God will fix the Gulf coast

A well-meaning, but perhaps not terribly bright, group of Christians gathered yesterday, along to Gulf coast, to fight the oil washing up on their beaches. Here’s footage from FOX.

And, here, for those of you unwilling to watch the video, is a direct quote from one of the participants:

“We’re not ones to sit there and take it lying down, we’re going to come, and we’re going to fight, and this is the way to do it right here.”

Yup, that’s right. They’re not going to just sit there and take it – they’re going to fight back. And, what, might you ask, are they going to do… Are they going to volunteer to rescue oil-covered animals? Are they going to take BP to court, and demand that they follow through on their promises to see the environmental damage remediated? Are the going to coordinate a boycott against the oil company? Or, better yet, are they going to get rid of their cars altogether? Well, not exactly… Their plan is to fight back through prayer… Here’s a quote from one of the organizers:

“We want God to come down here and remove this oil.”

That’s right – they’re joining hands to summon the mighty sky wizard to come down and set things straight.

I know that they’re well intentioned, and I don’t mean to poke fun, but it boggles my mind how anyone, confronted by the actual facts of the situation, can determine that their best course of action is to call on God to solve the problem for them. I can see how it might have happened thousands of years ago, before the advent of books and the like, but I can’t see how anyone, with even the most remedial understanding of how the world works, could suggest today that the best means of protecting our nation’s shoreline is through prayer.

God, if he does exist, didn’t stop WWII. Why in the world would he intercede now, on behalf of the pelicans and shrimpers?

And it’s not just so much that their efforts won’t work that bothers me. It’s this idea that God exists in order to solve our problems. I’ve said it here before, but it drives me crazy to see how Christianity has evolved to be more of a religion of self-help than of personal sacrifice. It now seems to be all about what God can do for you. And maybe it’s been that way from the start. Maybe no one ever took the teachings of Jesus seriously. Maybe it’s always been fear and a sense that riches might await one in the afterlife that motivated people.

But, back to these people holding hands in the surf, it could be worse. At least they aren’t those Christians who are welcoming the oil spill as a sign of the coming apocalypse, that will usher them into heaven while the rest of us suffer for an eternity in a sea of fire (made possible by BP).

And, speaking of the damage along the Gulf coast, it’s getting worse.

[Thanks to Michael Jackman for bringing this to my attention.]

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  1. Aardvark
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Hey, can we form a prayer line in front of the Deja Vu and ask that it be turned into a community theater, or at least a new, expanded home for Dreamland?

  2. dragon
    Posted June 8, 2010 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    When I was a kid, I used to pray and ask Jesus each night for a shiny new bike. Then I realized that it doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and then asked for forgiveness.

  3. Posted June 8, 2010 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    Uhm… yea. That’s kinda’ frustrating to hear… a mile under the surface oil is exploding out of a broken wellhead and they are praying that God will come down and do what? I mean honestly :P

    Will he hand-operate the robotic arms and finally 100% seal the pipe closed? Snap his fingers and clean up the hundreds of miles of coastland soaking up oil like a sponge?

    I… *shakes head* Maybe getting on the phone and putting some pressure on the Government to see to it that BP does more than it’s current half-assed clean-up effort would be more effective. Just maybe.

  4. Oliva
    Posted June 8, 2010 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Very funny, dragon. (Did you get the forgiveness anyway?) Really good post, Mark. Frustrating/heartrending to be ineffectual as well as to see ineffectual. (Love “mighty sky wizard.”)

  5. Peter Larson
    Posted June 8, 2010 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    People do this kind of shit all the time down there to make themselves feel important.

    No one has told them that they are wasting their time. The End Times are upon us so that it is no longer necessary to do anything. They should go to Vegas.

  6. mSS
    Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    “Maybe getting on the phone and putting some pressure on the Government to see to it that BP does more than it’s current half-assed clean-up effort would be more effective. Just maybe.”

    Maybe, but probably not. Unless you have the number for some special government that isn’t owned by special interests.

  7. Edward
    Posted June 8, 2010 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    At least when the Yippies tried to levitate the Pentagon they were high.

  8. Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Not that I put much stock in Biblical prophesy, but this oil spill could make possible the whole “lake of fire” thing, couldn’t it? Or isn’t oil in this state flammable?

  9. Mark H
    Posted June 8, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    However ineffectual the long line of praying people may be deemed in advance, and it may be an easy thing to poke fun at, I submit the following: These people are at least trying to do something. Most Americans aren’t doing anything about the oil spill, and I imagine that even most Gulf state residents aren’t doing much of anything either. Heck, the Obama administration gave BP the permit for this drilling without seriously examining safety precautions.

