Tulsa Mayor Credits Talking to God for City’s Transformation

Tulsa, Oklahoma has gone through a major transformation over the past few years. (Or so we’re told, anyway.) Should we credit the investment in infrastructure? The tax breaks that brought in new companies? All the non-profit groups that made a difference?

Nope. Mayor Dewey Bartlett and his wife Victoria say it’s none of the above:

Mayor Dewey Bartlett

Speaking at a National Day of Prayer service at Christ Chapel on the Oral Roberts University campus, the mayor said, “Prayer has really become the fabric that unites our city.”

[Victoria] said she and the mayor have attended Sunday services at 94 churches since he was inaugurated, and at each one, pastors have prayed for them, and with them.

“That is unprecedented in our city,” she said.

So thanks for nothing, atheists. While you were contributing volunteer hours and doing whatever you could to tangibly help your community, what the city needed was a lot of words falling on no ears. Because why do something when nothing accomplishes so much more?

Little known fact: If the entire country prayed right now, our unemployment rate would drop to nothing.

(Thanks to Beau for the link!)

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.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    Tulsa is actually a pretty nice town. prayer fetishists notwithstanding.

  • Kengi

    When will he be announcing the dissolution of the mayor’s office and city council since they are no longer necessary?

    • busterggi

      He would if he were sincere.

      So he won’t.

  • Gus Snarp

    Even leaving off the Mayor’s quote, there’s so much wrong with this:

    Speaking at a National Day of Prayer service at Christ Chapel on the Oral Roberts University campus, the mayor said

  • jdm8

    Being Jesus City, USA, they probably haven’t scratched the surface visiting 94 churches. Tulsa, OK and Colorado Springs, CO are two major loci of Christian ministries.

  • Randomfactor

    Well, great. That means the corporations don’t need the tax breaks after all.

  • Tired

    Ah yup. Wonder what would happen if he quit blowing sunshine up the collective christian asshole and actually did something to improve the status of his city. Or is that too much to ask?

  • severalspeciesof

    At least most of the comments (on the updated version: http://www.tulsaworld.com/article.aspx/Mayor_credits_prayer_for_citys_transformation/20130502_18_mayor_15487 ) are fairly skeptical…

  • JWH

    Didn’t they also increase taxes there (by a negligible amount) to increase infrastructure spending and fund economic development?

    • Reginald Selkirk

      Their taxes are probably relatively high, since there are so many religious organizations taking up space on a tax-free basis.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Claiming that prayer is effective for real-world problems is akin to claiming that to get a good harvest this year, we must needs sacrifice a few dozen virgins to the sun-god.

    • busterggi

      Nope, just one priggish authority figure (see the original ‘The Wicker Man’ for details).

      • The Other Weirdo

        Really? In what way is prayer effective for real world problems?

  • ortcutt

    I feel bad for people who live in religious parts of the country.

  • Sue Blue

    Well, hell – Tulsa should just do away with police, fire, and emergency services, since God is doing it all for them! Think how much money the city and county could save if they didn’t have to pay these extraneous people. Courts, district attorneys and jails? Nope – God’s just gonna strike all them criminals dead, and keep all their potential victims safe and sound just as long as they’re all in church every Sunday. Goshdarn – rip up all them stop signs and traffic lights, too. God-fearin people only need God’s laws and God’s hand on the steerin’ wheel! And road crews – who needs ‘em? If God can create the whole universe, he can fill in a few potholes and keep the streets plowed in the winter. Yep…now that there’s municipal planning!

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Tulsa, Oklahoma has gone through a major transformation over the past few years.

    Osborn Ministries International was founded in Tulsa in 1949.
    Oral Roberts Evangelical Association founded in Tulsa, 1947.
    Abundant Life Prayer Group founded 1958.
    In 1963 they opened Oral Roberts University, also in Tulsa.
    In the center of the ORU campus, the Prayer Tower was built in 1967.
    COME Ministries founded in 1985.
    Victory Christian School founded in 1979.

    There’s been a whole lot of talking to God in Tulsa for a long time, so if they are making some progress recently, that wouldn’t seem to be the cause.

