Re utters:
With sport-utility vehicles at the altar and auto workers in the pews, one of Detroit's largest churches on Sunday offered up prayers for Congress to bail out the struggling auto industry.

"We have never seen as midnight an hour as we face this week," the Rev. Charles Ellis told several thousand congregants at a rousing service at Detroit's Greater Grace Temple. "This week, lives are hanging above an abyss of uncertainty as both houses of Congress decide whether to extend a helping hand."

Local car dealerships donated three hybrid SUVs to be displayed during the service, one from each of the Big Three. A Ford Escape, Chevy Tahoe from GM and a Chrysler Aspen were parked just in front of the choir and behind the pulpit.

Ellis said he and other Detroit ministers would pray and fast until Congress voted on a bailout for Detroit's embattled automakers. He urged his congregation to do the same.


Ellis said he started to organize the service last week after hearing from auto workers, retirees and their widows who were all fearful of even harder times.

At one point, Ellis summoned up hundreds of auto workers and retirees in the congregation to come forward toward the vehicles on the altar to be anointed with oil.

"It's all about hope. You can't dictate how people will think, how they will respond, how they will vote," Ellis said after the service. "But you can look to God. We believe he can change the minds and hearts of men and women in power, and that's what we tried to do today."

Michelle McDade, 50, who attended the service, said her late father had worked at GM for 30 years and her mother was now living on his pension.

"I pray in good times and in bad times, but I pray these days because it's something that directly affects our lives. "Politicians forgot autoworkers for ages. You can't just forget them. We're also part of the country."

Founded in 1927 when Detroit was an automotive boomtown, Greater Grace Temple is one the city's largest and most influential black churches.
It is right and natural for Christians to pray for the welfare of others when things are bad. It's also right and natural for Christians to pray for specific issues. Yet to pray that God would somehow influence congress to throw money at the "Big Three" automakers is quite presumptive. To then get some SUVs up the front of the church suggests a more than unhealthy focus on the wrong thing.

The fact is that US automakers have been struggling for years, and their struggle is based upon poor decisions made in the past by Auto executives, union members and Congress. Wanting some form of economic recovery is essential - but keeping dying industries open is not the way to do this.

I'm really hoping that God will say a big, loud "NO" to the prayers of the church mentioned in the story above - not because I want lots of people to suffer, but because I want a sustainable, intelligent solution rather than MOTS (more of the same).


Anonymous said...

If I'd been there I would have walked out.

Magotty Man said...

Reminds me of this...


I'm not sure if you saw it...