    And personally, I think it’d be great if God did come down here and fix the oil problem. I’m not counting on it — and I’m not sure those engaged in this long line of prayer all are either — but it’d be a good thing, right, for God to act as their prayers wish?

    And these prayers aren’t going to do any harm, unlike the BP’s effort to use chemical dispersants underwater.

    And if Obama had political brains, he’d get photographed in this prayer line, and then doing some Reaganesque acts, like lifting sandbags or building breakwalls for the oil. He most certainly needs God’s help.

  10. EOS
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Thanks Mark H.,

    Some profess belief in a God who spoke and created the Universe, but lack the faith to believe that He is able to stop the flow of oil if He wanted. Many believe in a God of last resort, who should be called on only after all human efforts have failed. But God asks us to cast all our burdens on Him and promises to lift us up. Personally, I believe that the flow of oil into the Gulf could not have occurred unless God had allowed it. I think God is more concerned about the filth and vile that is spewing across our land, than He is about the oil. As long as we embrace unrighteousness, slaughter our babies in the womb, and promote activities that God has called an abomination, we cannot expect God to show us favor. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.

  11. Oliva
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    How could I know (or dare to assume), but wouldn’t God want us all to use our potentially magnificent minds and hearts? The “God” invoked by a whole lot of Americans these days sure seems to be a self-serving invention. I think God is into great colors and designs and mechanical abilities, among other marvels. And surely any god would be sickened about the oil causing so much destruction. But what do I know? I am a human being with powers to invent, imagine, believe. But know? Faith is cool, but to mean much it probably ought to be so humble. Faith as a badge that lets some people whack others over the head and heart with dogma doesn’t seem any bit God inspired.

  12. Michael
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    What was Max von Sydow’s line in Hannah and her Sisters?

    “If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”

    Or something like that.

  13. Posted June 9, 2010 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    “Personally, I believe that the flow of oil into the Gulf could not have occurred unless God had allowed it. ”

    Does the same go for 9/11, the holocaust, WWII, etc?

  14. Peter Larson
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    It’s unfortunate that the public perception of the Obama admin’s level of involvement in the oil cleanup would be improved by participating in farcical superstitious rituals. I think that speaks loads as to the intellectual level of a powerful sector of American public. Basically, they think like kindergarten children.

    It reminds me of the scene in King Kong when the islanders have a dance and sacrifice a white woman to their gorilla god.

  15. EOS
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Yes, God is in control. He sometimes allows bad things to happen. He has a purpose that we cannot always see or understand. He is God and I (we) am (are) not.

  16. Michael
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    I snorted out breakfast cereal at “they think like kindergarten children”.

  17. EOS
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
    Luke 10:20-22

  18. EOS
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    1 Corinthians 1:27

    27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

  19. Karen
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    God has more important things to worry about right now, like raising money for Kwame Kilpatrick.


  20. Michael
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Shoot! God is taking care of Kwame? Dang, I already sent my check.

  21. Robert
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Good quotes, EOS. I can assume then that you are absolutely safe from shame.

  22. Iced Tea With Lemon
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    after reading Mark’s comment about the “lake of fire”…I find it funny yet disturbing that in the paper today, BP was talking about possibly trying to burn off some of the oil. EOS…could you possibly walk out there, across the water, and tell them it’s a bad idea?

  23. Robert
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Looks like it would be really easy to get laid down there.

  24. Edward
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Maybe we could sacrifice a virgin to BP.

    Or did we just try that with Gary Coleman?

  25. Anon
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Long time listener first time commenter:

    In times like these where everyone is going nutty, reading a blog like this and the comments from other readers is a breath of fresh air. I’m being dramatic and sappy, but I’m really happy people like you guys exist. As in, people that don’t happily accept tragedies as signs that their curmudgeon god is out to get us all.

    Thanks for the blogging and keep on keeping on!

  26. ROV
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    the undersea robots will fix the oil well, they are our friends

  27. Posted June 9, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, for the most part I really like the community that’s grown up around this site. Thanks for reminding me of that fact, Anon. And please feel free to leave more comments in the future.

  28. dragon
    Posted June 10, 2010 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    Soylent Green is Jesus!

  29. Tommy
    Posted June 10, 2010 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Where is Aquaman when you need him. He could fix this thing with his powers for sure, with some help from the Green Lantern.

  30. Michael
    Posted June 10, 2010 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    MM “For the most part. . .”

    which is code for “except when you guys tell me I look like Kim Jong Il”.

  31. EOS
    Posted July 29, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    The oil has disappeared! PTL


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