Ladies and Gentlemen, your attention please for a special announcement:
There is no question that our nation has some difficulties -- we got through the debt ceiling (kind of), we have sharp divisions in our political parties, we have wars overseas, we have a laboring economy at home. Turning on CNN or FOX or MSNBC or even Comedy Central has become a bit depressing lately.
But Texas Governor Rick Perry has potentially found a solution for this. Governor Perry has proclaimed this Saturday, August 6, to be a "Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation to seek God's guidance and wisdom in addressing the challenges that face our communities, states, and our nation." (See http://governor.state.tx.us/... for the press release from the Governor's office.) That's right, a group of people will be coming together at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, to spend a day in prayer to seek God's help for America.
I thought this was a heck of an idea. I was so pleased to hear of it that I decided to just pass over the fact that as the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry doesn't have the authority to declare a National Day of Tiddlywinks, let alone such a grand undertaking as this. Truly, this could be a monumental occasion -- people of all faiths coming together to offer up their version of hope to a Higher Power, people joining with one another across all divisions of party or race or faith in order to move toward a higher purpose -- if this thing works it could do more for religious tolerance in this nation than anything else in my recent memory.
I mean, look at the potential. Democrats are invited. Republicans are invited. Catholics are invited. Lutherans are invited. Jews are invited. Baptists are invited. Blacks are invited. Muslims are invited. Whites are invited. Hindus are invited.
Oh, wait, sorry -- this just in -- Hindus are not invited, after all. Well, that's unfortunate, but I suppose we have to recognize that there really aren't that many Hindus in America, anyway. Still, for everyone else to get together and offer prayers --
Wait. Sorry, I have to cut in again here: Muslims, you're not invited, either. I'm sorry to have misled you, I really thought it would be a nice gesture after all the political hoopla surrounding your faith lately, like attempts to outlaw Sharia law, but sorry, you're not invited. It seems as though Governor Perry is going with a more Judeo-Christian thing. I'm really sorry, but --
Wait, really? No Jews, either? Ladies and gentlemen, I'm really embarrassed to inform you that in addition to prohibiting Hindus and Muslims, Jews will not be invited to the Day of Prayer and Fasting, either. Turns out, neither will Buddhists. Taoists -- sorry, you're out of luck. Atheists -- you're not invited. Agnostics -- we can't be certain if you're invited or if you aren't. So, to recap -- there will be a Day of Prayer and Fasting, but only if you happen to be Christian. While Governor Perry seems concerned about the state of the nation, he apparently feels as though the issues facing our nation will be better served if only Christians seek help from God at this time.
So, please forget that whole business I said about how this could do wonders for religious tolerance in this nation, because I was wrong. This is instead an exclusionary meeting, because it seems as though Rick Perry might believe he knows God better than you or I do. The Christian-only event will once again be a day of prayer and fasting, so that the Christians can learn what God thinks should be done to help our nation.
Oh, wait -- this just in. An inter-faith barbeque has been scheduled for the parking lot of Reliant Stadium this Saturday. Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Taoists, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, and Christians who don't feel like fasting are encouraged to show up early and begin tailgating. Bring your grills and smokers, bring your slaws and potato salads, bring a healthy appetite and plenty of hot sauce, and bring a dish to pass to anyone of any faith. This inter-faith barbeque is not in any way sanctioned by or affiliated with Governor Perry or his Day of Prayer and Fasting -- in fact, it is entirely the product of my imagination -- but it does have a chance to still make Saturday a day of religious tolerance.
(Material here was previously published at www.bangthebuckets.com)