On Sunday, the 68th day of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called on all his state’s residents to unite in a day for prayer. Jindal was joined by governors in other Gulf states including Texas, Alabama and Mississippi.
Today, on the 70th day, Tropical Storm Alex is expected to be upgraded to the season’s first hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. But the storm looks like it could be a mixed blessing:
On one hand, according to the Associated Press, “skimming vessels may be idled because they can’t operate in such swells. Floating oil-containment booms could be rendered useless by waves slopping over them and may have to be pulled out of the water.” But on the other, “waves churned up by Alex—as high as 12 feet—could help break up the patches of oil scattered across the sea. The higher-than-normal winds that radiate far from the storm also could help the crude evaporate faster.”
In the proclamation released Friday by Jindal’s office, the governor said that prayers are needed “as our collective fight to recover from this crisis and prevent future damage continues.”
In a post on the Louisiana Coalition for Science blog, Barbara Forrest points out that the signing of the proclamation came two years to the day that Jindal signed the Louisiana Science Education Act, which inserts anti-science, creationism-friendly language into the state’s public school education standards.
The fact that people would turn to prayer is not surprising. Devout residents all along the Gulf Coast are understandably turning to anything they think will help. A good deal of prayer has been prompted in Louisiana in recent years by the well-known catastrophes that have blown in from the Gulf of Mexico. When people face losing everything they love, prayer is a source of hope and comfort. However, the irony of our anti-science governor signing a prayer proclamation when he would not sign his name to protect the teaching of science is a bit much.