Oklahoma Governor Wants Citizens to Do a Raindance

Ok, my headline isn’t accurate, but the reality of the situation is equally ridiculous.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin asked citizens to pray for rain yesterday — because, as the science books teach us, rain only falls if you ask God nicely.

“I encourage Oklahomans of all faiths to join me this Sunday in offering their prayers for rain,” Fallin said. “For the safety of our firefighters and our communities and the well-being of our crops and livestock, this state needs the current drought to come to an end. The power of prayer is a wonderful thing, and I would ask every Oklahoman to look to a greater power this weekend and ask for rain.”

Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese said he appreciated the governor’s call for prayer and would be saying his own this Sunday.

“Farmers across the state are really suffering under these conditions,” Reese said. “I’m glad the governor is issuing this call to prayer, and I hope it helps deliver the rain we need soon.”

Looks like Yahweh didn’t grant her wish. There’s a 0% chance of precipitation all week:

But don’t you dare mock her request

State Senator, Rick Brinkely wants you to listen to Fallin’s reasoning.

“I think if people are making a joke out [of] this request by the governor, they really don’t understand the implications of what it is she is asking for,” says Brinkley. “This isn’t like we would like to have a nice Spring shower, we would like to stop a drought, we would like to save the lives of fire fighters who are putting their lives on the line every day fighting these grass fires, and the fact that our farmers are facing devastation, this isn’t a flippant little request, there is a lot at stake here.”

Binkley tells me Fallin was not elected to represent other states, she was elected to represent the people of Oklahoma and her request is a reflection of Oklahomans.

“For those people who are offended by this, my best piece of advice is to get over this, and if you don’t pray then don’t pray,” says Brinkley.

I fully understand the implications. I feel sorry for the firefighters and farmers who are affected by this drought. But I’m realistic and honest — something the state officials are not. I know that prayer won’t change the weather patterns and it’s a silly request (at best) or outright deception (at worst) to suggest that anyone’s prayers are going to make it rain. It’s not.

Incidentally, Fallin isn’t the first Governor to suggest citizens ask the Sky Gods for rain help. In 2007, both Alabama Governor Bob Riley and Georgia governor Sonny Perdue did the same thing. And earlier this year, Governor Rick Perry of Texas asked everyone to pray to stop fires in his state.

Guess what? God didn’t cause the rain to fall or the fire to stop in any of those situations.

Prayer: The last resort for desperate people when they have no realistic solutions to their problems and a gigantic waste of time.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Justin McKean

    No, wait. The science behind this is pretty solid. If enough people pray it’ll work. The trick is to pray loudly and for extended periods. There isn’t a god to respond, but the massive amount of moisture in the breath of the believers could cause the humidity to reach a high enough level to provoke rain.

    Not such a bad idea anymore, eh?

  • Anonymous

    Nothing fails like prayer…

  • Anonymous

    I have no words.

  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t rain because the heathens are worshiping Satan and pagan gods……Or something like that.

  • Anonymous

    It seems reasonable that this kind of request could be a way to raise awareness of the desperation of the situation, which might, in turn, get people to be a bit more careful about wasting water or using fire outdoors.  But it won’t cause it to rain. Although I like Justin’s idea.  Maybe “juice it up” a bit by praying as if you are in a Shakespeare play – let it fly – I once was spit upon by James Earl Jones playing Othello (stay out of the first three rows!), and if I closed my eyes it was practically raining.

  • http://www.beaumcelhattan.com Beau McElhattan

    This really infuriated me and I contacted Governor Fallin via email and also wrote my thoughts down publicly.  
    http://www.beaumcelhattan.com/reason/2011/07/15/solutions-instead/
    It is my hope she retracts her silly statement and starts _doing_ something constructive instead.

  • Lostinthefog

    Be certain to word your prayers as non-specifically as possible too, so that
    when you finally get rain in a year or two it can be attributed to your prayers.

  • Qwerty

    It’s too bad they got rid of the original indigenous population of their state, I think that group may have done better – they danced for rain instead of praying. 

  • Ronlawhouston

    Hmm…(flips through holy book) my holy book says that the rain god Pissin will only shower us with his goodness if we ritually sacrifice governors who pray to false Gods.  Anyone?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    In addition to Governors Fallin, Riley, Perdue, and Perry calling on their constituents to pray for rain, Mayor Linda Thompson of Harrison, Pennsylvania wants her citizens to pray for God to fix their economic mess.

