so much for the separation of chuch and state in ypsilanti

From the “Ann Arbor News:

An Ypsilanti City Council member is calling for residents to join in a national day of prayer Thursday, in part because the city could use some divine blessing to help it through its current financial struggles.

“I just believe it’s time for a prayer,” said Council Member Lois Richardson, D- Ward 1. “We need direction from the Lord”…

And, for the record, you were warned.

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  1. schutzman
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Well, considering the location of the event/stunt, maybe they’ll be trying to pray the broken tiles back onto the chandler fountain.

    If so, then I guess we can sort of look at Lois Richardson as “Ypsilanti’s answer to David Blaine”, much as I’ve always regarded Jesus as “Jerusalem’s answer to Doug Henning.”

    On a much more serious note, I would be remiss in my duties as a minister if I didn’t remind the local subgenii that “Prayer” is a VERY dangerous activity to engage in, due to the fact that you never really know “what” might be listening in.

  2. brian r
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Blame this on the Ann Arbor News.

    If the article had read, “An Ypsilanti ordained minister is calling for residents to join in a national day of prayer Thursday, in part because the city could use some divine blessing to help it through its current financial struggles,” would this sound so nefarious?

    When John Edwards recently gave a public prayer for the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings “in Christ’s name,” did anyone think this was a move closer to a theocracy? Or was it that Mr. Edwards, who just so happens to be running for president, was calling for prayer?

    Ms. Richardson, who also happens to be a City Council member, is calling for prayer.

    The governors from all 50 states and several US territories have proclaimed the National Day of Prayer within their jurisdictions. I’m not quite sure why the Ypsilanti City Council needed to follow suit considering Governor Granholm did it for us. I suppose our resolution may make the prayer more powerful.

    How’s that for a cop-out?

  3. schutzman
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    I love all the american traditions that started in the middle of the communist witch hunts.

    one christian nation, under god, in this specific patriarchal god we trust, better dead than red, praise the lord, pass the ammunition, amen.

  4. brian r
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    The first day of prayer was declared in 1775 when the Continental Congress “designated a time for prayer in forming a new nation.”

    Truman signed a bill into law later as payment to his god for coming through with the A-bomb.

  5. schutzman
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    well, this begins to get muddled, but any prayer that the founding fathers endorsed would have been to their very vaguely defined, deistic, ‘watchmaker’ god, preferably while they were wearing masonic aprons.

    anything the feds did in the 50’s, though, is exclusively christian in nature, as a way to metaphysicaly distance ourselves from the godless commies. Since this “Day of Prayer” traces its roots to 1952, I’d classify it by the latter definiton.

    And, I think as mark said in the previous post, this matter of prayer wasn’t just discussed by richardson as a woman of the cloth, but did get air time at an actual city council meeting, hence the point of contention.

    I don’t personally think that the majority of people believe in god, but i do think that most people want everyone else to think that they do, hence the bible-thumping politicos, and the fact that while america will probably eventually elect a president who isn’t a white male, it’s very doubtful that they’ll ever elect someone who openly says they’re an atheist.

  6. Dirtgrain
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    One of our leaders is admitting that she cannot provide us with direction? If you can’t figure out what to do, then find someone who can. Yikes that she chose prayer. Let’s boot her out of office and find someone who can use wisdom and logic to guide us–or at least be resourceful in seeking guidance from experts instead of taking the easy (and unfruitful) way out by resorting to prayer.

    Is she getting replies from God when she prays? Will the “direction from the Lord” be engraved on stone tablets?

    Can we get the Spaghetti Monster on the city council agenda?

  7. brian r
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    It must be pointed out that Council was very careful as not to endorse a particular god. I was promoting Sun Ra, but everyone thought I was referencing the Egyptian god of the Sun when I was actually in favor of the innovative jazz composer / leader of The Arkestra i.e. Herman Poole Blount.

  8. It's Skinner Again
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I still don’t understand why government, either local or national, needs to tell us when or what to pray. We have no shortage of clergy; isn’t that their job?

    As I recall, our founding fathers were divided on days of prayer: some thought it was okay, some thought it was inappropriate. I think Washington was in the former camp, and Madison in the latter, though I might have remembered wrong.

