Union Democrat staff

Enough with the Christian criticism

To the Editor:

I was not surprised or shocked by Norman Reed's scathing condemnation of T.Y. Atkins for having the nerve to suggest at a recent TUD board meeting that people pray for water. According to Mr. Reed, Mr. Atkins "has the right to free religion" but he "has no business expressing his religious beliefs in public," apparently because he holds a position of authority over children and could even be plotting to "brainwash" them with the despicable doctrines of Christian love.

Such statements are totally in line with the new "progressive" definition of freedom of religion in America. According to progressive thought, people are allowed to believe whatever they wish, as long as they don't talk about it, especially in public. Of course, such a definition flies in the face of the First Amendment, guaranteeing Americans free speech. But according to progressive dogma, the Constitution is a "living document" that should be changed at the whim of an evolving society.

Mr. Reed resorts to another progressive mantra by stating that "public references to 'god' intervening on behalf of humans may be unintentionally offensive to many people." Since when are the unintentional offenses of Christians inexcusable while the intentional offenses of Christian-haters go unnoticed and unanswered? Mr. Reed facetiously compares prayer to rain dances, letters to Santa, Ouija boards and séances. Were a Christian to use such comparisons when speaking of another belief system , their comments would immediately be labeled as "hate speech" and condemned. I for one am tired of letting such moral duplicity pass without comment. Enough is enough!

David Peters


Praying for rain may make it worse

To the Editor:

I've been following the recent "Pray for rain" letters with interest during this third consecutive year of severe drought. Unfortunately for the commentators and their supporters, a scientific study refutes the effectiveness of a solemn plea for rain.

Following is a summary of a study published in 2006 in the American Heart Journal. The complete published paper can be accessed at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16569567.

The investigators evaluated whether receiving intercessory prayer or being certain of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with uncomplicated recovery after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

1,802 patients at six U.S. hospitals were randomly assigned to one of three groups: those who received intercessory prayer after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; those who didn't receive prayer, also after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; and those who received prayer after being informed they would receive prayer. Prayer was provided for 14 days, starting the night before CABG. The primary investigatory observation was presence of any complication within 30 days of CABG. Secondary inquiries addressed the occurrence of any major event and mortality.

In the two groups uncertain about receiving intercessory prayer, complications occurred in 52 percent of patients who received prayer versus 51 percent of those who did not. Complications occurred in 59 percent of patients certain of receiving prayer. Major events and 30-day mortality were similar across the three groups.

Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving prayer was associated with a higher incidence of crisis.

My humble request to those soliciting divine deliverance from our dry spell: Don't pray for rain too hard; you may make things worse.

Irwin Schwartz