Monday, September 5, 2011

Perry Giving Up the (Holy) Ghost

Governor Perry is knocking off campaign events today to attend to the wildfires that have ravaged Texas. The fires have claimed two lives and hundreds of homes since they were spread by wind gusts connected to Tropical Storm Lee this weekend. Lee dumped roughly 12 inches of rain on New Orleans but delivered only driving wind into Texas.

The winds come after a year-long drought in Texas that has caused huge economic woes for farmers. Now the tinder-dry brush across the state is becoming fuel for uncontained fires. As Lee turned North East away from Texas, the drought-stricken Texas has to wonder about their bad luck.

The Texas drought last attracted national attention when Rick Perry proclaimed a day of prayer for rain in April. Since then, rainfall in the lonestar state has remained anemic. In a normal year, San Antonio area gets roughly 14.5 inches of rain between April 21st and September 5th; this year, only 3.53 inches. The lack of rain even after Perry's proclamation for prayer should be a spiritual embarrassment for the Governor. Tropical Storm Lee even veered North East away from Texas, keeping the Texan plains dry.

Droughts are becoming more common along Texas's latitude, a process of desertification that is consistent with models of global climate change caused by anthropogenic carbon increases. Perry, of course, denies that climate science has anything to do with reality. So meeting Perry on his own terms is tempting: Is God punishing Texas with severe drought?

Perry's lack of religious sincerity and political stances against social welfare for God's children are possible targets of God's wrath. But many states have had 'Christian right' anti-worker and anti-poor governors for a decade. Texas uniquely endures the taunting spectale of a tropical storm bringing fire instead of rain.

The most plausible theological account is that the fires are divine punishment for Perry's wanton execution of innocents. Cameron Todd Willingham's execution at the hands of Gov Perry is a particularly haunting case. Not only was the condemned almost certainly innocent, but he was wrongly convicted for arson and refused clemency because of Perry's lack of belief in the scientific method that had thrown considerable doubt upon the jury's verdict.

It's terrible that 2 people would have to die and hundreds of homes burn to get Perry to atone for his sins. Let's pray that Perry does reform, and that the plagues on Texas will stop.

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