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In a shocking announcement today, Christian Coalition president Roberta Combs revealed that an effort spanning two millennia has finally concluded in the invention of the Prayer Engine - a device that directly taps the power of prayer and transforms it into mechanical energy.  "We hear all this hype about clean energy," Ms. Combs stated, "but how 'clean' is it if it's created by nonbelievers?  Today, we have achieved truly clean energy - energy that comes directly from the purity of our faith in the Lord."  

Scientists were at first skeptical of the Christian Coalition's claims, but were soon convinced when presented with design schematics and a working prototype.  "We thought it was nonsense," said physicist William Solon of Harvard University, "but it appears they've finally, empirically demonstrated the Power of Prayer.  And as a result, for the first time in history, religion may benefit humankind."  

One of the diagrams presented at the press conference:

Prayer Engine

Combs spoke further on the advantages of the Prayer Engine over other forms of alternative energy: "Solar power is a slippery slope to Sun-worship, and wind power is blasphemous because 'reap the whirlwind' is meant to be a threat - not an instruction manual for renewable energy.  As for geothermal, it is clearly Satanic, as it uses the heat from Hell to generate power, and that incurs the wrath of the Lord in the form of nearby seismic activity."  When asked the organization's position on nuclear power, Combs responded "Radioactivity isn't mentioned in the Bible, so we don't believe it exists - we have no objections to nuclear power."

From initial tests of the prototype, the creators of the Prayer Engine have released some preliminary data on its operating parameters:

Power of Prayer Chart

The Christian Coalition has cited these findings as empirical verification of the validity of its political agenda, and has urged broader adoption in view of the economic potential.  However, skepticism remains about the economic viability of Prayer Power: Like solar and wind, it is intermittent, with both the frequency and sincerity of prayer varying inversely with education funding and the availability of mental health services.  During the press conference, Combs also speculated on potential future applications of the Prayer Engine, saying that "Flying on a wing-and-a-prayer may be literal one day," and giggled at her own wit.  

Upon hearing the announcement, a team of researchers at Oxford University issued a press release about work currently under way into the relative power of prayers from different religions, and their preliminary findings appear to contradict the Christian Coalition's claim that Prayer Engines can only work with Jesus as a component.  "We've tested a variety of different prayers to numerous supernatural beings and objects, and have found that quite a number of them have measurable output," said Dr. Nigel Carlton, head researcher of the team.  "According to initial results, Jesus isn't even in the top 5 most effective Prayer Engine components.  Those would be Ganesha, Poseidon, Alanis Morissette, Amun Ra, and L. Ron Hubbard."

When told of the Oxford research and asked for further comment, Combs denied that Jesus Christ had inferior wattage to other gods, and said the Christian Coalition team needed to do additional testing.  A few hours later, the organization released a highlighted addendum to their fact sheet:

Power of Prayer Chart2

Originally posted to Troubadour on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 05:18 PM PDT.

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