Nebraska Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts has signed a proclamation declaring April 7, this Sunday, as a “Statewide Day of Prayer.”
That in itself isn’t unusual — governors frequently sign proclamations at the request of special interest groups, including pro-science “Day of Reason” ones — but the wording of this proclamation is still disturbing because it suggests prayer can be a useful response to the very real problems in the state.
WHEREAS, Nebraska is suffering from an unprecedented disaster caused by blizzard conditions, widespread flooding, and high winds, which has profoundly affected the livelihoods and living conditions of our fellow citizens…
WHEREAS, it seems right and fitting that the citizens of Nebraska are urged to pray for the well-being of our fellow citizens and our State, to pray for all those in other states who are hurt by this disaster, to pray for those who are working to respond to this crisis, and to pray for all recovery efforts.
THEREFORE, I Pete Ricketts, Governor of the State of Nebraska, DO HEREBY PROCLAIM the 7th day of April, 2019 as
STATEWIDE DAY OF PRAYER
in Nebraska, and I do hereby encourage individuals to pray on their own or with others, according to their own faith, in an expression of faith and hope.
It’s telling that Ricketts sees prayer as a potential response to all the suffering caused by the horrible weather while he remains a climate denier. If you don’t accept the science of climate change, then you’ll never consider reasonable responses to address it, and you’ll resort to magical thinking as the only option.
Leave it to religious people to ask God for relief after a natural disaster they also believe God caused…
The problem isn’t just that Ricketts is signing off on prayer as a response. It’s that he’s encouraging it as if it’s the most helpful response. To paraphrase the old saying, two hands working can do far more than thousands clasped in prayer.
In his press release, Ricketts urges citizens to volunteer with groups assisting with recovery efforts, but the proclamation itself says nothing about volunteering until the very end, when he asks citizens to “donate their time, skills, and resources to serve their neighbors.”
That’s all well and good, but that should be the heart of the proclamation, not an afterthought.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Mathias for the link)