Georgia governor organizes public vigil -- to pray for rain

This. Shall. Not. Pass.

Well, actually it already has.

Gov. Sonny Perdue, who has asked Georgians to pray for rain today, and at lunchtime will convene with various religious and political leaders on the steps of the state Capitol to seek divine intervention in the state’s months-long drought.

Desperate times, it’s said, call for desperate measures. And with Lake Lanier growing grass instead of bass, we’re definitely in desperate times…

“This is a ridiculous, illogical exercise even for people who are deeply religious,” said Ed Buckner, treasurer for the Atlanta Freethought Society. “I would think they’d be offended.”

Buckner, an atheist, is helping plan a “polite and peaceful protest” on the Capitol grounds today, and expects members of both the Council on Secular Humanism and Freedom From Religion Foundation to attend. He objects to the governor, in his official capacity as an elected representative, endorsing a belief system…

“Does the God that Sonny Perdue believes in have to be informed about the drought?” Buckner asked. “Doesn’t he know? Or have the important people not appealed to him yet?”

Here’s the Freethought Society press release, replete with relevant footnoted Biblical quotation. Follow the link to the AJC article and see what one Atlanta rabbi has to say about likelihood of divine intervention. Why, it’s a certainty — eventually. An interesting legal question lurks here about how far Perdue could go before this amounts to an Establishment Clause violation. Praying alone in his office? A-OK. Praying publicly on the steps of the Capitol? Sure, no prob. Issuing an executive order calling for a day of prayer? Questionable, but what about federal religious holidays? Sending around a memo requesting but not requiring the presence of staffers at the vigil? Hmmm. Calling up some religious leaders and having an informal prayer shindig on the Capitol grounds? Off the Capitol grounds? Hmmm hmmm hmmm. Welcome to the wonderful, inexplicable world of First Amendment jurisprudence, my friends!

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