Governor Rick Perry Wants Texans to Pray to Stop the Fires

As wildfires race across Texas while a drought continues, Governor Rick Perry has figured out a way to put a stop to Nature’s wrath:

… throughout our history, both as a state and as individuals, Texans have been strengthened, assured and lifted up through prayer; it seems right and fitting that the people of Texas should join together in prayer to humbly seek an end to this devastating drought and these dangerous wildfires;

I, RICK PERRY, Governor of Texas, under the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Texas, do hereby proclaim the three-day period from Friday, April 22, 2011, to Sunday, April 24, 2011, as Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas. I urge Texans of all faiths and traditions to offer prayers on that day for the healing of our land, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of our normal way of life.

Got that, firefighters? Texas doesn’t need you anymore. God’s going to make everything better. (And don’t even THINK about praying on Monday. That’s outside the Prayer Window.)

I don’t know which is worse — the fact that the governor has no real solutions at all, or the notion that he actually believes he found the answer. Would it be better if he really believed this shit or if he was just trying to pander to his base?

He must have gotten the idea from former Alabama governor Bob Riley, who did the exact same thing back in 2007. (***Update***: Former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue did the same thing in 2007.)

At some point in the future — hopefully, the near future — rain will fall again. And it won’t have anything to do with who’s praying for it.

What’s even sadder is that the same person urging others to waste their time by praying doesn’t understand the first thing about Global Warming, which leads to conditions that can create wildfires.

(Thanks to everyone for the link)

  • Ned

    And when it finally does rain, which it will anyway, prayer will get all the credit. Oh, and lets not use any federal resources to help with the fire – that would be socialism (sarc).

  • http://intwaste.blogspot.com Dale

    Wait? How can he do that? He is usurping Jesus’s zombie day! How can you allow such a thing? We need to celebrate Zombie Day! I think Jesus will be mad at him and not let it rain if he is taking attention away from his glory at becoming undead.

  • http://thingsfindothinks.com AndrewFinden

    Got that, firefighters? Texas doesn’t need you anymore.

    False dichotomy – one that’s made all the time, but false none-the-less. Christians do actually believe that God gives wisdom and skills for people like doctors and fire-fighters to do good things. Why he needed to define a set period, however, is beyond me.

    And @Dale – the whole “Jesus is a Zombie” thing is about as funny as a creationist telling you that your grandfather is a chimp..

  • Audge

    How about let’s pray for World peace?? Because that’s what we all need here.. If prayers worked– should’nt we be praying for better things here? Let’s leave fire men to do their job..

  • http://pinkydead.blogspot.com David McNerney

    Maybe they should ship in some Shaman or Witch Doctors to do Rain Dances.

    No, actually, only ignorant people would want that primitive backward nonsense – remember we are living in the 21st century.

  • Yui

    No false dichotomy, Andrew. If an all-powerful being can be entreated to stop the fires, then the firefighters are no longer necessary even if those same said firefighters were granted their skills by that all powerful being.

    I do have to wonder, though, why an all-powerful being needs to be entreated to do anything. Does it not know about the fires? Does it not know that the fires are harming people? Does it need to be told that harming people is bad, and it could help? Strange stuff.

  • http://thingsfindothinks.com AndrewFinden

    @Yui

    No false dichotomy, Andrew. If an all-powerful being can be entreated to stop the fires, then the firefighters are no longer necessary even if those same said firefighters were granted their skills by that all powerful being.

    Unless the means that all-powerful entity chose was firefighters, in which case, they would be necessary. The dichotomy is then, logical false.

    I do have to wonder, though, why an all-powerful being needs to be entreated to do anything.

    I didn’t say I agreed with the politician’s understanding of prayer and its purpose etc.

  • ACN

    I do have to wonder, though, why an all-powerful being needs to be entreated to do anything. Does it not know about the fires? Does it not know that the fires are harming people? Does it need to be told that harming people is bad, and it could help? Strange stuff.

    QFT.

    the whole “Jesus is a Zombie” thing is about as funny as a creationist telling you that your grandfather is a chimp..

    I agree. I happen to think both are hilarious, and I have laughed openly at creationists who’ve told me that on the few occasions it has happened.

  • http://intwaste.blogspot.com Dale

    the whole “Jesus is a Zombie” thing is about as funny as a creationist telling you that your grandfather is a chimp..

    @AndrewFinden I in no way made my statement to be mature. The statement was made absurd because that is how I found it. I agree with ACN both Zombie Jesus and the Chimp thing are stupid, but I find both humorous.

    My point was that I found it amusing to use the Easter Weekend to take prayers away from Jesus and guide them towards praying for rain. Actually, praying to Thor might help, he was a god of Rain if I am not mistaken.

  • http://www.sadlyhuman.com Grouper of Doubt

    Andrew, I’m not sure you’re capable of defending your argument. You accuse the OP of a false dichotomy on the grounds that firefighters are endowed with, essentially, a magical fairy dust capable of giving them both super-human strength and wisdom, garnering credit for both the deity and the firefighters.

