Thoughts and Prayers: In a ridiculous but predictable political stunt, Louisiana’s Catholic Governor John Bel Edwards is calling for three days of prayer and fasting from July 20 to 22 to end the coronavirus pandemic.
In a press conference on Thursday, Louisiana’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards called for three days of fasting and praying during lunchtime from July 20 to 22.
Governor John Bel Edwards addressed the public in a press conference on Thursday and called for a 3 day period of fasting and prayer for the people of Louisiana. The period will go from July 20th-22nd.
At Thursday’s press conference Edwards said:
I’m going to call for three days of fasting and prayer for our state, for July 20 through the 22nd. I know it’s a little bit unusual. This will be a spiritual diet and exercise that I as a Catholic Christian believe is very important anyway.
Governor Edwards may mean well, but calling for three days of prayer and fasting will do nothing to stop the spread of COVID-19.
In fact, no amount of magical thinking will alter the course of the virus.
The uncomfortable truth that many simply cannot accept is that God does not exist, and that prayers are ultimately futile gestures – empty expressions of existential desperation and metaphysical confusion.
For all intents and purposes, prayer is spiritual masturbation: it might make the person doing the praying feel a little better, but prayers do nothing to effect change in the real world.
An exercise in religious superstition and ignorance, an elected official calling for three days of prayer and fasting is more than just an insult to common sense and reason, it is a clear violation of the Establishment Clause to the First Amendment of the US Constitution. As such, it is unconstitutional: it is nothing less than a government endorsement of religion.
In short, prayers are not the answer. More religion is not the answer. In fact, prayers and other forms of magical thinking are often part of the problem, and they are never part of the solution.
If not prayer, if not religion, what are we to do?
We must rise above the religious superstitions that divide us. We must be honest with ourselves and our communities. We must respect the science and medical reality of the coronavirus crisis, and act accordingly.
Bottom line: In a ridiculous but predictable political stunt, Louisiana’s Catholic Governor John Bel Edwards is calling for three days of prayer and fasting from July 20 to 22 to end the coronavirus pandemic.