Prayer will not stop hurricanes.
Say it with me: Prayer will not stop hurricanes. (Prayers won’t counter climate change, either.)
And yet, for many people in Key West, Florida, prayer is the go-to response to natural disasters.
Kay Thomas knows she can’t do much when a hurricane is approaching the Florida Keys.
She can stock up on supplies, evacuate from the island chain, or ride it out like she did during 2017’s Hurricane Irma — which spared her hometown of Key West but severely damaged Keys neighborhoods to the north.
But there is one thing she does at the start of each hurricane season: pray.
Spoiler: It doesn’t help because (wait for it) prayers don’t stop hurricanes.
The article in the Miami Herald is really about how locals place candles outside a church called The Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea. They’ve been doing it since 1922 and no hurricanes have hit the island since then — even when they’ve destroyed other parts of Florida. Naturally, some residents wrongly believe there’s a cause and effect at work.
The most telling part of the article may be this segue:
Still, plenty of Key West residents know from experience that prayers aren’t always enough to keep hurricanes at bay.
Who woulda thunk.
Specifically, some Key West residents who lived in other parts of Florida or Louisiana were plenty religious in the past, but hurricanes destroyed their homes and communities anyway. It’s almost like location, not shout-outs to God, had more to do with where the hurricanes hit. Who knew.
I should point out I don’t actually care if these people want to pray — everyone has their own coping mechanisms. But to delude themselves into thinking God is answering their prayers — by apparently destroying their neighbors’ lives instead of their own — is wishful thinking at best.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)