    This is either a new trend in high level problem solving strategies, or
    good old fashioned pandering to the churchy electorate. Hmm. (1/10
    second elapses) I pick number two.

    It doesn’t matter that their prayers will not be answered. The religious voters won’t remember that. It only matters that they remember that the politician stroked their egos by evoking Mr. Fixit in the Sky.

    • http://www.beaumcelhattan.com Beau McElhattan

      It took me 1/100th of a second to decide that it is pandering to the churchy
      electorate, of which we have very many here in Oklahoma.

      • Joseph

        Which is hilarious, because there are also tons of atheists – sadly, many of us are barely 18, if that.

        • Bee

          Yeah, I’m almost 30 and I’m in the minority. Most of the people I grew up with are extremely religious. 

    • Janmcbaker

      That was Harrisburg, PA. I was just scrolling down to add my 2 cents about the mayor’s prayer rather than, oh I don’t know, maybe doing some actual WORK??!!

    • Parse

      It’s the “Jesus, take the wheel!” approach to government.  Works about as well for governments as  it does driving.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    You mockers! Every single prayer request for rain has worked! You just have to wait keep praying until the drought ends, and sometimes that takes a bit. Just understand that merciful God loves to hold the fate of the crops and firefighters hostage until we give in and pray.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    You mockers! Every single prayer request for rain has worked! You just have to wait keep praying until the drought ends, and sometimes that takes a bit. Just understand that merciful God loves to hold the fate of the crops and firefighters hostage until we give in and pray.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Lets see if this works.

    Edit: It does work but the pic is small until you click on it.

  • Heisenberg

    You saw James Earl Jones playing Othello?! Amazing! I’m surprised no one has brought up how aggravating it is that they suggest we’re the ones making a mockery of the situation. If anything we’re taking it more serious because we don’t believe something as silly as praying will work.

  • sam kimery

    You can’t print what a lot of Oklahoma voters would like our Governor to do :(
    Well, you could, but it would require lots of allusions and similes and stuff like that. And lots of lube.

  • http://www.nowhere-fast.net Tom

    How inept do they imagine their god to be?  Is he just sort of hanging out, doing his thing, trying to prestige again in Black Ops when suddenly he gets hit by some prayers and is like, “Oh damn, I totally forgot to make it rain!  I’ll get right on that.”

    Or do they imagine their god to just be a narcissistic jerk who’s been able to end the drought but who chooses not to until he gets the requisite number of prayers?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ChristopherTK ChristopherTK

     And how are we supposed to feel good about this nation’s leadership?

    • Joseph

      The worst part is, the gubernatorial election was between nutty and nutty lite. Not sure which one was which any more…

      • http://www.nowhere-fast.net Tom

        While I like the full flavor of original Nutty, I also like the crisp, refreshing nature of Nutty Lite. 

  • GR Jay

    It’s a no-win argument, people.  This is Religion.  It rains = God heard and answered our prayer.  It doesn’t = our sin is alienating us from God, or God is testing us, or “we’re at least doing something, which is more than you are doing”.  God is always right.

  • Anonymous

    Silly governor…Prayer doesn’t make rain.

    For that you build an ark and gather animals! Did you READ the bible?

  • Ratsnake

     I guess it never occured to her that the people affected by this drought  have already been praying for quite a while…..with no response. That means sky daddy doesn’t care, can’t do anything, or does not exist. Surely an omnipotent God does not need to be reminded to make it rain. Sheeez..

  • Newavocation

    So what happens if they over pray and flood the state? Can residents sue the Governor? 

  • Clarinet Box

    Every time you see the new Harry Potter movie God eats a cloud.

    • Renshia

      I thought it was a bunny he ate? I was always told it was a bunny

  • Dan W

    Prayer- how to do nothing and still think you’re helping.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous
  • Charles Black

    I seem to remember another group of people who prayed to their rain god for rain.
    Which group was it called again? Oh yeah the Mayans, strangely enough it didn’t work for them either.

  • guest 42

    I think praying is quite the right thing to do. The current heat wave is Gods punishment of the people in the US for not taking climate change seriously. Now praying won’t make it rain, but it might enlighten some people.