    The problem being, of course, is that sprinkling magic fairy dust on professional rescuers is a violation of free agency. It’s my understanding that fundamentally, god is not to
    interfere with the endeavors of the human species.

  • Gail

    A few years back in Georgia, Sonny Purdue asked everyone to pray for rain during a drought. Even my mother, who is a very devout Christian, thought it was ridiculous and that he should be coming up with an actual plan for when Atlanta ran out of water.

  • http://atheistdave.wordpress.com Atheist Dave

    As an atheist in north Texas, this scares the hell out of me. The more people praying means the less people actually trying to stop the fires means the more likely the fires will spread my way.

    So help me god, if the flames reach me I will be blaming the prayer.

  • http://millenniallemons.com Jeremiah Wood

    You forgot to mention that our former governor here in Georgia, Sonny Perdue, asked Georgians to pray for rain during one of our worst droughts.

    We have had a water crisis in Georgia several times and we are in litigation with other states over shared water sources, but apparently all we needed to do was pray.

  • http://millenniallemons.com Jeremiah Wood

    Aw, I didn’t see Gail’s comment. How inattentive I am. I second the comment above mine.

  • http://thishollowearth.wordpress.com/ Victor

    I’m tired of doing something … I think we should do nothing, and see if that works.

  • http://www.atheistrev.com vjack

    Perry should fire all the police officers in Texas and let his god do their job too. See how well that works out.

  • http://atheistdave.wordpress.com Atheist Dave

    Perry should fire all the police officers in Texas and let his god do their job too.

    Don’t say it too loudly – I wouldn’t put it past him.

  • NewEnglandBob

    As I posted elsewhere, Perry should stand in the middle of the firestorm and show us how well prayer works.

  • Staceyjw

    bet that idiot would laugh if someone else suggested a rain dance though…..

    There is nothing so ignorant that if it happened in TX it would surprise me.

    Nothing I hate more than god getting the credit for humans hard work and bravery.

  • Alex

    If he runs for re-election I hope he just asks his supporters to pray that he wins and forgets to remind them to vote.

  • http://wading-in.net/walkabout Just Al

    AndrewFinden said:

    False dichotomy – one that’s made all the time, but false none-the-less. Christians do actually believe that God gives wisdom and skills for people like doctors and fire-fighters to do good things.

    It would appear Perry doesn’t actually agree with you, Andrew. He’s not calling on people to use their god-given skills, or making the slightest recognition of this being a challenge to overcome. He’s going in exactly the opposite direction by encouraging people to plead for mercy.

    If you hadn’t been doing the knee-jerk thing about defending christians, you might have caught this.

    But thanks for telling us what “christians” believe. Usually, what I hear is the rabid defense that “not all christians believe that!” I’m glad I now have it on authority something that they do all believe.

    And before you decide to shoot something back my way, just try to remember that it’s your own argument that I have the skills and attitude god gave me. Arguing with me is like arguing with the will of god himself ;-)

  • Danielle

    Reminds me of tribes doing Rain Dances. Completely useless.

  • Dakota Bob

    Shouldn’t they try a rain dance first, try all the other options first before relying on the Space Jew who doesn’t really have a good track record?

  • http://leavingthequietroom.blogspot.com/ Joe Zamecki

    What a shameful gov. we Texans have! I and some other Freethinkers are going to do something about it. We’re going to picket the National Day of Prayer event at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on May 5 at 11am. We need help! Please let me know if you’d like to picket with us. It’s fun!

    This is an easy opportunity to DO something about it, instead of just discussing it. :)

  • Ron in Houston

    Considering that Perry wants to cut government so that there are no firefighters left, this just might be his only plan.

  • http://www.freethoughtoasis.org Jynx

    @Andrew

    There is no “false dichotomy” because Gov. Rick Perry was not asking his consituents to pray for the fires to go away specifically, he was asking his constituents to pray for rain.

    If prayer produced rain in sufficient quantities to extinquish the wildfires here in Texas, the firefighters would be unnecessary.

    @everyone else

    As an American citizen and resident of Texas, I am disgusted that an elected official would do such a thing. If I had the time and resources, I would seriously consider challenging this in court as a violation of the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    Sickening.

  • Steve

    Unless the means that all-powerful entity chose was firefighters, in which case, they would be necessary. The dichotomy is then, logical false.

    In that case, we wouldn’t need god. Firefighters don’t come from god. They are created and employed by humans and decide what to do themselves.

    Also, you can just bet that these same people would think that an Indian rain dance or some such ritual is absurd magic and superstition.

  • ErinM

    I was among the Americans United protesters in Atlanta during Governor Perdue’s prayer service. I got a huge kick out of the Gubna’s statement in the newspaper that “I believe in a God who can make it rain.” Really? He can; he just won’t? Do you suppose he might have a good reason for not making it rain, or is he just waiting for us to beg for it first?

    Seriously, the idea of a god who withholds rain pending human groveling is just creepy.

  • Jim H

    Ridiculous. Everyone knows that the only legitimate reason to pray for rain is when your pitcher isn’t good enough for today’s opponent hitters….
    Spahn and Sain and…

  • Richard P.

