I had a rather religious background, more so than many. Prayer was a serious thing. You didn't pray for the trivial, nor did you ask people to pray for things that in reality dealt more with the free will of man and less with divine intervention. Claiming that whatever happened was the “will of God” or an answer to prayer was viewed as an excuse to avoid the responsibility for one's own actions.
Recently one-third of the people polled in America on the subject actually believe that God decides who wins a football game. He seems to have weird priorities as we can't pray away hunger, disease, or suffering, but we can pray for God to choose one side of a game while turning His back on the other.
During the recent elections religious leaders talked about the evils that would happen without the right leadership, and we were exhorted to pray for God's guidance when it came to picking the winner in the presidential race. I know this was a veiled way of telling people to vote for Mitt Romney, even by those people who claimed he was the member of a cult and not a religious person until he won the primary at which time everything that had been said previously was to be ignored.
After the elections, the reaction seems to have been either ignoring that God had actually answered prayers and chose Obama, or simply ignoring the whole prayer thing.
Same thing happened when it came to such things as the Supreme Court case regarding the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care). Either God approved of it and answered the prayers accordingly, or we just forget the whole prayer thing and move on to the next thing.
It is a situation that puts me in mind of those people who do not take their child to the hospital because they claim by praying to God the child will be healed, and decide that the doctor who shows up and is sent away wasn't sent there by God. Seems they want to be in the position to decide how God answers the prayers, and they generally decide that the answer to the praying is what they want it to be.
But they have faith in God. Yeah, right.
The Boy Scouts of America is about to make a major decision. Should they, or should they not allow Gay kids to become Boy Scouts? Considering what scouting is all about -the camping, the skills, the character building, all of that- why should that be denied some kid who enters scouts at puberty and may find himself to be Gay when he comes out the other side? Is this kid supposed to be told he has failed and has not accomplished everything he actually has, and has the awards and ranks to show that, but must now leave? There have been Eagle Scouts who were suddenly thrown out because of the claim that their being Gay is not in compliance with what scouting is. They fulfilled every scouting requirement and showed proper growth in all areas only to be told after this that they could not have done what they did.
Obviously, being Gay was not incompatible with the aims of scouting. They proved that.
Why should the camping, the skills, and the character building be denied a Gay kid who can benefit from them like his straight peers?
The opponents of lifting the ban on Gays in Scouting like to use the fear tactic that this will allow predators to come to scouting in droves, as if Gay and predator are the same thing. And it gets even nastier when these opponents point out that most scout troops are sponsored by churches, although the churches only give them space and do not foot the bills. It is as if they lament that the churches will not be able to separate kids into those we can like and help, and those we must shun and fear.
I watched Pat Robertson go on about the impending apocalypse that will ensue if all kids of scouting age were treated equally and prejudice against them became unacceptable. He scrunched up his face until his eyes were mere slits, like he did warning of the doom about to occur when Massachusetts allowed for Marriage Equality (didn't happen), Obama might get re-elected ( the earth did not open and swallow all good Americans), and the end of America if the Supreme Court were to uphold the Affordable Care Act, and advised everyone to pray that God will guide the minds and hearts of the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America to make the choice He would want.
What if he and his ilk do not get what they want, and the BSA votes against discrimination? Will he ignore it and move on to the next fixation, or will he acknowledge that since God has been prayed to on other issues that did not turn out like Pat wanted, God did it again this time, and perhaps admit that God's ways are not his?
Perhaps he, and I include all those preachers, talk show hosts, and conservative news outlets in that “he”, will finally accept that when he intones,”thy will be done”, that will might not necessarily match his desires, and he will accept the answer to the prayers as they are.
America is changing. It is a shame that the older generation, set in its ways and comfortable in its prejudices, cannot accept that the younger generation for the most part see their peer as just like themselves and do not harbor the discriminatory attitudes their elders just cannot let go.