  • Anonymous

    I’m certainly not of the school of thought that you shouldn’t vote for theists. There is ample evidence that many theists (including, if you believe he’s actually religious, Obama) are very capable of separating their faith-claims from their earthly lives and responsibilities.

    However I do think that anyone who seriously proposes prayer as a solution to ANY concrete problem is automatically disqualified from consideration. Praying for rain or economic recovery is taking a Christian Scientist approach to civil governance, likely resulting in the same sort of horrible outcome.

  • Anonymous

    Thing is, it’ll eventually rain, and then they’ll be able to feel affirmed in their faith because God decided to help them out. They also won’t  blame God for inflicting the drought on them, which is the only reasonable way to interpret the disaster if you believe He has the power to make it rain. Instead, they’ll find some minor fault or slight that they committed against God and decide that it was their own fault and that they should just be more careful not to upset Him in the future.

    These believers have cast themselves as the victim in an imaginary abusive relationship. And the most disturbing part of it is that they feel that this is the most uplifting way of looking at the world.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      @Cortex_Returns, yes that is basically how it works.  By selectively paying attention to just those events (and interpretations of events) that support your belief system, you can grow your faith.     The antithesis of science.  Its not raining… must be due to God’s displeasure of the homosexuals, atheists, and liberals.  Its raining… must be because enough people of faith prayed.  You can grow faith in ANY stance with this kind of “thinking”.

  • http://profiles.google.com/tbourqueulc Thomas Bourque

    Let’s all actively and blatantly make known that we are NOT praying for rain and see if that “brings” rain.

    Hmm… Nah, that wouldn’t work. “God” would still get credit somehow. “Oh, he was just waiting!” “Oh, look how he showed those atheists!” “See, you can’t keep pestering him. He’ll do it on his own time!”

  • Fester60613

    It may take another dust bowl to convince these prayer junkies that they’re wasting their time. Poor bastards…

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    This is how theocracy starts.  if 51% of the voting public are swayed by these types of panderings by politicians, then more politicians will pander in this way.  Politicians will soon learn that they don’t actually have to do anything once in office except pander to the 51%.  Not doing anything (except pandering) is always an attractive prospect for  many.   Of course the 51% will become restless and their representatives will start to push for changes to bring secular law more in line with biblical law.  The next thing you know, we have a theocracy with government ruin run by pastors and priests.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    This is how theocracy starts.  if 51% of the voting public are swayed by these types of panderings by politicians, then more politicians will pander in this way.  Politicians will soon learn that they don’t actually have to do anything once in office except pander to the 51%.  Not doing anything (except pandering) is always an attractive prospect for  many.   Of course the 51% will become restless and their representatives will start to push for changes to bring secular law more in line with biblical law.  The next thing you know, we have a theocracy with government ruin run by pastors and priests.

  • Nena

    God won’t give them rain until they stop the gays. They should know that.

    Seriously, though, I was chatting with a christian coworker one day about prayer; I asked him if he thought god had a perfect plan and knew best, and he said yes. Then I asked if he prayed when his daughters got sick, asking god to heal them. He said yes. I asked if he thought it made any difference…and he surprised me by saying no.

    Then I asked why pray if it doesn’t make any difference, and he gave me one of the most interesting answers I’ve ever gotten from a christian.

    He said, “Well, why do you root and cheer for your favorite sports team?”

    I had to concede that I actually understood. I yell like an idiot when I’m watching my alma mater play on TV.

    That doesn’t justify the politicians asking for prayer, of course, but I thought that was a cool answer.

  • Al Hutton

    When I hear of idiotic stupidity like this…I don’t know whether to laugh or cry….pitiful just pitiful

  • Dark Jaguar

    I’m tired of apologizing for my state.

    At this point, the only way to properly protest would be getting people to actually dress up as native americans and do a rain dance.

  • Guest

    It sad to hear most of these comments. Just as I will get ripped for what Im about to say.  One day you will believe and see him face to face, and  you will also never find a Demon (or Satan) that is an atheist.  Remember these words when that day comes.  I’ll pray for rain, and each of you as well that some day you will see the truth!

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      Yeah… any day now…

      *rolleyes*

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      Yeah… any day now…

      *rolleyes*

  • Toni Allen

    I was in a silly mood, googling “how to do a rain dance,” and ran across this article.  Yup.  Mine is a….um….colorful and culturally “unique” state, isn’t it?  :  I sure as hell didn’t vote for the superstitious nut-job.


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