Then CNN turned its cameras to live coverage of the 'National Day of Prayer' to pray for the victims of the Katrina disaster.
I have no problem with prayer. I'm Christian. I don't practice my Christianity in a church. If other people like the cameraderie of fellowship and like to pray in churches, I have no problem with it. I think that being Christian is like being anything else - being female - being hispanic - being black - being a Muslim - etc. There will always be a certain component of a given community who are inherently bad. Christianity is not exempted from that truism. I hope, then, that I'm counted as a not-bad Christian.
I have more of a problem with a 'National Day of Prayer' for the victims of the Katrina disaster. Even if you ascribe the best of intentions to the declaration, it's an extremely presumptive designation. It assumes that everyone prays - they don't. It assumes further to tell people that everyone should be praying, that that is the approrpiate way to honor the lives lost from Katrina. Many people are serving the victims of Katrina in ways other than prayer. They're volunteering. They're giving money. They're writing a diary about a victim or a story they heard.
Where I have a HUGE problem is with the declaration of this day of prayer coming from the President of the United States. He did a fancy, formal proclamation to officially recognize today. I can't begin to list on how many levels I find it wrong that this man presumes to inform us that an appropriate way to honor the victims of Katrina is to have a day of prayer because he says so. My physical reaction to that is visceral and deeply resentful.
So, I came up with my OWN prayer that I would have wanted to read on behalf of the victims who died in the aftermath of Katrina. It is styled after the 23rd Psalm:
If Bush is my Shepherd, then all is lost.
He maketh me to lie down in putrid water:
He leadeth me beside the dead bodies.
He breaketh my faith.
He leadeth me only to seek profits, for his name's sake.
Yea, though I cry for mercy in the shadow of death,
I will find no help. For Bush leadeth me.
His indifference and disdain confronts me.
He preparest a table before those who give him money;
And annoistest the chosen with contracts; while my life runneth out.
Surely the goodness and mercy of God will haunt him all the days of his life,
For I, unjustly dying, WILL dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Prayers are personal and that one is mine. I admit more than a small amount of spiritual trepidation at even posting such a knock-off of what has always been a beautiful Psalm... But I think the Presidential proclamation is a far greater affront and warrants that fervent prayer from me.