Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is looking for a little divine intervention — and she’s willing to use the power of the governorship to get it.† In the midst of a record heat wave and drought, she’s sanctioning a statewide day of prayer, asking for God to let the waters fall.
It’s yet another example of political figures using their elected offices to legitimize and sanctify religious activities, hoping that a direct line to a deity’s ear might fix problems the elected official believes is simply beyond his or her control. Just recently, a Pennsylvania mayor held a three day prayer fest meant to help the city look for guidance on how to better cooperate and solve their problems.† And of course Texas Governor Rick Perry will throw a prayer session for pretty much anything — from rain to possible conversions.†† Florida Governor Rick Scott said he was praying for rain last month, although he didn’t launch an actual public event in order harness the power of prayer.
But does advocating prayer as an answer, and requesting public support, violate the ideas of the separation of church and state?† It may become a bigger question as more and more leaders are turning to prayer as a first line of defense in the face of trying times.
And, although it may be happening with much more frequency, rain-prayer, even pushed by the state government, isn’t entirely a new thing.† In 2007, Governor Sonny Perdue of Georgia brought 100 people to the capital to “…very reverently and respectfully pray up a storm,” as he put it.
I guess when state governments are looking at such dire budgetary shortfalls, prayer is much more fiscally responsible than seeding clouds.
photo credit: Sakurai Midori