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Do you know of people who use prayer as a coercive tool?

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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-07-09 04:49 PM
Original message
Do you know of people who use prayer as a coercive tool?
This kind of thing really irks me. The high school teachers here are on strike, have been for a week today. It's caused quite a lot of conflict in the community. Last Friday the football game with the big rival school was canceled, as was a tennis match on Saturday. Also, on Saturday the band and choir kids were supposed to audition for district and all-state choir and band, but couldn't because of the strike.

Who's to blame depends on who you listen to. The board of ed wants teachers to contribute to their health insurance premiums for the first time ever, at $179.00 a month. They are not budging on this. The teachers union refuses to pay at all, and is also not budging. They're completely stalemated, and there's no end in sight without binding arbitration, it appears.

I have parishioners involved in both sides of negotiations and, former union steward though I am, have been doing my best to walk the fine line between both sides. So far so good. There's a little tension around church, especially at choir rehearsals. But generally, things are less tense at church than in the community in general.

So, yesterday at ministerial association, one of my colleagues suggests we all go as a group to the picket line and "pray, to get the teachers to end the strike". I was appalled. I don't pray to get people to do anything. And going to the picket line would turn "prayer" into a way of trying to make the teachers feel guilty.

There were several in attendance who thought this was a great idea, but saner heads prevailed. It was decided that we, as a group, had not taken a side in the strike and shouldn't. But the guy who proposed it and some others who like the idea were talking about going anyway. I have no idea if they did. I doubt it, because it seems like I would've heard about it.

What a strange way to use "prayer" (I can't call it that without quotes, because this is NOT what prayer is, imo). It really disgusts me that anyone would consider such behavior appropriate. Prayer is communion with God, not a way to manipulate humans into doing what you want.

Thanks for letting me rant!

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RevCheesehead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-08-09 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
1. In all honesty,
I find it very hard to find anyone who DOESN'T use prayer this way.
Present company excepted, of course. ;)

You were right to be appalled. A better approach would be to pray for a peaceful resolution that would bring the conflict to an end. (That's how I prayed for the Iraq war as the pastor of a divided church).
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. I know a lot of laypeople use prayer this way, which reflects
on the poor preaching and education in too many churches, I suppose. But I expect clergy to be more thoughtful about such things. You'd think I'd know better by now.

Like you, my practice has been to pray for a solution to this situation that is fair and equitable for everyone.
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dcsmart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-08-09 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
2. sorry to change the topic
but you and i have talked and you posted on the Socialist Progressive Group which i can no longer find. Was the Group dropped or banned or what...very strange.
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dcsmart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-08-09 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. i found it...LOL...they must have changed the format
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. Glad you found it, dc. I haven't been over there in a while. I should visit again. nt
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wryter2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-09-09 12:16 PM
Response to Original message
4. I can't imagine my church sponsoring such a thing
I think if an individual were to suggest it, they'd be gently guided in another direction.

I don't even much pray for something to happen but for wisdom and guidance in dealing with a difficult situation.
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. It was a pastor, wanting the pastor's group in town to do this.
And the idea was rejected pretty soundly. It does make me wonder if he's been praying in this one-sided way around his own church. That would be a sad example to show his parishioners.
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RevCheesehead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. I needed to hear that reminder.
Thanks. :hi:
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-12-09 11:47 PM
Response to Original message
9. As if things weren't bad enough, the school superintendent
committed suicide yesterday. Honest. So terribly sad.

And yet...let the blame-assigning begin!

Pray for my community...and for the comfort of John's family.

So sad.
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wryter2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. How terrible
His poor family. I'll remember them in my prayers.
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-16-09 01:53 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. Thank you. I feel for the family. I think they've gotten kind of
forgotten in the midst of all the strike news and events. They must be going through hell. I didn't know him well, just knew him around town. He wasn't a parishioner, but the teachers in my congregation loved him and are devastated. The whole community is.

Thanks for keeping his family in your prayers.
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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-15-09 07:17 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Oh Critters, I am so sorry I missed this post before. I just came back to read
through the rest of this thread. So sad indeed. I feel like such a schmuck for my self-centered post further down. Suicide...so difficult an issue. Lots of questions and feelings of guilt and/or blame on the part of loved ones. I can imagine all of that is amplified when it's a "public figure" in the community.

