Hurricane Relief Needs People Power, Not Prayer

“Hands That Help Are Better Far than Lips That Pray”

As usual, God gets the credit, never the blame.

Statement by Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-President, Freedom From Religion Foundation

Is anything more useless than prayer in the face of a catastrophe? Prayers certainly didn’t stop Hurricane Katrina. Yet Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco is beseeching all Louisianans to pray today.

Is it appropriate for Gov. Blanco to use her civil, secular office to ask “that all of Louisiana take some time Wednesday to pray”?

As usual, God gets the credit–even for a catastrophe dubbed an “act of God”–but never gets the blame.

How can typical Christians reconcile their belief that their god is all-good and all-powerful with the heartbreaking scenes of devastation being telecast from Louisiana and Mississippi? Where was their god?

Where was their god when Hurricane Katrina made landfall? Their omnipotent god was certainly conspicuously absent when two levees broke yesterday, submerging the city of New Orleans.

Supernatural power isn’t cleaning up, getting rescue boats to the desperate stranded, providing clean drinking water and food to the thirsty and hungry, turning back on the lights, or housing the hundreds of thousands of homeless throughout the South.

Even Gov. Blanco knows it will take people power to do all this. In her prayer proclamation she noted she “will also thank God for the strong and resilient people of this state and how they are working to meet this challenge.” Why not praise people directly, instead of a useless, no-show deity?

The 19th century’s most famous agnostic, Col. Robert Green Ingersoll, had it right when he observed: “The hands that help are better far than lips that pray.”

Louisiana, Mississippi and other states need human help, now. The nonprofit Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent a $1,000.00 donation to the secular Red Cross, earmarked for Hurricane Katrina relief. We urge the public and our membership who can afford to help to donate to secular, bonafide charities that will get speedy, practical help to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

American Red Cross 2005 Hurricane Season Relief
PO Box 97089
Washington DC 20090-7089

To read Governor Blanco’s Day of Prayer Pronouncement:

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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