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Politicians and Prayer

THANKSGIVING DAY has come and gone, millions of prayers have been said, and--believe it or not--the war goes on. God, if he heard his petitioners, gave them the blind stare. The reason there wa no response may be simply stated. The Heavenly Father, who is said to be interested in our welfare, does not exist.


A God that can hear prayers for the cessation of war should be able to hear the blast of bombshells, the cries of helpless aged and infants, the groans of the wounded lying in snow-drifts or on hot desert sands. If he hears their cries and does not act, it is because he is quite willing to wait until one side or the other has exausted itself. He is like a father watching his two children knifing each other and twiddling his thumbs.


On Thanksgiving Day, high government functionaries prayed to God, rolled their eyes like geese, sang silly hymns, and behaved like 12th Century numskulls anathematizing a comet. They knew, if they knew anything, that their antics in church would not change the course of the war, or prevent a single enemy bullet from reaching its mark. They knew that for long days to come the holocaust would go on, regardless of their mumblings to God.


Politicians are not always of the first order of intelligence, but none of them can be so dumb as not to observe, time and time again, that prayers are useless. Most of them, by now, must necessarily realize that praying for peace is like spitting in the wind. If prayers could stop the war, the world would be at peace.


The several "freedoms" for which we claim to be fighting are beautiful enough in themselves, but what good is freedom alone, or own own Bill of Rights, if it leads to nothing more than the liberty of men to make asses of themselves? Something more necessary to raise the thinking standards of a people.


And to whom do our political leaders pray for moral guidance and help? To the "Ruler of the Universe", of course, to the one who, if he existed, is responsible for the thousands of criminal assaults to which man has been subjected since he emerged from the ape. If there be a God, who but he sends the lighting's bolt, the avalance and the tidal-wave, the cyclone and the typhoon, the famine and the drought? If the Pearl Harbor attack was an act of "treachery", what is to be said about the eruption of Mont Pelee, the earthquake at Lisbon, the Galveston Flood? What is the "treachery" of the Japs compared to God's assaults on humanity in a single tidal-wave or hurricane, which, in the twinkling of an eye, wipes out an entire community? What can compare with the "sneak punch" of the volcano whose boiling lava descends on innocent noncombatants in the dead of night? God, in his conduct toward men, has descended to acts of violence for which we hang criminals. If the Nazis ever resort to that much-feared means of warfare, the spreading of disease germs, they will be merely following in the footsteps of God, who has been carrying on a never-ending "germ war" against us since early times. "If, indeed, there were a judgment day", remarks Winwood Reade, "it woul be for man to appear at the bar, not as a criminal, but as an accuser."


Our praying politicians present an inglorious spectacle in our national life, because they show to what levels our government leaders will descend in order to curry favor with the custodians of superstition.

Friends and Colleagues