Dingo

  • rr

    @heddle:

    The 99% would be Muslims, Jews, atheists, Bahá’ís, Hindus, Buddhists, Shintos, Jains, anyone born before ~30 AD, Catholics (according to Protestants,) Protestants (according to Catholics,) etc etc. And as I understand Calvinism, only about 140,000 go to heaven.

  • http://helives.blogspot.com heddle

    rr,

    You have no clue what you are talking about, do you?

    anyone born before ~30 AD,

    Do you really believe that any mainline Christian sect has as a doctrine that there are no OT saints? Really?That Abraham wasn’t saved?

    Catholics (according to Protestants)

    Protestants (according to Catholics)

    That would be some Protestants. You might want to look at a recent Pew poll before you make your unsupportable (and wrong) generalizations.

    And as I understand Calvinism, only about 140,000 go to heaven.

    Your understanding is completely wrong.

  • rr

    heddle:

    Think about it: how do you surprise an omniscient being?

    Do you really believe that any mainline Christian sect has as a doctrine that there are no OT saints? Really?That Abraham wasn’t saved?

    OK, so a few out of millions were allegedly saved.

    You might want to look at a recent Pew poll…

    But the Bible and/or the clergy are supposed to be the authorities, not the rank and file. Where in the Bible does it say other faiths are OK?

  • http://helives.blogspot.com heddle

    rr,

    But the Bible and/or the clergy are supposed to be the authorities, not the rank and file. Where in the Bible does it say other faiths are OK?

    Look up moving goalposts. First you allege that Protestants say Catholics are not saved, and vice versa. When I point out that is unsupportable as a generalization and largely innacurate, you shift.

    BTW The bible says “God will have mercy upon whom he will have mercy.” That is, he can be placed in a box about whom he saves. God can save anybody he wants, whether or not they are practicing Christians.

    Clergy vary as much as the rank and file. Officially no mainline Protestant denominations says that all Catholics are not saved. And since Vatican II the RCC does not have as its dogma that there is no salvation outside the Church.

    You have no support for you 99% figure. You are wrong every which way you look at it.

    OK, so a few out of millions were allegedly saved.

    That’s just dumb. Where do you get a “few” out of millions. I demonstrated (not that it was hard) that according to Christian doctrine people were saved before Christ came, contrary to what you asserted. And because I only mentioned an obvious example, Abraham, thereby setting a precedent, you double-down with another unsupportable claim that “only a few” were allegedly saved. How does that follow? What is your basis for “only a few?” You are just pulling it out of your ass.

    Think about it: how do you surprise an omniscient being?

    I have no idea why you wrote that.

  • rr

    Where do you get a “few” out of millions.

    Number of saints: not that many. Population of Earth at the time: millions. Not a brain teaser.

    God can save anybody he wants, whether or not they are practicing Christians

    He’s saving Muslims, Jews, atheists, Bahá’ís, Hindus, Buddhists, Shintos, etc?

    I have no idea why you wrote that.

    It does lead to some difficulties…

  • http://helives.blogspot.com heddle

    rr,

    Number of saints: not that many. Population of Earth at the time: millions. Not a brain teaser.

    Definitely not a brain teaser, since they are usually clever. On what basis are you saying there were not that many saved? Answer: none.

    He’s saving Muslims, Jews, atheists, Bahá’ís, Hindus, Buddhists, Shintos, etc?

    I don’t know–I only know that that I don’t know and that he can save whomever he wants.

    It does lead to some difficulties…

    No it doesn’t.


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