November 16, 2007
Georgia gets rain after governor's prayer
The rain will not be enough to end the state's epic drought.
Georgia received rain late Wednesday and early Thursday, one day after Gov. Sonny Perdue led a public prayer for rain to end the region's historic drought.
"Certainly, we're not gloating about it," the Associated Press quotes Perdue. "We're thankful for the rain and hopefully it's the beginning of more. ... Frankly, it's great affirmation of what we asked for."
Mainstream press is quick to point out that the prayer came as the National Weather Service predicted rain. Still, the Atlanta Journal Constitution is also quick to say "The faithful ought to keep praying." Forecasters say that the storm likely did little to ease the state's drought.
A separate AP story examines how previous politicians have approached public prayer differently, from George Washington to Thomas Jefferson to Harry Truman.
While public prayer vigils might raise eyebrows in other parts of the nation, they are mostly shrugged off in the Bible Belt, where turning to the heavens for help is common and sometimes even politically expedient.
TIME magazine writes a piece that examines who is at fault for the drought.
"Politicians always call catastrophes 'acts of God,' blaming unnatural destruction caused by natural phenomena on supernatural forces," writes Michael Grunwald. ... "But it wasn't God who allowed an outdoor theme park to build a million-gallon mountain of artificial snow while the Southeast was running dry; it was Governor Perdue and his fellow elected officials. They also allowed the wasteful irrigation of Georgia's cotton farms and the rampant overbuilding and overslurping of metropolitan Atlanta."
TIME says the state will need serious water management and long-term thinking, which may take a miracle.
The L.A. Times writes that during his prayer, Perdue cut a newly repentant figure.
"Oh father, we acknowledge our wastefulness," Perdue said. "But we're doing better. And I thought it was time to acknowledge that to the creator, the provider of water and land, and to tell him that we will do better."