Skip to content

The Power of Prayer

A parable (koan?) on the separation of church and state:

In the small town of Mt. Vernon, Texas, the local bar started to build a new building to increase business. The town’s Baptist church was strongly opposed, and attempted to block the opening of the new bar with petitions and prayer. Just before the bar opened their prayers were answered — lightning struck and the new bar burned to the ground.

The bar owner sued the church, claiming that they were responsible for the loss of his business. At the end of the hearing, the judge commented “I don’t know how I’m going to decide this, but it appears from the paperwork that we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that does not.”

[From an email sent to a small town paper.]



  1. RK wrote:

    I don’t know if people are familiar with this study:

    Heart patients who knew they were being prayed for fared worse.

    Friday, April 8, 2011 at 8:54 am | Permalink
  2. ahahhahahah

    Friday, April 8, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink
  3. Don wrote:


    Friday, April 8, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink
  4. Patricia wrote:

    You just made my day — somebody actually connected the dots!!!!!

    Friday, April 8, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink
  5. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I needed that laugh, thanks

    Friday, April 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    I love this joke because it really highlights why the law must be separate from religion. No church would want to be held responsible for answered prayers, even though they may teach that you should pray for something to make it happen. And yet, some religious people think that homosexuality should be illegal, because their religion teaches them that it is a sin.

    Friday, April 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink
  7. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Oh you couldn’t just let me enjoy the humor. We should be glad that we are not a Muslim country under sharia law, here’s a link to some unbelievable punishments for gay muslims or just men suspected of conducting homosexual conduct.

    This article from the CATO Inst outlines human rights abuses of Gays in Muslim countries.

    At least we’re not that bad, although we could improve our way right brethern.

    Friday, April 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    PSgt, I will not argue with you about Muslim treatment of homosexuality. However, I am uncomfortable about you singling out Islam. My comment said nothing about which religion.

    Pretty much all religions have done some pretty nutcase things in the name of morality. If you condemn Islam for doing this, then you are being hypocritical if you do not condemn Christianity and other religions for doing the same thing.

    Friday, April 8, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Permalink
  9. Jason wrote:


    Friday, April 8, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    I love what Snopes has to say about what this story means: “What a person believes or will stand up for shouldn’t change because there’s a monetary factor involved; otherwise, it’s not true belief. As the fictional judge points out, there is something untoward about a congregation so willing to put worldly matters first that it denies it believes in prayer.” The story encourages people to “measure the contents of their hearts against those of the fictional congregation to see if they themselves aren’t at times engaging in a bit of religious distancing. Do they set aside their faith, and their pride in it, when faith becomes inconvenient? Or do they stand up for their beliefs and proudly proclaim them, even when doing so is to their disadvantage, financial or otherwise?”

    Friday, April 8, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Permalink
  11. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I understand your point IK, lest we not forget the WBC or other idiot in FL, Terry Jones, who is burning Korans. While we have many examples of intolerance in modern Christianity we do not have the same examples of all out fanaticism and small scale genocide that the countries with theocracies of Islam have. It is that joining of religion and state which is so dangerous and why we must strongly guard against it here. I do not know of a modern country ruled by a Christian theocracy and so I cannot compare. You are right to say its not as much a problem with Islam, but with the rulers in charge of those theocracies. Thats why its so its hard to separate who is responsible the state or the religion.
    Why do Americans get “uncomfortable” when a particular group is discussed. In my role in the Army I am the Sr. Enlisted advisor to the Commander I support. They rely on my frank, candid guidance, opinions and advice. I don’t mince words, beat around the bush or try to be politically correct. I’ve tried before, but then my point doesn’t always get through. I will also never back down out of fear like our artist’s, writers or TV producers and the subject of Islam. If we can’t have free speech because we are scared that a religious few will seek revenge on us, then they have already defeated us. I am also not talking about being disrespectful towards another person or religion and believe we should treat all persons and religions the same, like we ourselves wish to be treated.

    Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 7:05 am | Permalink
  12. Iron Knee wrote:

    There is an example of a modern Christian theocracy — the Holy See (Vatican City). And a number of nations have some form of Christianity as their official state religion. Israel is a Jewish theocracy that is having a number of issues with their non-Jewish residents.

    But even more significant are examples from the past; lest we forget the Crusades, or closer to home, the Salem Witch Trials. As for “small scale genocide” what about the recent troubles in Northern Ireland or the Bosnian Genocide? Or again closer to home, the bombings of abortion clinics and killing of abortion doctors?

    I’m not uncomfortable discussing Islam. I’m only uncomfortable singling them out. That’s not only disrespectful, it is hypocritical.

    Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 8:48 am | Permalink
  13. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I fully agree with your last point, I do not want to be hypocritical. The theocracies (governments) you speak of do not, to my knowledge, openly call for the persecution and execution of homosexuals. I am aware of the Ugandan government’s attempt to make anti-homosexual laws based on Christian beliefs (not sure if they were passed). I’m also aware that it has been suggested that American evangelicals played a part by lecturing and advising there(maybe some WBC type people).

    I think we can stop relating the crusades of the middle ages where Christians began a holy war and the Muslims finished it. Both sides were guilty of intolerance and atrocities against mankind. Israel to my knowledge has never advocated for the killing of homosexuals, nor has the modern Vatican.

    When we can only discuss an issue when we include every possible relation to that issue then we are being PC and I don’t think its necessary to to bring up 3 sides of the argument every time it is mentioned. To me its like when we want to discuss nuclear power plants, but before we start we must begin by saying “we understand the pain and suffering caused by the dropping of atomic weapons and vow never to aspire to drop another nuclear weapon as long as we live. We further acknowledge that we can appear hypocritical if we don’t include the fact that we do not want other nations, whose intent may not be aligned with ours, but who also desire nuclear energy to have it.”
    I’ll let the diplomats and politicians do that talking.

    Lets just get to the point. 🙂

    Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 11:00 am | Permalink
  14. Iron Knee wrote:

    Uh, I forgot the point. 🙁

    Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink
  15. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Hey, maybe we really could be politicians.

    Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Permalink
  16. Iron Knee wrote:

    Which one of us should propose something, so the other can be against it (no matter what it is)?

    Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink
  17. Spike wrote:

    Sounds like the sort of tale Mark Twain would tell. Ah progress.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 6:24 am | Permalink
  18. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I’ll start. I don’t think its fair that Idaho has the best potatoes. I think we should subsidize the potatoe industry and start growing them in the death valley desert so we can transform it into an oasis and thus increase property values so we can charge property tax and get more revenue.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink
  19. Iron Knee wrote:

    You fool, you don’t even know how to spell potato. This is just the kind of idiotic drivel we have come to expect from Fox News loving neanderthals like yourself. 🙂

    Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  20. PatriotSGT wrote:

    That made me bust a belly laugh, Thanks!

    Monday, April 11, 2011 at 7:44 am | Permalink
  21. RK wrote:

    Wait a minute, IK did propose something that we shouldn’t just “assume”.

    To quote him:
    “Which one of us should propose something, so the other can be against it (no matter what it is)?”

    Why do we have to play by the normal political (and unwritten) rules? I say we should jump headlong into the unknown!

    Monday, April 11, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Permalink
  22. Iron Knee wrote:

    Damn Independents. Too chicken-shit to pick sides!

    And what does RK stand for? Rubber Knee?

    Monday, April 11, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Permalink
  23. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Figures, attack bird feces like it can defend itself or the poor creature from whence it came. Just another put down by the man for the man.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 7:09 am | Permalink
  24. Iron Knee wrote:

    I may be the man, but at least I am a man.

    (ok, now I’m just getting silly — I hope you got as much of a chuckle out of this as I did!)

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 8:47 am | Permalink
  25. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I was chuckling all day yesterday, I think people thought I was losing it.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink