Before America was America the Indians that roamed this continent had their own ways and customs on how to best deal with times of strife. They would turn their gaze towards the heavens and plead to the gods that they worshiped to deliver them from their troubles. In times of famine they prayed to make their crops grow taller and more bountiful or to bring herds of animals to their hunting grounds. In times of sickness, they summoned their local talisman or witch doctor and beseeched them to rid the village of the demons that had infected their clan and to cure those that were already ill.
In times of war they implored the gods to grant them strength and victory over their enemies to ensure their tribe's survival. In times of peace they asked for guidance so that these times would remain.
When matters of how to govern the tribe arose, they called upon their ancestors for wisdom and advice in order to see them through these rough waters and to help guide them to the path of prosperity.
When the rivers flooded and earthquakes caused the landscape to shift from underneath their feet they wondered what they had done to displease the gods. When tornadoes, hurricanes or other forms of natural disasters came upon them they prayed harder and offered varying forms of sacrifice to the powers that be to rid them of these plagues.
In times of drought, they gathered round the fire and danced. They beat their drums and danced and chanted long into the night hoping that their message of need wouldn’t fall on deaf ears. That the gods that they worshiped would heed their call and bring the rain and the water that all of life needs to survive.
Their gods were mocked and they themselves were deemed savages.
Today, we here in America can’t seem to escape religion. Televangelists spout off to millions and millions from their bully pulpit. They decry a secular lifestyle in the sermons and their teachings and preach conformity at all costs. From the Ten Commandments to the subject of intelligent design, from gay marriage to abortion, from evolution to creationism, they are right and everybody else is wrong. They encourage their flocks to vote in herds to turn out any politician who has the conviction to disagree with them.
Their gods are praised and they themselves are deemed civilized.
Here in America, the Great State of Georgia has recently undergone a period of drought unlike any they’ve seen in quite some time. Water levels are fast approaching an all time low and rationing is causing tempers to flare amongst the citizenry. During this time of crisis the governor of the state, one Sonny Perdue, recognized that he needed some help. Rather than ask local officials to come up with a sound water policy that would be fair to all and serve the greater good, he had another idea in mind. He called upon the local clergy and the citizens themselves to gather at the steps of the state capital and to pray for rain.
As it turns out, we as a species haven’t come that far in asking whatever god that will listen to bail us out of some tough times.
Somewhere I hope there’s a circle of long deceased Indian Chiefs gathered round a fire in their happy hunting grounds laughing their collective asses off.