  9. Posted May 1, 2007 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Ahh, whatever. We probably need it.

  10. mark
    Posted May 1, 2007 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    I think that it’s a stretch to suggest that Lois meant “Lord” in any kind of inclusive way that took non-Christian dieties into account.

    And, if you don’t find it offensive, try reading her quote again, only replace Xenu or Satan for Lord.

    And, I don’t have a problem with someone like Edwards bringing up his religious beliefs. It’s part of who he is. I just don’t want to see any religion legislated. A “day of prayer”, to me, crosses the line.

    And what ever happened to praying at home, in private? Why is it that we feel the need to worship publicly, as though others are watching us?

  11. edweird
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    “Jesus as “Jerusalem’s answer to Doug Henning.” I nearly hosed my Powerbook with hot tea. Schutzman you are one funny mofo.

    I think showing up in a full pirate outfit at this prayer thingy would likely be most appropiate. But seriously, if she doesn’t have anything else to offer in the way of ideas than prayer, she needs to go. Prayer is a cop-out that basically says, “I can’t figure this out so I’m gonna pass the problem off to my invisible friend.”

  12. Dirtgrain
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    “And what ever happened to praying at home, in private? Why is it that we feel the need to worship publicly, as though others are watching us?”

    That is because God is probably not listening, in which case, a surogate audience will do. Plus, they will not feel nearly so awkward when they realize that others are doing the same stupid thing that they are doing. I’m not trying to say that prayer is stupid in general–but praying for God to give Ypsilanti direction? Please. If he’s going to be granting wishes, then why not pray for world peace, an end to starvation, disease and poverty, and the preservation of our environment for future generations?

    I find it a bit selfish for people to focus their prayers on localized gain and favoritism, as if God should take special interest in Ypsilanti and overlook problems elsewhere. Are Ypsilantians the new-world chosen ones? Feh.

  13. brian r
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I think you guys are totally missing the point.

    The President declared it a day of prayer. The Governor declared it a day of prayer. Ypsilanti City Council declared it a day of prayer.

    That’s triple the prayer power. Unfortunately, I don’t know if it’s an arithmetic or geometric increase in prayer power.

    Regardless, I am so praying for a pony. You gotta admit, the odds are in my favor.

  14. It's Skinner Again
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Actually, it probably weakens the prayer. Usually, prayer is remarkably ineffective; government prayer must be even worse.

    There must be a better way to get that pony.

  15. murph
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    brian r – if you can’t even keep backyard chickens in the City, what makes you think a pony is going to fly?

    (If you’re going to pray for a pony, may as well pray for a flying pony…)

  16. schutzman
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Following your logic, brian r, one must conclude that it was pretty silly for ypsilanti and washtenaw county to vote the way they did on the sexual orientation anti-discrimination ordinance, as well as the gay marriage amendment to the michigan constitution, when the rest of the state and the rest of the country was voting the other way.

    i mean, if all the other kids are doing it, then shouldn’t we?

  17. dr. teddy glass
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I for one would feel incredibly guilty if Jesus came back to earth to focus on the problems on Ypsilanti. Can you imagine how much we’d be hated by everyone in the middle east then?

  18. dr. teddy glass
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Wait, I just remembered, we already have three Jesi. Or at least we had them at one time. Surely there must be at least one left.

  19. brian r
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I’d say I’m being consistent. Because the State proclaimed prayer day, the City didn’t have to. But because we did, think of it as a powerup a la Super Mario Brothers.

    I would also say government prayer is not less effective, but rather less efficient. Whereas an organization like the 4H might only require a couple passages from a holy book in order to make their wishes come true, government might require an entire novena.

    Finally, in the late 80s / early 90s, a City resident on Oak Street did keep a minature pony. They would bring it inside during the winter. Rumor is that its ghost haunts the alley near Maple Court, but I just think it’s raccoons or badgers knocking over garbage cans.

  20. egpenet
    Posted May 2, 2007 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Dear Dr. Glass:

    I think the hospital released those threeee guys and one was elected President a few years past. The other is head of the World Bank. And the third spends his time putting up Ten Commandment monuments at State Capitol buildings.

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