Sackcloth and ashes in Birmingham

Ok, here’s the lead in:

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. —  Struggling to confront a worsening homicide rate, the mayor of Birmingham asked pastors and citizens Friday to don burlap sacks and ashes Friday in an Old Testament-style sign of biblical repentance.

What can you say to that?  Is the mayor a total idiot – or is he simply pandering to idiots?  Maybe a few quotes from the story will clarify what I mean.

Since he took office last year, Langford has held three prayer rallies as a way of addressing crime and violence. Bibles were handed out at one of the events.

“This city needs to humble itself,” said Langford, a professing Christian.

So far this year 27 people have been killed in Birmingham, compared to 19 at the same time last year. 

So how’s that prayer thing working for you Mayor?  From looking at the numbers (I know, facts don’t mean much to people who believe in fairy tales) it looks like you’re focusing on the wrong thing. 

May I humbly suggest that arresting the criminals would work much better?

Another quote: Mayor Larry Langford said his “sackcloth and ashes” rally at Boutwell Auditorium was inspired by the Book of Jonah, where residents of the ancient city of Ninevah wore rough fabric and ashes as a sign of turning away from sin.

A pastor who helped organize the rally said Langford purchased 2,000 burlap bags that will be handed out at the event.

I don’t think the mayor would be this stupid, but I’m wondering who paid for the “2,000 burlap bags?”  If he used public funds (or he’s using a public facility without paying for it out of private funds) he’s an idiot.  That would also mean he’s also violating the US Constitution.

Birmingham city officials have turned to prayer in the past to cope with the city’s crime problems.

The former chief, Annetta Nunn, promoted the idea of turning people toward God to quell the violence in the city’s neighborhoods, and she instituted a Bible-based plan of civic responsibility for cleaning up rundown neighborhoods.

I’ll ask the question again – how’s that prayer thing working for you?  And once again the answer (based on the numbers) is that it’s making things worse, not better.

The current police chief, Langford appointee A.C. Roper, has a lengthy resume that includes being an ordained minister. He was in the military and worked with the Hoover Police Department for nearly two decades.

Roper supports the repentance rally, but he said law enforcement cannot stop there.

Oh really?  C’mon!  God is all powerful, God is all knowing, and God is omnipotent – it says so right there in your Bible.  So why haven’t your prayers to your God been answered?  I suppose the thought that maybe there isn’t a God never crossed your mind….

I don’t mean to offend those who believe in an omnipotent God who oversees everything on earth, but get real.  IF (and that’s a very large if) there is such a G/god, why do you think H/he cares what what the hell happens in Birmingham Alabama?

Again, I have absolutely nothing against religious people (I do have a lot of reasons why I’m against organized religion though!) and the intent of this is not to piss them off – although I’m sure that’ll happen too. 

My point is that there is no way that public time, money, or resources should be spent on this modern day witch hunt.  If you want to gather on the street (or in your own church or home) and do this – fine.  Just keep it from being sanctioned by the government.

Is that clear?


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