Church attempts to use the power of prayer to lower gas prices.

You gotta give Christians credit for being consistent. No matter how many times they pray for something only to have God ignore their request, they keep trying in hopes that God will deign them worthy of altering his Grand Design to their whims. Doesn’t matter how many times they pray for someone to be healed instead of taking them to a hospital only to have the victim recipient die within days or how many times they pray for some politician they don’t like to have a nasty accident involving a wood chipper and several tons of explosives only to have said politician continue on blissfully unharmed, they’ll keep praying.

It’s a testament to their faith that no matter how many times prayer fails to accomplish a damned thing they still think it’s applicable to every problem that comes along. Problems like high gas prices:

It’s an effort started by the Beacon of Light Christian Center in Dublin.

“I believe if we come together and pray as a community we can really make something happen,” says the church’s pastor, Marshall Mabry.

Indeed you can. You can get a lot of people to make public fools out of themselves by standing around a gas station and praying. Beyond that, probably not too much you’re going to accomplish.

But I’m sure that’s not going to sway you from trying. I bet you’ve tried it before, right?

“It’s the third time,” he says, “I want to start a movement. I want this to go from Dublin to Macon, from Macon to Atlanta and all over the country.”

I thought so. Didn’t work last two times. What makes you think it’ll work this time? Is there some magic number of attempts you have to get to before God starts taking notice?

Actually, I know the answer to the question of what makes them think it’ll work: Low expectations. You see, if you set the bar for success low enough even a non-existent divine being can eventually get the job done:

“If it doesn’t drop down to nothin’ but ten cents, I’m happy with that. But what I really want to believe God to do is drop down $1.50, hey, I’m glad with that, too,” says the pastor.

If it drops by ten cents, the good Pastor will be happy. Given that gas prices tend to flux with world events, that’s probably going to happen sooner or later regardless of whether they stand around chanting at the local station.

Especially if you’re persistent:

Pastor Mabry says he hopes it’ll kick off a first Saturday prayer event every month, and they’ll see a drop in costs at the pump soon.

It’s a win-win situation for the church. They get a lot of publicity and — as long as they can keep up the act — they’ll eventually get enough of a result to claim it was the amazing power of prayer at work. See? See how great God is? He dropped the price of gas a whole ten cents!

Ignoring the rather self-centered nature of the request in the first place, you have to wonder why it doesn’t occur to these people that a truly powerful God could solve the gas problem by simply making it unnecessary. Sure he’d have to break the laws of physics to pull it off, but that should be easy peasy for an all-powerful entity capable of creating all of reality by simply wishing it were so.

Speaking of wishing it were so. did you spot the bit of magical thinking the Pastor used up above? The bit where he says what I really want to believe”? That’s what religion is all about. What people really want to believe instead of just dealing with reality as it is.

Because praying is infinitely easier than actually doing something to effect change.

Gas prices have fallen so folks are back to buying SUVs.

I recently wondered aloud in another thread if the suddenly lower gas prices we’ve been experiencing—I just paid $1.95 a gallon to fill up yesterday—would cause the idiots in our populace to start buying gas guzzlers again. It was a stupid thing to question because it was pretty much a given that it would:

Despite the down economy, falling gas prices have driven consumers back to the sport utility vehicles they once gave the cold shoulder.

Workers at General Motor’s Arlington, Texas, SUV assembly plant began working overtime this month and are scheduled to remain on overtime for the rest of the year.

The plant, which employs 2,500 workers, is now the only GM factory building full-size sport utility vehicles like the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.

Although sales of the vehicles are still down overall, they have rebounded in recent weeks as gas prices have fallen and cash-strapped automakers have slashed prices. The vehicles have proven to be a solid source of revenue for GM.

“We’re still on overtime,” plant spokeswoman Wendi Sabo told The Dallas Morning News. “Nothing has changed.”

While that’s certainly good news for General Motors, as they’re in dire enough straits at the moment that they’ll be lucky to survive through next summer, it’s still a pretty disheartening thing to see happen. It just backs up my cynical side’s viewpoint that too many people are idiots. I’m not sure why gas prices are this low at the moment, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them rebound by the time next summer rolls around, if not sooner. A lot of people will be kicking themselves in the ass when that happens.

Are high gas prices making folks slow down?

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that people are driving a lot slower than they used to on the freeways? I’m all about doing the speed limit myself so I’m used to having people crawling up my ass most of the time—even though I’m in the slow lane—and only occasionally getting into the passing lane when I approach the rare person driving even slower than I am (often someone on their cell phone).

I’ve noticed over the past several weeks, roughly about the time gas hit four bucks a gallon here, a growing trend of people doing 65MPH or slower on the freeways. Whereas my excursions into the passing lane used to be infrequent and short lived they are now coming more often and for greater lengths of time. The number of idiots doing 90 while weaving through traffic has diminished quite a bit mainly because there’s too much congestion for them to have a hope of dodging their way through traffic.

It’s a simple fact that lower speeds use less gas, that was part of the motivation to make the speed limit 55MPH during the first energy crunch, but I’m surprised at the number of people who seem to be voluntarily participating in driving slower. At least one person I know says they’re definitely slowing down to save gas and has netted an extra 80 miles out of a full tank for doing so. It’s somewhat ironic that high gas prices are accomplishing something that draconian speed laws and occasional police crack downs haven’t been able to for years: Get people to drive slower.

Of course whereas I was once annoyed by people driving too fast I’m now annoyed by people driving too slow, but if I had to pick one of the two evils to deal with I’ll happily go with the latter one.