Sunday, May 07, 2006

Freethinker Sunday Sermonette: don't pray for this man

Now we know what the problem is.

In a Sunday Sermonette a month ago we took notice of a study in The American Heart Journal on the efficacy of "intercessory prayer" by strangers. Patients undergoing by-pass surgery were randomly assigned to "not prayed for by strangers" and "prayed for by strangers" groups, the latter divided between those who knew they were being prayed for and those who only knew they might be prayed for. Neither of the "prayed for" groups did better than the "not prayed for" group, but the group who knew they were being prayed for by others did significantly worse.

Maybe this explains why George Bush is doing so badly:
Bowing his head many times as Christian and Jewish leaders offered prayers, the president thanked those who pray for him, calling it the greatest gift a citizen can offer him.

"In my travels across the great land, a comment that I hear often from our fellow citizens is, `Mr. President, I pray for you and your family.' It's amazing how many times a total stranger walks up and says that to me," Bush said. "You'd think they'd say, `How about the bridge?' Or, `How about filling the potholes?' No, they say, `I've come to tell you I pray for you, Mr. President'." (AP)
This admission of an incompetency risk factor was made at a meeting Thursday celebrating National Day of Prayer (I missed it, unfortunately; too busy blaspheming here on the blog).

The Prayed-For-in-Chief also expelled this thought: America's history is inexorably tied to prayer:
"America is a nation of prayer. It's impossible to tell the story of our nation without telling the story of people who pray," Bush said during a White House celebration of the National Day of Prayer. "At decisive moments in our history and in quiet times around family tables, we are a people humbled and strengthened and blessed by prayer."
This doesn't even make any sense. To say it's impossible to tell the nation's story without telling the story of people who pray means about as much as saying you can't tell the nation's story without telling the story of people who pee or who cheat or who do evil things or go to movies. It is true that people will sometimes turn to prayer in times of stress (how often we don't know). They also turn to violence or alcohol or drugs. People cope in different ways.

Anyway, stop praying for this man. The country can't afford for him to do even worse.