Thursday, January 05, 2006

Digging for a Reason...

When the news of the mining accident in Tallmansville, WV reached the families of the miners and other town residents, the people did what you'd expect West Virginians to do: go to church and pray (those of you who immediately thought "incest" should be ashamed).

That they're praying to the same god who allowed - if not outright caused - the mine explosion in the first place obviously didn't cross their minds.

A televised report on the 700 Club (hey - I spent a few days at my brother's house, and his mother forced it on me) focused on the "faith" of the community and showed many of the residents praying and mentioning prayer as the only chance they had.

The next day's episode (it was torture), when bringing news that 12 of 13 had died, had a soundbite of a young man saying that prayer is all he can do to cope.

So, let me get this straight...prayer was supposed to save your grandfather, failed miserably, and yet, in learning absolutely nothing from this incident, you're still going to depend on prayer to help you with something? What was that definition of "insanity" that I'd heard in the past? Oh yeah: Insanity is when you continuously try the same thing and expect different results (or something along those lines).

This story, although horribly tragic, is a wonderful example of the delusions of the religious masses, and as we follow its progression we see an all too typical pattern unfold.

As the families awaited news and rescue teams busted their asses and risked their lives, we read that:

Family members...retreated to the nearby Sago Baptist Church.

Gov. Joe Manchin said West Virginians "believe in miracles."

"We still pray for miracles in West Virginia," Manchin said.
"There is still a chance and there's hope and we have that."

Manchin, who's uncle was one of 78 men who died in a mining accident in 1968, should have a little more insight to go on than miracles and prayer, and as a public official should be putting more emphasis on fact - such as details of the rescue effort - than dwelling on beliefs.

Eventually news came that one man had died but twelve survived. A cover story in the January 4 edition of USA Today shows a picture of celebrating family members taken outside of a church. The accompanying stories tell of church bells ringing, people holding vigil and singing "wonderful hymns" such as How Great Thou Art, I'll Fly Away and Amazing Grace, and community Donato's Pizza signs which read "Pray for the miners and their families." The over all message is that "faith...(is) sustaining the miner's [sic] families."

"Miracles happen in West Virginia, and today we got one," said Charlotte

Helen Winans...said she believes there was divine intervention. "The Lord
takes care of them," she said.

Unfortunately, that first bit of news wasn't quite correct, and the survival rate of twelve out of thirteen missed the mark by about eleven or so.

When the real news finally arrived, the families realized no miracles had happened and that their prayers, hymn singing, vigils, and pizza parlor signs were nothing more than a waste of time, and finally stopped being ungrateful asses and thanked the (human) rescue workers for their efforts, although unfruitful...right? Wrong.

A CBN story tells us that before the news:

"The families gathered at the local Baptist church to wait and pray for the best"

Then, upon hearing the original, false report:

Someone said, "They're alive, all of them." People cheered, some saying, "It's a miracle, it's a miracle!"

But once the truth was revealed:

Angry family members spilled out of the church, tears of joy turning to tears of anger. Fist fights broke out and mine officials had to be escorted out by police.

Yet another story reports more of the same:

When the bad news was delivered to the families...chaos broke out in the church and a fight started. About a dozen state troopers and a SWAT team were positioned along the road near the church because police were concerned about violence. Witnesses said one man had to be wrestled to the ground when he lunged for mining officials.

Good ol' Christian values. Can't say I didn't see that one coming.

But, irregardless of violence, the presence of pure, in-your-face, evidence that miracles just don't happen and prayer is worthless manages to set in, right? Well...

(Gov. Joe) Manchin, who had earlier said that the state believed in miracles, tried to focus on the news that one had survived. "We're clinging to one miracle when we were hoping for 13," he said.

I love how miracles work. A mine explodes and twelve men die so that one can miraculously live. Hallelujahh! Puh-raise Jeez-us-uh!

I really don't mean to sound insensitive, but maybe they should leave them in there, roll a rock in front of the entrance, and wait for three days for some resurrections. These people just don't get the point.

Maybe I'm biased. Maybe I'm just blind to the facts. I mean, afterall, Randal McCloy (the one survivor)'s wife told reporters how:

her husband would leave for work early every day, saying goodbye with the same reminder, "God's always with you."

Ah, yes. He is the lone survivor because his faith was so much stronger than the other twelve (take that dead miner-guys!).

Maybe he's the embodiment of Jesus and this is the second coming - after all, the thirteenth survived and twelve died (the whole twelve apostles thing).

Or maybe, just maybe, he survived because, as another story illustrates:

At 27, McCloy was one of the youngest in the group

The next 700 Club report I saw mentioned the mounting anger felt by residents and families of the victims toward the authorities and whoever was responsible for the "false hope." This is further highlighted:

Ann Merideth, the daughter of one of the dead miners...said, "I call this
injustice, and I will tell you all right here and right now, I plan on suing."

Hmmm. They seem to be angry that somebody delivered a message that gave them hope but was ultimately shown to be untrue. Now, why does this seem familiar? Are they planning on suing their church? What about the publishers of their Bibles? How about a civil suit against God? Earlier they had no use for humans, and acknowledged that their sole source of hope was their faith and prayer, and now that reality has set in, humans, it seems, actually did have some sort of role. One of culpability.

God was going to protect them. If they survived, it would have been due to, and proof of, God. The families survived the period of time with no news with God's help. The dead miners are now with God, and only God will help the families cope.

But God is not responsible for the accident in the first place (unless the miners of Tallmansville were planning a Gay Pride March or something), nor is he responsible for "false hope," which is such a horrible, horrible thing that it merits a lawsuit.

Once again we are shown that if something goes well, chalk one up to God; something goes horribly wrong? Penalize man. We saw the same when Kanye West spoke out (rightfully so) and declared what millions knew and millions more wanted to pretend didn't exist: President Bush doesn't care about black people.

Well, no shit, but let's look a bit deeper, Mr. West. What was one of Kanye's biggest hits? A little tune called Jesus Walks. As Reggie (aka the Infidel Guy) points out: if, and as clearly as, the tragedy of Katrina demonstrates the government's complete and total reckless disregard for poor people - and especially those of color - then what does it say about God? Apparently, God doesn't care about black people, and there's quite a larger body of evidence against HIM than Bush - which is itself overwhelming.

But what more can be expected of a god whose religion has absolutely no concept of culpability, justice, or equitable treatment?

Wake up and think,'s really not all that complicated.


DUB said...

I would also like to point out that half of the sources I referred to in this piece were "mainstream" media (i.e. Associated Press).

Why am I illuminating this? Well, just look at the emphasis they place on prayer and faith in their reporting. How on Earth these crazy-ass fundies can proclaim xian persecution in a society that continually kisses their ass is far beyond me.

Alan said...

Thanks for posting on this. I did a similar post on Kyle Lake, the young Baptist minister who was electrocuted during a service in front of his family and 800 other faithful.

Obviously I am not the only one who is baffled by the stupidity (sorry but that is the most accurate word I can think of) of the faithful when it comes to tragedies that clearly indicate the non-existence of their sky daddy and protector.

Tanooki Joe said...

Great stuff, DUB. Hopefully you can keep posting now ... ;P