We've had 3 suicides this year in this little town, all within a few blocks of our church...very sad.
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-16-09 01:51 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. Three. That's terrible.
We're pretty shaken. I've realized how inadequate I feel in the face of all this, but people seem to appreciate what I'm doing. I'm surprised at how much of the "he'll go straight to hell for committing suicide" bullshit I've been hearing. I've been very clear with people that suicide is death from an illness as much as cancer or heart disease is.

It's amplified not only because he's a public figure, but because of the school strike. A whole lot of finger pointing going on, though it appears there was much going on in his life. It has ratcheted up the tension, though.

Thanks for your concern, 54.
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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-16-09 09:43 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. Wow, sounds like a "whole lot of judgement goin on" there. Between the
finger pointing and the "he'll go straight to hell" bullshit. Not much metanoia to be found anywhere these days.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and all involved... :hug:

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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-15-09 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
11. Today I felt like a prayer vending machine. Hey, stick a quarter up the Chaplain's ass and get the
prayer of the day!

It was a bomb drill. I reported to the command center and went over my role had this been an actual emergency. As I was leaving the room, I was called back by some obnoxious fellow (later found he was from maintenance) to "give us a prayer". I was like a deer in the headlights, and someone repeated the request. I did, it was awful, don't remember what sort of jibberish rolled out of my mouth. I felt so damned violated as well as embarrassed by my inability to "pray" that I went back to the office and had a good cry.

It was a very "sucky" day at CPE!
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-16-09 01:46 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. And now you have to write it up, and present it as a verbatim!
Sorry. You probably gave them the comfort they needed, even if it didn't feel right to you. You'll learn that most people really aren't too thoughtful about these things. Don't let that get you down. You did fine. :hug:
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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-16-09 09:32 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. Actually, I'm hoping I can write it up. You know, I didn't see it as providing comfort at all.
Edited on Fri Oct-16-09 09:44 AM by 54anickel
Maybe it was the guys tone of voice, but I felt it was making a mockery of God and faith. Maybe I spend too much time in R/T on DU...Thanks Critters, you've given me a new perspective on the situation.
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wryter2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-20-09 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #16
19. R/T strikes again
I cannot go in there. It ought to be renamed "all religion sucks...neener-neener-neener."
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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-21-09 07:49 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. Well, it can get a bit "uncivil" over there, but I do enjoy some of the conversations that take
place. I do catch myself coming off as fairly abrupt over there with folks from all sides. Part of it has to do with my writing style, part with the feeding on the overall tone over there. Abruptness seems to have become part of the R/T culture. Might be from rehashing the same things over and over again....
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wryter2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-21-09 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. You're sure right about things getting repititious over there
I wish I had a nickle for every "imaginary friend," or "religion is the biggest stimulus for war" post. And, every time someone posts one of those they seem to think they're the first person to ever think of that argument.
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-23-09 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #13
23. YAY! I loved verbatim day! My advisor and I loved 'em - could have done 'em all day.
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shimmergal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-19-09 12:59 AM
Response to Original message
18. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with praying
for specific things. It just gives a slight extra push if deity wants events to go that way anyhow. If not, is it likely to have any effect we should worry about?

Of course, I'm not a clergy person, so don't feel obligated to have an elevated concept of the purpose of prayer!

What IMO is very wrong, though, is praying in public for something specific like that ("getting the teachers to end the strike") to happen. Or even praying it in front of anyone else whom you might influence. Deity can make up his/her/its mind whether a prayed wish is valid or not. A mere human, however, may be more susceptible to moral coercion. Especially if such words come from a minister's lips; that's pulling rank, or playing dirty pool. Or if not, it certainly comes across that way.
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-01-09 09:25 PM
Response to Reply #18
24. The issue for me was that this moral coercion was aimed at one
side of the strike. The clergyperson didn't suggest we go to homes or work places of school board members. The clear message would have been that God had taken a side in this strike. I saw no reason to believe that was the case.
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-23-09 06:51 PM
Response to Original message
22. Rightwingers do it all the time. It's almost the only way they know how to pray.
Edited on Fri Oct-23-09 06:55 PM by Rabrrrrrr
I'm actually surprised that the fundy shitpots you "peer group" with (Woo hoo! I just made "peer group" a verb! I fucking rock!) stopped with a mere praying for the teachers to end the strike, and didn't suggest that you pray *that the teachers might find Christ in their hearts* and therefore end the strike.
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-01-09 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. I suspect that's what they were thinking.
And making nouns into verbs pretty much makes you a mainline Protestant clergyperson. Or so says a colleague I was dyading with the other day.
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RevCheesehead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-02-09 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. ....
:rofl:

Thanks for the laugh!
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