    I do have to wonder, though, why an all-powerful being needs to be entreated to do anything.

    Because god loves to have the little children on their knees before him.

    Or god don’t do nothing unless you stroke his ego first.

    It’s not what he knows, it’s how loudly you beg, and we all know how much god loves to hears them beg.

  • Richard P.

    Maybe we should donate a goat for the governor to sacrifice. I think god has a thing for goats, doesn’t he?

  • Goldarn

    I fully support using prayer to solve Texas’s problems. Just look at how well it did to stop that oil leak in the Gulf!
    :-) :-) :-) smileys just in case….

  • Laura D

    What’s really craven about his proclamation is that it all forecasts point to rain in the Austin area this weekend, and have since the beginning of this week. So the man knows it’s supposed to rain where he lives and issues a proclamation asking Texans to pray for rain and then declares the prayer weekend a success when it rains, as it is supposed to? Things like this have me thinking sometimes that I really dislike being from the south in general and Texas in particular.

  • Richard Wade

    I just figured out why the godly guv designated these three days for his rain prayer:

    The Weather Channel predicts scattered thundershowers with 30% chance of precipitation for today, tonight and tomorrow in the Wichita Falls, TX area.

    Hopefully God watches the Weather Channel too.

    It will be a big coup if there’s any rain at all in the area this weekend. “Hey the Guv has God’s ear! We’d better vote for him!”

    … Ah, I see that Laura D beat me to it.

  • mike

    I encourage such foolhardy requests by government officials. It gets their religion into the public record in an obvious and testable way.

    Consider writing a law to prohibit the governor from using god as a premise:
    Whereas, the incidence of rain in April is …
    Whereas, in 2011, Gov. Perry petitioned god for rain in April.
    Whereas, the subsequent rainfall retained history incidence rates, and did not occur for _x_ days.

    It is difficult to enjoin them from espousing their religion, especially when they do it quietly. For instance, as written in the law, homosexuals are prohibited from marrying by tradition, not by god. I can not challenge tradition head-on as the writers are dead and their living supporters may take umbrage. I can not challenge their god because he is not recorded as a party to the law.

    Whenever they explicitly use god as a premise in the public record, an indelible trace of their god’s non-existence is left behind. Their god is pulled into reality and tied to real events, so we may officially notice those real events and question all real parties.

    Thus their god is now a party to the law that I can face head-on. Imagine trying to subpoena god. It sounds ridiculous, they may say. But I get to subpoena every other living author of any law. So they should either not include an unreachable author or produce this author.

    My hope is that a record of such failed official petitions to deities may be used to add statutes in support of the 1st amendment to recognize and address common violations. The Tea Party wants to cite the constitution so: “Pursuant to the 1st Amd., no gov’t official may petition a deity in the course of his/her official duties”. While, I support their right to pray as a citizen, when they are on the job they had better conform to the law of the land.

  • http://www.correntewire.com chicago dyke

    Seriously, the idea of a god who withholds rain pending human groveling is just creepy.

    this.

    really, this is a big reason for my atheism. gawd wants and needs our prayers… why, again? cause he’s insecure? cause he likes us on our knees? cause he’s an egomaniac? if i were an all powerful, all knowing being, people would bore the shit out of me. i’d be spending most of my time creating interesting galactic formations or new species of breathing fish with feet, or something.

  • JD

    The more people praying means the less people actually trying to stop the fires means the more likely the fires will spread my way.

    I really don’t see that particular diversion happening. Only a very small proportion of people are sufficiently trained, equipped or qualified to fight large fires. Those that are, probably are fighting right now. I believe you’ve probably heard that there are a lot of those qualified and capable people from most US states fighting this thing.

  • Ex Patriot

    He just asked people to spend 3 days talking to themselves, I only hope that the majority are smart enough to laugh at him and his ignorance

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Also, you can just bet that these same people would think that an Indian rain dance or some such ritual is absurd magic and superstition.

    Indeed. This is a depressing reminder that we shouldn’t feel complacent about the United States being more advanced than the developing world. This is the same kind of superstition (promoted by a government official, no less!) that takes place in developing nations. There’s absolutely no difference between the governor’s request to pray for rain and some indigenous tribe bringing in a shaman or witch doctor. What makes it sad is that Americans live in a country where the vast majority of the people actually have access to education, while the same is not true in much of the rest of the world.

  • ungawdlyWoman

    Hey maybe the Perry prayers will work in like biblical proportions. You know like 40 days and 40 nights and then they can pray for drought! Hell, they can pray that the south will rise again!

  • Miko

    Laura D:

    What’s really craven about his proclamation is that it all forecasts point to rain in the Austin area this weekend, and have since the beginning of this week. So the man knows it’s supposed to rain where he lives and issues a proclamation asking Texans to pray for rain and then declares the prayer weekend a success when it rains, as it is supposed to?

    Now, now. Do you really think conservatives are that hypocritical? Oh wait: yes, they are.


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