As I write this, the Republican National Convention is in full swing after only a day’s delay from Isaac, who realized that Tampa was full of Republicans, said “screw that” and sidled on down the coast. I’ll bet you’re thinking that Isaac changed directions due to winds in the upper atmosphere.
Well, you’re wrong, at least according to Florida pastor Jesten Peters. Peters is taking the credit for the storm not hitting the RNC, and giddily stated that her prayer group, “Pray Tampa Bay” had been praying that the storm would move away from Tampa. Just think, the entire RNC could have been canceled if it hadn’t been for Peters. Instead, thanks to her and her prayer group, New Orleans was hit with the brunt of the storm.
I don’t mean to be rude, Jesten, but your prayer was kind of douchey. Couldn’t you have used your amazing prayer power to move the storm back out to sea, or maybe have it completely dissipate? Don’t be surprised that when the people in New Orleans start pointing their fingers at you, they’re doing so with their middle fingers. Are you going to pay for all the storm damages they incurred? Keep in mind that if you deny responsibility, you’re going to have to admit that your prayer group had jack-all to do with where Isaac decided to land.
Of course, if Isaac would have stayed on its original course and slammed into Tampa Bay, Peters probably wouldn’t have admitted that her prayer wasn’t answered; she would have said that it was answered with a “No.” Christians often ignore that part about Jesus saying ask and it shall be given you, and instead say that there are three answers to prayer: yes, no or wait. Well, that’s sure convenient, and, coincidentally, the exact answers you would get if you didn’t pray. Also, if you don’t pray, you don’t have to come up with excuses as to why your deity of choice didn’t give you that job or new car, or why he let your pet sea monkey, Delbert, die. You can just face life as it is and realize that sometimes life is a pretty cool dude, and other times life is a miserable bastard that likes to poke us in the eye.
It seems a bit suspect to me that an omnipotent being plays favorites and would rather New Orleans be hit by a hurricane than Tampa Bay. Why do the people of New Orleans deserve to suffer through another hurricane? Christians give the excuse that where a hurricane hits and people suffering are all part of God’s plan, and that we shouldn’t question that plan. Not to be dense, but if God has a plan, why pray for anything at all? Are you trying to get him to change his mind? If so, isn’t it just a tad egotistical to think that you can manipulate a supposedly all powerful deity?
You may think I’m a depraved heathen because I don’t believe that prayer works, and you’re probably right. There is hope for me, though. I promise I will believe in prayer if any of the following would occur after someone prayed for it:
• An amputee has their leg grow back
• A bullet wound instantly heals itself
• A flat tire inflates, on its own
• A dead person comes back to life
• My refrigerator starts automatically cleaning itself out. (I pray for that one a lot.)
Of course, people might say that I’m asking for the impossible, but if that’s the case, then whatever deity is supposed to be answering prayers must not be all that potent.
While I’m waiting for any of the above to happen, I’ll remain happily skeptical about prayer, and unhappily continue cleaning out the fridge.
Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org