  • salt

    “So thanks for nothing, atheists. While you were contributing volunteer hours and doing whatever you could to tangibly help your community, what the city needed was a lot of words falling on no ears. Because why do something when nothing accomplishes so much more?”
    I believe many people, including atheists, did contribute to helping the Tulsa community. Only Almighty God could use the unbelievers’ efforts for His glory! Why is it so hard to believe that the mayor and his wife are sincere in their faith? I know, he is a politician and that put him up for scrutiny. But all those “tangible” community efforts were done, I am assuming, as sincere help for the community. If that can be true, can’t his motives and faith also be honest and sincere. Why is there so much controversy about something you say is not real. If the mayor would have said he offered a fruit sacrifice every week to the god of hoopdedoo, everyone would just think he was dumb. The fact that this is even a discussion shows there is something real to be discussed. Through intercessory prayer, I will pray that the Lord makes Himself real to each of you.

    • Gerry

      If the lord does your bidding, tell him to pony up his share of the taxes!

    • Kengi

      Don’t disrespect the God Hoopdedoo. If it wasn’t for me sacrificing bananas, Tulsa would still be in a dire situation. You should not only be thanking Hoopdedoo, but me as well.

      And I wouldn’t say no to some reimbursement for the bananas as well. I can’t keep this up for every city in need!

      I’ll sacrifice some tomatoes in an effort to save you, but I can’t promise anything…

    • indorri

      If 80% of the country made fruit sacrifices to Hoopeedoo, all the while belittling or ignoring the efforts of those who don’t, there’d be discussion about that instead. You might want to rethink your logic.

    • Baby_Raptor

      If your god would co-opt the efforts of a bunch of people who don’t believe in him and don’t want anything to do with him, and force those efforts to make him look better, your god is an asshole with no respect. All he cares about is his own ego.

      Then again, we already knew that.

      And keep your prayers. I’d rather burn in hell than worship your god.

    • Tom

      The hoopdedooites wouldn’t have thought he was dumb.

    • Glasofruix

      If the mayor would have said he offered a fruit sacrifice every week
      to the god of hoopdedoo, everyone would just think he was dumb.

      So how’s your skyfairy so different then?

    • Carmelita Spats

      There is only “controversy” about your Imaginary Friend when YOU decide to blur the lines between PRIVATE piety and PUBLIC policy to the point that your SUPERSTITION holds jurisdiction over MY experience. By the way, I’m not singling out your delusion: I would expect the same restraint from every other schizophrenic. As long as you keep it to yourself, I don’t care if you have a “personal relationship” with The Bearded Guy, His Brat and the Pigeon…or a spaceship piloted by talking, lava-eating, sea clams.

  • rick_povero

    Talking to “God” is not a problem. Hearing a response is.

    • sweeetredtele

      Talking to an imaginary invisible friend is a slight problem for rational adults.

  • Tobias2772

    I want to tell you all, unequivocably, that religion has the power to make all of your lives better immediately.
    If they would just pay their fuckin’ taxes – that would do it !.

    • http://profiles.google.com/vanbakel Rogier van Bakel

      ‘Unequivocably’ should perhaps be a word, but isn’t.

      • Sweetredtele

        There were many “should be perhaps a word”‘s that are now words.

        It’s not The Bard or American military slang, It’s a word. Since words now get dictionaried according to usage, Ima gonna usa the fuck outta unequivocalbly.

        Oh, “Perhaps” wasn’t a word until 1520. Should until 1200. So quit using them because they weren’t words.

      • Tobias2772

        Is embarrassed a word ??

  • Robster

    Thank god I’m 24 hours from Tulsa!

    • JohnnieCanuck

      But did you pray to this god of yours to move you there or was it just a random act on its part?

  • Tom

    There should be a rule that when someone placed in a position of authority and given power to act for the public good decides that praying will work better, they should be kicked out of that office and the position given to someone who is inclined to actually make use of it, because you don’t need any of that stuff to pray and you’re stopping anyone else from using it.


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