Stop asking God to do your job!

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Politicians from Rick Perry to Michele Bachmann are passing off their duties to a deity. Here's why it's dangerous


The United States is not a theocracy. Priests are not elected to govern. So what does it mean when a politician goes straight to “God” for help with the social problems he or she is tasked with addressing?

Governor Rick Perry (R-Tex.) displayed what was perhaps one of the most outward expressions of such divine appeal two summers ago, when he held a monumental prayer rally on August 6, 2011: The Response. His response further generated a number of other prayer rallies through the end of last year, “to call on Jesus on behalf of America, that He might hear our cry and that we would see a revolution of righteousness in this country.”

It appears the citizens of this country will witness a similar sort of confluence of socio-political policy and that of a particular faith next month: WND’s Joseph Farah’s call for a National Day of Prayer and Repentance on September 11th in an effort to “save America” in the “battle” against various sociocultural and political issues (e.g., abortion, gay marriage, gun control, foreign policy, and the diminished role of “God” in the public sphere, among others).

Though Joseph Farah is not a public official, the shared leadership and support he has been given by individuals such as Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who many recall stating in 2011 that the major east-coast earthquake, and Hurricane Irene’s subsequent wrath along the same coastal area, were both warnings from “God,” calls into question the adequacy with which those supporting individuals approach their public offices. According to Bachmann, this September 11th will be a day of reflection “on the things we, as Americans, have done to cause God such disappointment that he would choose to punish our country twice [2001 and 2012] on the same date.” “Is there anything better that we can do on that day rather than to humble ourselves and pray to an almighty God?” she asks. View the soon-to-retire Minnesota Congresswoman’s official endorsement of the event in April’s Congressional Record here.

Written By: Seth Walker
continue to source article at salon.com

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  1. The Rick Perry praying for rain thing in 2011 ended up being pretty ironic considering after months of failed prayers here for the horrible drought to end, it didn’t rain until the very day Richard and Hitch arrived for the freethinkers convention in Houston.

    • In reply to #2 by Ryan1306:

      The Rick Perry praying for rain thing in 2011 ended up being pretty ironic considering after months of failed prayers here for the horrible drought to end, it didn’t rain until the very day Richard and Hitch arrived for the freethinkers convention in Houston.

      I’m sure Mr Perry still claimed it as proof that his prayers had been answered…

  2. Maybe the Bachmanns and the Perrys are dead wrong.
    Maybe everything that went well in the USA was because the deity was pleased with the progress in woman emancipation, in acceptance of gays, in the very humane pro-choice developments, in the opposition to more and more guns. And maybe the deity warned the USA with 9-11, Katrina, Sandy Hook that the right-wing backlash is unacceptable.

    With a deity you never KNOW, don’t you ?

    • In reply to #4 by GBile:

      Maybe the Bachmanns and the Perrys are dead wrong.
      Maybe everything that went well in the USA was because the deity was pleased with the progress in woman emancipation, in acceptance of gays, in the very humane pro-choice developments, in the opposition to more and more guns. And maybe the deity wa…

      But of course you KNOW! It’s all in the Bible!!

      Or is that the Koran? Or the Torah??

      Hang on, this faith thing isn’t as easy as I thought it was…

  3. According to Bachmann, this September 11th will be a day of reflection “on the things we, as Americans, have done to cause God such disappointment that he would choose to punish our country twice [2001 and 2012] on the same date.” “Is there anything better that we can do on that day rather than to humble ourselves and pray to an almighty God?

    Stick needles into one’s eyes, maybe. Watch the collector’s edition box set of The View. Go to a Ted Nugent concert. Read anything by Dan Brown. Stab yourself repeatedly in the knee with a sharpened fork. Eat a ham-and-poison-oak sandwich.

    I can think of any number of things that would be preferable to giving thanks to the same imaginary being which inspired another bunch of gullible, hate-filled dickheads to kill thousands of people, on the anniversary of that event.

    I wish these dumbasses would get it into their heads that God and Allah are the same person.

    • In reply to #6 by Katy Cordeth:

      According to Bachmann, this September 11th will be a day of reflection “on the things we, as Americans, have done to cause God such disappointment that he would choose to punish our country twice [2001 and 2012] on the same date.” “Is there anything better that we can do on that day rather than to h…

      And that both are as real and omnipotent as Voldemort, Sauron and Darth Vader…

  4. Ever since the beginning of the universe, which the omnipotent God had obviously thought about before He did it, He had a plan for us all. Depending on your version of Christianity, Judaism or Islam, the Earth is between 6000 and 13.82 billion years old. Either way a lot of time for the Creator to work out His plan, because of course He knows exactly what is going to happen.

    And then along comes a jerk like Rick Perry, and prays for rain ! What a bloody impertinence of this mere human being to ask God for rain, and therefore to interfere with his Plan. Well wild bushfires resulted in Texas, no doubt the work of Satan, and Perry’s prayers had backfired !

    Usually we only hear about the prayers that worked. In Perry’s case, the giver of graces was conspicuously absent ! ** Almost as if He weren’t there** !

  5. “to call on Jesus on behalf of America, that He might hear our cry and that we would see a revolution of righteousness in this country.”

    I think they mean “revolution of right-wing-eousness in this country.

  6. This piece is very weak. I don’t buy the “spiritual bypassing” bit, at least the explanation is thin and the evidence scant. I don’t assume the organizing of events such as these represents evidence of “spiritual bypassing” as it was described here. It is possible and even likely in my opinion that such events actually augment practical work done by these politicians and their supporters. If they do then the diagnosis is unwarranted and can hardly support the conclusion that we are all harmed by this because it draws many more Americans into “spiritual bypassing”.

    Where is the evidence that these politicians and their most vocal supporters -those that show up- aren’t very active in their communities regarding establishing the means to meet the needs of people most harmed by things like natural disasters? I don’t see any.

    What a strange piece. You should probably just avoid diagnosing large groups of Americans. It’s sloppy and not likely in my opinion to be correct, and will only be well received by those whose favorite tactic in any disagreement is to assume a mental/emotional deficit in their opponent.

    You could always just stick to the facts. We don’t want a government that represents any religion. We don’t want religion dictating to the law. These people are crossing the line and leading many Americans to falsely believe religion has always influenced our laws and government and has only recently been taken out yadda yadda.

  7. Further to my earlier comment, I would just like to say that I’m praying George W Bush makes a swift recovery following his recent heart surgery.

    I’m praying that the stent inserted by the former President’s team of surgeons is not rejected by his immune system.

    I’m praying there are no complications.

    ……

    It’s nice sometimes to know the inefficacy of prayer has been demonstrated.

  8. “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them”. – Barry Goldwater

    • In reply to #13 by Skistimas:

      “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God,…

      That’s a great quote, I’ve never seen it. Have you heard of The Family? Talk about scary and they aren’t hypothetical they have influence with most of the senior republican leaders and lots of dems as well including Hillary Clinton. Their leader holds up Stalin and Hitler as models to emulate and they also have influence around the world including sponsoring a “Kill the gays” law in some African country. There is a book called The Family by a guy who was a member, Jeff Sharlet, its not a fun book to read he’s only a so so writer but what it details is truly frightening. IMO these guys are at least as much of a threat as militant Islam. The crazy Islamic people have a few nuts who will blow themselves up. The Family is getting control of the country that spends apx. as much as the rest of the world combined on its military.

      • In reply to #14 by Red Dog:

        Have you heard of The Family?

        I’ve heard of them. It’s shocking and extremely depressing that people like that have influence over anyone, let alone the people that are running the country.

  9. In a recorded statement released today by her press secretary, Rep. Bachmann offered the following addendum to her endorsement of the controversial National Day of Prayer and Repentance initiative:

    “I’m a victim of soicumstance! Whoop-oop-oop-oop-oop-oop, whoop-oop-oop-oop-oop-oop!”

    Governor Rick Perry (TX) and former Governor Mike Huckabee (ARK) are currently recuperating from eye-gouge and noogie related injuries sustained during a “Beef ‘n Brew” fundraising dinner held at Tea Party national headquarters, and were unavailable for comment.

  10. Politicians are simply salesmen/women. If they didn’t have an audience for this stuff, they would stop saying it. It is not that Rick Perry et al are stupid – far from it, and I wish people would stop saying that – they are simply doing what will get them elected.

    While fundie politicians could be very dangerous if they get any more power, the many branches of atheism must keep undermining faith at voter level. Without the willing support of the voting public, political religiosity will disappear.

    • In reply to #22 by GPWC:

      It is not that Rick Perry et al are stupid – far from it, and I wish people would stop saying that…

      We’ll stop saying it when they stop saying things like this:

      George W. Bush did a incredible job in the presidency, defending us from freedom.

      Source: Rick Perry Quotes

      There isn’t even one study that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.

      The Founding Fathers worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.

      If we took away the minimum wage we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely.

      Source: Michele Bachmann Quotes

      If they’re only pretending to be this dumb, they must be bloody marvelous actors.

      • In reply to #23 by Katy Cordeth:

        Hi Katy,

        If they’re only pretending to be this dumb, they must be bloody marvelous actors.

        Perhaps I should have said they are only salesmen and actors. Politics is after all an art not a science.

  11. Absent from national media but in the same pass-the-buck boat, is Rick Perry’s bff, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback.

    Kansas has just a few blue counties – and even though they’re rich, the red parts of the state outvote them. Last year, the Capitol Commission asked lawmakers to ‘pray over the “dark parts of Kansas” (blue)’. I kid you not.

  12. A Denis Diderot quote seems apt here: “Mankind will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” After that, you get on with the problem-solving for real.

  13. Rick Perry is such a goober. It almost makes me embarrassed to live in Texas. His buddy, Don McLeroy has already destroyed the
    Texas school book choices until 2020. I live in the Hill Country, where I am afraid to put a non-believer sticker on by car. The good Christians would be sure to run a key down the paint.

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