Getting Rid of Crime and Oil Spills

Every morning I start my day by reading the two online English language news websites, AM Costa Rica (except weekends) and Inside Costa Rica. My Spanish is almost but not quite good enough to read La Nacion, so I stick to the English stuff.

Well… this morning I came across an article that normally I would not bother reading except for the headline:

Presidenta Laura And Victims Of Crime To Ask “La Negrita” For Help

Before I say anything more, I will point out that I was raised Roman Catholic and went to Mass up until the age of 16 or thereabouts. I spent every Saturday morning during the school year being taught Catholic dogma. Although I disagree strongly with much of the Church’s teachings, I have absolutely nothing against Catholics as people. MOST of my Tico friends are Catholic.

Okay, now that the disclaimer is out of the way, time for me to get to work. I won’t question La Presidenta’s faith. Still, it’s hard to suppress my reaction: You HAVE to be joking. Yes, I know this is not La Presidenta’s only idea to stop crime, but still it amazes me to think she might actually believe praying to a saint is going to lower the crime rate. The other explanation is that she is just trying to pander to the believers. I suspect it’s a mixture of both, and I can’t admire either reason.

I am reminded of the reaction of the governors of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, and the Lt. Governor of Florida to the gigantic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. They called for a day of prayer. They are not alone, of course. If you want further proof, do a Google (or yahoo or bing) search with ‘gulf oil spill prayer’ and you will come up with an amazing number of sites, One of which is called oilspillprayer.COM. I will give them credit that they only make money if you want to buy some of their books and whatnot, and they don’t make any direct appeals for contributions.

My own feelings aside about the efficacy of prayer, I would suggest to Madame President and the esteemed governors that perhaps they should pray for WISDOM and COURAGE to do something themselves to address these problems such as fixing the ludicrous Costa Rican justice system or enforcing effective safety regulations regarding offshore drilling. But they do have a point. Prayer is free and you don’t have to raise taxes. If I were the praying type, I would pray that we get elected officials who are smarter than a box of rocks. Perhaps I should start a dot com website?

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  1. It's my understanding that the Costa Rican government has the Pope on retainer — after all, the Vatican gets a piece of the annual budget. If the security of the nation depends upon divine intervention, fine by me, whatever works. The ball's in your court Benedict, let's see some tangible results.

  2. The Pope on retainer? What does that mean?

  3. John — Annually, the Costa Rican government gives a piece of the pie (re: Budget) to the Catholic Church because the Catholic Church is the recognized State religion. Talk about your separation of church and state.