Prayer







Created by German artist Oliver Sturm, the Gebetomat is a single-person structure modeled on a photo booth which offers hundreds of pre-recorded prayers in dozens of languages. These apparently have been popping up in Europe, most recently at the University of Manchester, where a Gebetomat was installed re-branded as a “Pray-O-Mat”. Just insert 50 eurocents and pick a selection from Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or various indigenous faiths — whatever you need. This seem to harken to a future in which the devout will turn to robots for their doses religion. No word on the possible creation of a curses-on-demand automated hexing booth:



PrayerTrine Tsouderos reports in the Chicago Tribune:

Thanks to a $374,000 taxpayer-funded grant, we now know that inhaling lemon and lavender scents doesn’t do a lot for our ability to heal a wound. With $666,000 in federal research money, scientists examined whether distant prayer could heal AIDS. It could not.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine also helped pay scientists to study whether squirting brewed coffee into someone’s intestines can help treat pancreatic cancer (a $406,000 grant) and whether massage makes people with advanced cancer feel better ($1.25 million). The coffee enemas did not help. The massage did.

NCCAM also has invested in studies of various forms of energy healing, including one based on the ideas of a self-described “healer, clairvoyant and medicine woman” who says her children inspired her to learn to read auras. The cost for that was $104,000.



George W. Bush redux? In case you missed it, here is Texas Governor and possible next president Perry laying it on thick at his massive prayer meet, dubbed “The Response”, on August 6 in Houston. He wants you to know that he has determined the cause of all of the United States’ current economic, social, and political woes: “As a nation we have forgotten who made us, who blesses us.”


Rick's GunMike Tolson writes in the Houston Chronicle:

A group that has already criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry for his involvement with a Christian prayer rally scheduled for Reliant Stadium next month went a step further Wednesday and filed a federal lawsuit in Houston to stop him from promoting it.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation claims Perry’s association with the “The Response: A Call to Prayer for a National in Crisis” breaches the separation of church and state.

The complaint, filed in the Southern District on behalf of five named individuals who live in Houston, notes the plaintiffs are “nonbelievers who support the free exercise of religion, but strongly oppose the governmental establishment and endorsement of religion ….”

The lawsuit seeks an injunction barring Perry’s official involvement. A Perry spokesman said he won’t back away from the event.


National_Prayer_Day_Rick_Perry_governor.350w_263hWatch the batshit insanity unfold as Texas governor Rick Perry proclaims a statewide day of fasting and prayer to Jesus to solve “economic collapse, natural disaster, terrorism” and your “troubles paying your bills” — all things that the governor says are “spiritual issues.”

It’s dubbed The Response, and involves Texans simultaneously praying on August 6 so as to “make a sound that will be heard in the heavens,” with a football stadium in Houston as the focal point. Also, it’s kind of a response to New York’s legalization of gay marriage, and other governors are invited:


Expanding the effort to the state of California? Well in the words of Brian Wilson: I wish they all could be California/I wish they all could be California/I wish they all could be California … Bruce Wilson writes on Talk To Action:

A radical notion: who needs cops? Just pray down crime. But in Newark, where the murder rate has risen over 70% from 2010 to 2011, the approach doesn’t seem to be working very well.

Privatizing government services has long been a key goal of the American religious right, and as a 2-part new Talk To Action report details (here and here), the push for education vouchers has been orchestrated by right wing funders dedicated to eradicating public schools altogether. But voucher initiatives are presented as secular. Then, there’s prayer-based crime fighting, an even more radical privatization scheme:




Religious discrimination and sexual harassment are, sadly, nothing new to the workplace. When your boss tells you “to attend the prayer meetings or find another position,” getting transferred may be the best…