Politics and Religion

Can Prayer Survive George W. Bush?

By Robert C. Keating, Editor

April, 2006--The largest study ever conducted on the therapeutic power of prayer by strangers, published in the American Heart Journal, has found that prayer provided no benefit to the recovery of patients who had undergone cardiac bypass surgery.

In a $2.5 million study conducted at six U.S. medical centers, 1,800 patients were divided into three groups: 

  1. those who were told someone was praying for them
  2. those who were told only that someone might pray for them and got prayers
  3. those who were told someone might pray for them but received no prayers. 


About 65% of the patients said they strongly believed in the power of prayer. 


The results showed:


The study was funded primarily by the John Templeton Foundation, a group based in Pennsylvania that encourages the study of spirituality and science, according to the L.A. Times. It "was designed as a randomized and blinded trial, meaning that most patients did not know whether someone was praying for them or not. Such trials are considered the gold standard for scientific proof."¹


In summary, at least for the study's believers, prayer doesn’t work. Others reject scientific attempts to assess prayer's powers.


The study came to mind at the 2006 Easter Sunrise Service in the Hollywood Bowl, when the preacher asked everyone to pray for “wisdom for the President.” One felt like a Doubting Thomas, sitting in the cold grey dawn and contemplating how many congregations across the U.S. and abroad were praying for the same thing—“wisdom for the President,” “God’s guidance for the President,” and the like...and contemplating how many congregations had prayed for the same thing on every one of the 250+ Sundays since Bush’s inauguration…and how many individuals had been making the same reasonable request every day in their prayers. 


Millions and millions of prayers have surely asked for wisdom for the President. With all of them, when might we see some results? 


It seems like everyone might as well be praying for cardiac patients we don’t know. But what are we supposed to do, give up?


This was a disconcerting enough thought pattern to be having at an Easter sunrise service, but a glance at the Sunday funny pages afterwards only made it worse. Doonesbury² featured the latest “Bushisms”—actual quotes by the President for whose wisdom we had just prayed: 


            “I think we are welcomed.  But it was not a peaceful welcome.”

                        --Dec. 12, 2005 on U.S. forces in Iraq


            “We look forward to hearing your vision, so we can more better do our job.”

                        --Sept. 20, 2005 in Gulfport, Miss.


            ”I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep on the soil of a friend.”

                        --June 29, 2005 on Denmark


“He was a state sponsor of terror.  In other words, the government had declared, you are a state sponsor of terror.”

            --Jan. 23, 2006 on Saddam Hussein


“You took an oath to defend our flag and our freedom, and you kept that oath underseas and under fire.”

            --Jan. 10, 2006 to U.S. troops


This was a follow-up to the “Bushisms” that appeared in Doonesbury June 12, 2005³:


“Too many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all over the country.”

            --September 6, 2004


”After all, Europe is America’s closest ally.”

            --February 22, 2005


“Free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat.”

            --September 17, 2004


“September the 4th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the twin towers.  It’s a day I will never forget.”

            --October 18, 2004


“That’s why I went to Congress last September and proposed fundamental, supplemental funding, which is for armor and body parts.”    
            --September 4, 2004


“We are in no way, shape, or form should a human being, play God.”

            --January 14, 2005


And the most accurate “Bushism”:


“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we.  They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

            --August 5, 2004


Once more, with feeling... Lord, deliver us from evil.  Amen. 


¹ L.A. Times, March 31, 2006, Denise Gellene and Thomas H. Maugh II

² Garry Trudeau, Doonesbury, L.A. Times, April 16, 2006

³ Garry Trudeau, Doonesbury, L.A. Times, June 12, 2005

© 2006 Most Corrupt.com





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