Thursday, June 5, 2008

pray at the pump

This is one of the more offensive things I've read in a long time:

Americans pray at the pump for cheaper petrol

1.) Making a spectacle of your own religion is always a good idea, and 2.) In what universe is this a useful or practical solution?, and 3.) Is cheap fuel really the answer, anyway?

Do they really think God wants Americans to drive big cars and to drive them long distances? Personally, I would tend to think increasing fuel prices would be a sort of blessing in disguise, since they illustrate the unsustainability of our culture—the ubiquitousness of single passenger vehicles, car-centric urban layouts, a lack public transit, a globalized economy where most of our food and nearly all of our consumer goods are shipped from halfway around the globe, etc. Or maybe God is punishing us for screwing up his planet.

Not that $4/gallon is really much of a punishment, when Europeans are paying $8-12/gallon, and the rest of the world is paying as much as we are (or more) and with a considerably lower average income. Americans have always had fairly cheap gas, and, globally speaking, $4/gallon is still cheap.

But I understand that $4/gallon is still a pinch, especially for rural Americans who are probably making less money to begin with and also don't have a lot of other options for transportation. So it's extra funny that Mr. Twyman and his crew are holding their pray-ins in Washington DC and San Fransisco, because it's not like these cities have any kind of public transit or anything.

I also like their modified version of "We Shall Overcome" with the added lyrics "We'll have lower gas prices." Because that's what the civil rights movement was all about! Cheap gas! Unsustainability and perceived convenience!

If you feel the need to pray about anything here, I think it should be for things like more public transit (especially a reintroduction of rail lines between big cities and small towns), more pedestrian and bike friendly communities, more and stronger local food economies, and more funding for renewable energy. That is a more practical long term solution to our present situation, not cheap oil.


troutbirder said...


Peggy said...

We do need another solution -- not cheaper gas! Good post.

Sonya said...

Thanks, Peggy. The first time I read the original article in the newspaper, I thought, "No, this has to be a joke or a prank, they can't possibly be serious." But they are, which is very sad. Funny, but sad.