Saturday, July 10, 2010

How the Prayer at the Capitol Went

On Wednesday, June 16, 2010 the Center for Spiritual Awareness, along with a rabbi, a Catholic priest, an Episcopal priest, a Lutheran minister, a (scheduled but didn't show imam) and several other new thought ministers held a prayer service at the Capitol for the state budget. Attendance was modest (maybe 20 people in addition to the clergy), but the feeling was high. Rev. Georgia Prescott, my minister, led off the event with a prayer/treatment I wrote. I think I'll post that separately so that you can read it but it doesn't muddy up this post.

The press coverage was decent though. After an interview over the phone, the New York Times wrote this cute piece which is actually not all that snide. Click here for the official link but here's the cut and paste version:

Big Budget Gap? Call In the Big Guy
Published: June 16, 2010

LOS ANGELES — And on the first day without a state budget, the men and women of God gathered in prayer at the Capitol to beg that he guide the mortals in closing a gap of biblical proportions.

A day after California lawmakers missed the June 15 deadline to have a budget in place, leaders representing 10 faiths sought “divine wisdom” on Wednesday, offered prayers and demanded that God occupy a seat at the budget negotiating table, joining the so-called Big 5: the governor and the four ranking Senate and Assembly leaders.

“We are calling for a Big 6,” said Sara Nichols of the Center for Spiritual Awareness, a former lobbyist and minister-in-training with the nondenominational religious community that organized the event. “We wanted to bless them and say, ‘They can do it.’ ”

It just may take a while; last year, the budget came in a month overdue, and the year before that, the budget was delivered a record-setting 85 days late, and the year before that — well, suffice to say it is more newsworthy when the $83 billion budget is on time.

This year, the fiscal misery befits Job: a $19 billion deficit, legislative gridlock that has defied even a governor with an action-hero past, that same governor mightily resisting the lame-duck mantle, and an election year that makes compromise — increasingly a four-letter word — harder still. All this while the state comptroller warns that it gets harder to pay bills the more the state pushes past the July 1 start of the fiscal year, just two weeks away.

Mere “human creations,” Ms. Nichols scoffed. “They don’t have to tie us down. There is room for creativity and divine intervention. What is inspiration? It draws on the other power we have.”

Representatives of the five mortals at the table said they would take whatever help they could get.

“This is going to be a tough budget,” said Aaron McLear, a spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, “so we appreciate the support.”
A version of this article appeared in print on June 17, 2010, on page A15 of the New York edition.

The Capitol Weekly ran a photo of the collected ministers (including yours truly). Click here and scroll to page 3 of the June 24, 2010 issue to see it. I can copy the picture but can't figure out a way to put it here.

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