Weather for ducks and Drakes

According to wingnutdaily a baptist preacher – whose name (Wiley Drake) suggests that he is really a cartoon character – is praying for his god to rain on Obama.

DENVER – The call for prayer for a rainstorm on this city’s football stadium when Sen. Barack Obama delivers his nomination-acceptance speech there next week, dropped by a Focus on the Family Action personality, has been picked up by a former official of the Southern Baptist Convention. (from wingnut World net daily)

(The pastor’s worldview is almost glorious in the depths of its craziness. The logic seems to be:
Beg hard enough and the “creator of the universe” will take the side of the political party you support.

Despite believing that he’s asking for help from a being who commands the power of the universe, Drake doesn’t ask his deity to relegate Obama to the Delta Quadrant or turn him into a snail.

No, Drake asks his god to use his supposedly infinite power just to make Obama’s supporters bring umbrellas. What? Call that smiting? How unambitious is that?

I foresee a bit of danger here for the Wiley Drake. Surely, if god expresses his political views through the weather, a sunny day would show that the maker of the Universe actually supports Obama?)

Wiley, as it happens, your prayers were answered, but your inept rain-god missed and smited the UK with the biblical rain instead. Call off the hallelulahs now, please. We don’t even have a vote in your election. The UK “summer” is traditionally shit, but, for the past few years, it would be more accurate to just refer to it as the “rainy season.” (Except that every other season could already lay good claim to the title.) Northern Ireland was the most recent place on these islands to undergo widespread flooding.

The people who first called for this action were Focus on the Family. They’ve now claimed their call for torrential rain was “mildly humorous”. I love the novel use of the word “mildly” when accuracy might have demanded the use of “not at all.”

Drake, an activist who has been targeted by opponents of his Christian ministry for using his own radio program to discuss moral issues in the public arena, said he was saddened to see Focus pull the video………
“I, too, am still against killing babies and allowing sodomites to marry. Anyone wishing to join those of us who believe in imprecatory prayer (for divine justice) are invited to join,” he said. (same impeccable source)

“Imprecatory prayer?” That’s just pastor jargon for cursing.* Obviously, the word “moral” is also being used in some new counter-intuitive sense.

Luckily for any Democrats who might forget to bring raincoats or umbrellas to Obama’s Denver acceptance speech, cursing is no more effective than praying…..

The BBC has a direct line straight to the mind of the weather god. They’ve published a Denver prophecy that 3 of the next five days will be sunny and two will be rainy. However, the omens aren’t clear enough for the BBC’s chief weather-augur to predict more than 5 days ahead.

Demconwatch have an even better prophecy – better in that it refers to the actual date of the nomination-acceptance, if I’m interpreting it rightly. And that prophecy is for really good weather.

* Don’t just take my word for it. The free online dictionary defines “imprecatory” as the adjectival form of :

im·pre·cate (mpr-kt) tr.v. im·pre·cat·ed, im·pre·cat·ing, im·pre·cates
To invoke evil upon; curse.

Biblical rain and Gods

As a mild, but boring – hence homeopathic – antidote to boredom, you can look in Wikipedia to find out what saints are attributed to any given day. (Today there is a preponderance of German saints, for example. Plus, it was Haile Selassie’s birthday.)

Somewhat appropriately, given the recent Biblical-style rain and floods – nay, Floods – experienced in parts of the UK, China and USA, today also appears to be the date of the Roman Nepturnalia – celebrations for Neptune (the Roman sea god, do keep up.)

While we are increasingly being brought to face the reality of climate instability, there are enough people willing to try to influence the weather by ritual means that the devotees of Neptune could fit right in unnoticed.

This was a really great news item and photo. As an inspired publicity stunt for the new Simpsons movie, a giant cartoon Homer, holding aloft a doughnut, was drawn next to the Cerne Abbas giant.

Rent-a-pagans were quick to get in on the story, for the sidestream publicity benefits. (They’ve got a district manager. They must need a serious revenue stream.)

Ann Bryn-Evans, joint Wessex district manager for The Pagan Federation, said: “We were hoping for some dry weather but I think I have changed my mind.
“We’ll be doing some rain magic to bring the rain and wash it away.”
She added: “I’m amazed they got permission to do something so ridiculous. It’s an area of scientific interest.”

(Yes, people who claim to believe that they can influence the weather by their magical actions are saying that the giant Homer is ridiculous.)

Well I think they can claim overkill success on this one. Although praying for rain in the current UK is like praying for continuing war in Iraq. I.e. your prayers are answered before you’ve got the first words out.

Most people who aren’t Native Americans might feel that conducting communal rituals to influence the movement of clouds and air and water is just an example of doing something/anything to feel less pathetically weak against forces that are more powerful than us by several orders of magnitude. It’s not likely that massive air masses are going to be swayed by a good ululation. It might make you feel better, but only if you suspend rationality.

(It’s obviously still more rational than praying for interference by the creator of the universe though. If there were such a being, and s/he shared human thinking processes about guilt or innocence, we’d be pretty far down the deserving-a-miracle list, having brought this on ourselves, despite having the Free Will gift. There must be beings in Alpha Centauri facing going down a galactic plughole to worry about first.)

The rational response to climate chaos is to change our lifestyles, en masse, at a social level and hope it’s not too late. Well, that doesn’t appear to be going to happen does it?

Well, Plan A, then. Pay loads of lipservice to the issue. Come up with “ecological” solutions that create new products for us to consume and new waste mountains. Devise carbon crediting ideas that noone can understand and that actually reward countries with ancient forests for ripping them down and replacing them with fresh young trees. Solutions that monetise everything then treat money as the key to the solution, so that the poor end up paying the most anyway.

This will let our societies carry on spending our resources like a drunken sailor in a new port, with 6 month’s pay and a terminal illness. As if none of us really expect to have any great-grandchildren. Bit of a short-term solution though.

In the meantime, better put either or both of Plans B and C into operation then. You start believing there’s a needy and insecure but easily-pissed off human being that’s bigger and stronger than the earth’s atmosphere who can smite it into submission or will beam us all up to heaven if you are just adequately sycophantic. I’ll start knocking up a really big boat and collecting a couple of samples of any life that come within my reach. It’s worked before, allegedly.