Political Notes — It didn’t work before, but they’ll pray for rain again

[private]As drought conditions worsen across vast stretches of the state, two elected officials will try to see if a little prayer might bring some relief.

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black plan to hold a rally Monday in Lavonia (9 a.m. at 1269 East Main St.) to send up an entreaty to the supreme deity for some precipitation.

Rain is definitely needed.  The U.S. Drought Monitor shows that the upper two-thirds of Georgia are currently in stages of drought ranging from moderate to exceptional. The picture is a little better in the southeastern region of the state, which recently received a dousing from Hurricane Matthew.

It’s more likely that the ongoing drought is a result of global warming than of ungodly behavior, but Collins and Black intend to do some praying anyway.

It brings to mind the great “pray for rain” rally staged by then-governor Sonny Perdue on Nov. 13, 2007 on the steps of the capitol.

Georgia was gripped by a severe drought back then that had dropped Lake Lanier to record low water levels.  Perdue decided to bring in some preachers to try to reverse that situation.  “The only solution is rain and the only place we get that is from a higher power,” said Perdue’s spokesman.”

Perdue’s plan triggered a protest from Georgia’s non-religious citizens.  “The problem is not that they are praying for rain, it’s they are doing it in our name,” said Ed Buckner of the Atlanta Freethought Society. “We didn’t elect that guy as a preacher.”

Nevertheless, the preachers prayed, although they were strictly of the Protestant variety — no priests, rabbis, or imams took part in the governor’s service.

The prayer service attracted a crowd of about 200 to the capitol, including TV cameras from every Atlanta station and a host of political dignitaries that included Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, Secretary of State Karen Handel, school Supt. Kathy Cox, and numerous legislators.

“We need rain from the Blue Ridge mountains all the way to the Okefenokee,” said Gil Watson of the Northside United Methodist Church in Atlanta.  “We’ve been so busy making money that we’ve forgotten how to bring our humility before you.”

“It’s so dry the Baptists are sprinkling, the Methodists are using a damp cloth, and the Pentecostals are giving a rain check,” quipped Benny Tate, pastor of the Rock Springs Methodist Church in Milner.   “It’s dry, you know?”

As the rally was breaking up, TV reporter Denis O’Hayer asked Perdue if perhaps the state should take a more secular approach to dealing with the drought, such as more restrictions on water consumption to conserve what little water was available.

“Denis, that’s a hypothetical,” Perdue answered. “Yes, it’s always possible.  We have not contemplated any, currently, but if God chose not to answer this prayer for rain for months. then literally, we could have to take further steps of conserving and other contingency plans.”

It did not rain that day, or the next day, or the day after that, or for several more days.  Eventually it did rain, but that likely would have happened regardless of any prayer rallies.

Collins and Black, however, want to give it another shot.

Macon Telegraph weighs in on school amendment

One of the largest newspapers in Middle Georgia, the Macon Telegraph, says that if the school takeover amendment is rejected by the voters on Nov. 8, Gov. Nathan Deal’s behavior would be part of the reason:

Gov. Nathan Deal is accustomed to getting his way. He’s used to browbeating legislators into submission. In part, that’s what governors do to fulfill their visions for the state. However, there are times when people in powerful positions start to, as the old folks used to say, “feel their oats,” and forget where the real power lies. . . .

There is a very good reason the governor is upset. From the misleading language of the single sentence ballot question to the published explanation, there has been an effort to rope-a-dope voters into approving something that if they understood the details, they would never agree to it.

Opposition to Amendment 1 is bipartisan, and all the opposition is guilty of is explaining to voters the real consequences of casting a ballot in favor of this flawed amendment. The governor only has himself to blame.

Victory party scheduled

The Georgia Republican Party has set the time and place for its victory party on election night.  The festivities will be held at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead, starting at 7 p.m.

Honors and recognitions

The Council of Juvenile Court Judges has presented Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery Niles with its 2016 Martha K. Glaze Award for his willingness to partner with judges and the courts. The award is presented to a non-judicial individual recognized by the council for significant contributions in the field of juvenile justice and child welfare.

Rest in peace

Robert R. Freeman, the DeKalb County school superintendent from 1980-1996, died Oct. 21 at the age of 84.

“He had a deep belief in self-reliance and on people being true to themselves,” said Melvin Johnson, the DeKalb school board chairman. “But he also believed that teamwork and shared goals led to success.”

Freeman had a 43-year career in public education as a teacher, administrator, superintendent, and consultant. He was a school superintendent in Menominee, Mich., Mishawaka, Ind., Muncie, Ind., and Pueblo, Colo.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Avery Niles , Doug Collins , Drought , Gary Black , Georgia GOP , Nathan Deal , pray for rain , Robert Freeman , school takeover plan , Sonny Perdue