The Response: Governor Rick Perry and the ignorant and pathetic "action" of the Faith Based.
It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention, that early birds tend to get the most, and the most succulent worms, and that the sun doesn't shine on a sleeping dog's ass (though this latter metaphor has never made much sense to me as an inducement to action). The meaning is quite clear. Solutions will not come to you, out of the blue. What is required, is effort, thought, reason, cooperation and more effort when the first thoughts, and the first efforts don't succeed. The ridiculous governor of Texas, Rick Perry has decided to forfeit all of his faculties (as well as yours and mine), and probably half the virtues to which he would surely pay lip service, in favor of the clear blue bolt from above in the form of a call to prayer and fasting in his too often benighted state. This marks him as either irredeemably stupid, or irredeemably cynical and dishonest. In either case we in the electorate are well with in our right to treat his proposal, his administration, and indeed he himself with contempt, scorn and dismissal. He has proposed a child's solution and in effect, excused himself from
any discourse dominated by adults. His fellow travelers on the road to the intellectual backwater from which Governor Perry beckons (either earnestly or cynically) should feel free to join him there. I am, perhaps, getting a bit ahead of myself.
Governor Rick Perry has rightly identified that we are a nation facing profound difficulties. His proposed solution to these very real difficulties though leaves a great deal to be desired. This solution is something rather inaccurately called The Response. It amounts to a day a prayer and fasting wherein the attendees will prostrate themselves before a very specific god, and in very sectarian terms pray to that God, his son, and, one supposes, a holy ghost for solutions, revival and other miraculous nonsense.
Why don't I let Perry and his people explain it:
On August 6, the nation will come together at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas for a solemn gathering of prayer and fasting for our country.
We believe that America is in a state of crisis. Not just politically, financially or morally, but because we are a nation that has not honored God in our successes or humbly called on Him in our struggles.
According to the Bible, the answer to a nation in such crisis is to gather in humility and repentance and ask God to intervene. The Response will be a historic gathering of people from across the nation to pray and fast for America.
This drivel is regurgitated on the same page (which can be found by clicking on the title of this blog).
Right now, America is in crisis: we have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy.
Some problems are beyond our power to solve, and according to the Book of Joel, Chapter 2, this historic hour demands a historic response. Therefore, on August 6, thousands will gather to pray for a historic breakthrough for our country and a renewed sense of moral purpose.
I sincerely hope you’ll join me in Houston on August 6th and take your place in Reliant Stadium with praying people asking God’s forgiveness, wisdom and provision for our state and nation. There is hope for America. It lies in heaven, and we will find it on our knees.
And that from the feckless mouth of the governor of Texas in the year 2011. To hear this idiot tell it, one would think that our country had never before been attacked by an enemy, or been molested by nature or faced stark economic difficulties. It is a wonder our republic ever made it beyond its own revolution, led as it was by so very many deists, freethinkers, and secularists. Since history clearly demonstrates that the United States has in fact had to deal with all of these hardships, and more perhaps that history of action, and resourcefulness might be a better guide than getting on our knees and talking to an imaginary friend? Governor Perry is certainly correct when he suggests that there is hope for America. That hope however lies in the resourcefulness, foresight and genius of its people. It will not be found in the grim species of fatalism that is at the heart of Perry's fatuous Response.
For all the talk on The Response website of the dire need for the nation to come together its message is completely sectarian, and as such strictly divisive. It alienates the Nation's fastest growing demographic (unbelievers and those who claim no organized religion) as well as the nation's Buddhists, its Hindus, its Muslims, its Wiccans, not to mention its numerous sects of Christianity that do not comport with the version of Christianity favored by Perry and his fundamentalists. So much for unity.
I would urge you to read the Why section found at their website. It is too long to dissect at the moment but I will highlight two points that I think are salient.
1. Humility and humbleness are not qualities a group or a person can be said to have when those groups or people compare themselves to saints, or insinuate special importance to the author of the Universe. Consider the following as just one bit of evidence: "The call of God to His people in times of great trouble is to gather together and call on Him with one voice, one heart, and a unified desire to see great blessing and great glory come to our nation again. The power of unified prayer from a humble gathering of the saints is found in the hope that He might answer us, and turn the tide of trouble and threats that stand against us."
2. The entire enterprise is soaked with at least a mild desire for State support of a very specific religion. It quotes the book of Joel wherein the people of Israel were commanded to stop everything they were doing and pray, and fast. The authors of the website do not seem bothered by this decidedly un-American compulsion to pray, and act in a manner that violates their conscience. The Why section also offers many foolish precedents for National, that is to say, government calls to prayer. Clearly Perry wants his August 6 to be Nationally recognized, and thus he stands against the very freedoms he drones on about. This is of course me accusing him of being anti-American. This he must be because his desires clearly, and certainly conflict with the non-establishment clause of the US Constitution.
Texans you have better things to do on August 6. And to the numerous politicians that Perry has invited to join him on the sixth: You also have better things to do with your time, and mine and that of your various constituencies besides wasting it by attending a meeting of grown children. The good news, if I may be indelicate, is this...some of those better things can be done on your knees.
For more background, do click on the links. It probably won't hurt you, but it may make you mad. And for a sharp critique, vastly more succinct than my own, do check out what the physicist Lawrence Krauss, director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University had to say.
Here is what the Response believes:
What does The Response believe?
The Response is a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting and has adopted the American Family Association statement of faith.
1.We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
2.We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
3.We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
4.We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
5.We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
6.We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
7.We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Given the pluralistic nature of our country it is difficult to see how such a credo could improve nationalunity.