Nothing Fails Like Prayer
I grew up around the corner from a Christian Science church which my grandmother attended. For a few years from about nine to twelve, I went to that church to make her happy.
At a “Testimonial Meeting” one Wednesday evening, a man got up and held his left arm high in the air. He said a week ago it had been cut off in an accident at his job. He told us he knew the truth about Mary Baker Eddy, and her book, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, and since we are all made in the image of God, there can be no error – like a missing arm. He said his arm grew back. Everyone applauded.
I was impressed. As the session drew to a close, I realized I wanted to testify. With my ten-year-old heart pounding in my chest, I slowly rose to share MY testimonial, “A week ago, I got a bad cold. I prayed and knew the truth from Mary Baker Eddy, and now my cold is all gone.” I was cured. Again, the elderly blue-haired ladies applauded. Several came up afterwards to compliment me on my amazing story of healing.
It was clear to me that prayer works! I also realized at that moment, that this public speaking stuff is fun.
A few years later in 10th grade biology, I found out about my immune system and its white blood cells. Apparently, that is what really did the job. So, what I learned is that prayer + my immune system + the white blood cells cured my cold. Whenever I tried prayer alone, nothing got cured. Hmmm?
Guess the old ladies were feeding me a line of bullshit.
Dignified. Admirable. Credible.
What I liked most about Ms. Yovanovitch’s testimony was an exchange she had with an antagonistic committee member. He said to her, “Thank you for you service.” She retorted, “Thank you for your service.” We hear that phrase used a lot for veterans, but in this case, for an ambassador in the State Department.
The phrase is patronizing and demeaning. It seems to imply that veterans are donating their time, as if working in a homeless shelter. These people are not Mother Theresa. Often they join the military because they have no other options in life. The military can give them training in a skill, health care, home loans, and education benefits.
Note that the elites’ children are not signing up for the military to “serve.” No, they are more likely signing up for an MBA at Harvard.
A similarly offensive cliché we hear tone-deaf politicians use after a mass shooting is, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” Really? How is that “thoughts and prayers crap working for you? Any reduction in gun violence? Well, Mr. or Ms. Politician, why don’t you skip the thoughts and prayers bullshit, strap on a pair and defang the NRA. Oh, wait, I forgot. The NRA might primary you and you’d lose your $174K job.
Let’s stop thanking vets for their service and start making sure that when they leave the military they don’t decline into homelessness living in a tent under the freeway, or sitting on a milk crate at an intersection begging for money with a sign: “Vietnam Vet. Please help.”
So I was glad to hear Ms. Yovanovitch challenging this nonsense. Her comments were filled with irony if not sarcasm.
Hats off to Marie Yovanovitch.