Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Praying for Rain

From this article...

Last week, the Governor of Georgia in the US held a public prayer meeting for rain as a crippling drought threatens to dry up rivers and reservoirs. Divine intervention has been called on before in many other similar disasters. In April the Australian Prime Minister John Howard urged his whole country to pray for rain.

But there are potential pitfalls. In the mid1880s the State of New York suffered a prolonged drought, and a clergyman, the Rev Duncan McLeod, organised a prayer meeting for rain for his community. But one of the local farmers, Phineas Dodd, firmly believed that nature would take its own course without any prayers, and refused to attend.

Just hours after the prayers, severe thunderstorms broke out bringing torrents of rain. During the storm, lightning struck Dodd’s barn and burnt it to the ground. Outraged, Dodd took the minister to court and sued for damages, arguing that the thunderstorm was the direct result of the minister’s prayers.

Mr McLeod was caught in a dilemma because he could not deny that the prayers had brought the rain. Instead, his lawyer argued that the prayers were only for rain, not thunderstorms and lightning, so his client could not be held responsible. The case was dismissed.