Tuesday, February 24, 2004

The Presidential Prayer Team

Do you belong to it? Is it real or a joke? I'm still not sure, but this article about the presidential prayer team is excellent. A short excerpt:

I was praying in private until someone got the bright idea of starting a Presidential Prayer Team. If you sign up on the Internet--no fee required--you get a sticker that shows George Washington genuflecting, his head bowed, his hat in hand. Each week members receive an e-mail detailing the difficulties the President must deal with that week so that they can pray for heavenly guidance. After all, scientific studies have shown that prayer helps those who are ill to heal even when they don’t know that people are praying for them! (What kind of a control group did they use for this study, I wonder?)

So I signed up and the e-mails started coming. They asked for God’s blessings on Bush and various members of Congress. (Heaven knows they need our prayers: 435 people who can’t agree on what to put on a pizza are making decisions for our whole country!) They prayed for the debut of Mel Gibson’s controversial film on Jesus Christ, and for the end of "unlawful unions" taking place between same-sex couples in San Francisco, though I can’t imagine what either of those issues have to do with the presidency. They offer weekly prayers for the members of the president’s cabinet and the Supreme Court. So I looked again: All of the names mentioned are _Republican_ members of the government. How odd. If I were a conservative, I think I’d be praying to change some liberal minds.

What America do the founders of the Presidential Prayer Team live in? It doesn’t look like my America. Where I live, there are people living on the streets. In winter, they are forced by the cold into emergency shelters. There are more food banks than ever and greater contributions than in the past but they still run short. Seniors buy their drugs from Canada; they used to buy them from Mexico before the U.S. government forbade us to buy them there. So much for NAFTA. Women on welfare have no childcare and few choices. I’ve never seen them mentioned as recipients of the Presidential Prayer Team rogations

Do read the whole thing.