Heartland Institute Advocates Prayer to Protect Florida from Hurricanes

Published April 1, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, APRIL 1, 2010—The Heartland Institute, whose policy analysts have long been sharp critics of Gov. Charlie Crist’s plans for changing Florida’s property insurance system, today announced its support for a new program inspired by the governor’s statements.

Heartland’s research team suggests a multi-faith program of ritual, animal sacrifice, and magic spells to appease the various storm gods.

On August 22, 2009, the St. Petersburg Times reported Crist had inserted into Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall a prayer asking God to protect Florida from storms, and that he attributed Florida’s storm-free spell to divine intervention.

“Gov. Crist has repeatedly said that his own prayers have helped keep Florida safe from storms,” noted Christian Cámara, Florida director of The Heartland Institute’s Center on Risk, Regulation, and Markets. “Prayer is the best program he has developed.”

Other policies that Crist has supported, according to Cámara, are not so good. “His decision to continue subsidizing insurance in high-risk areas, discontinue a program to help families strengthen their homes, chase away private insurers and their capital, and recklessly expose all Floridians to the threat of enormous post-hurricane special taxes long after he leaves the governor’s mansion have done enormous damage to the state.”

“Gods and goddesses such as the Mesopotamian Iskur, Summanus (the Roman God of nighttime thunder), and Poseidon have an important role to play if Florida is to rely on divine intervention alone to keep itself safe from hurricanes,” said Eli Lehrer, national director of Heartland’s Center on Risk, Regulation, and Markets. “The notion that our failure to appease these deities has caused a high level of hurricane activity deserves to be taken as seriously as the rest of Gov.  Crist’s statements about insurance.”

Under the Heartland plan, ceremonial altars to various storm gods would be erected in auspicious locations determined through the reading of chicken entrails by expertly trained augers. A Florida State Temple of Storm God Appeasement would be constructed in Tallahassee, and a Quorum of 12 High Priests would be appointed to oversee rituals, spells, and animal sacrifices. Heartland proposes the governor appoint six of the priests, the House and Senate Majority Leaders two each, and the House and Senate Minority Leaders one each.

In keeping with its free-market perspective, Heartland urges that most animal sacrifices and magical rituals be performed privately, without government assistance. “The government would fail to follow the proper rituals and would therefore bring various storm gods’ fury on the people of Florida,” said Lehrer. “All praise Iskur!”

Note: Gov. Crist’s account of his prayer is reported by the St. Petersburg Times here: “Crist’s Wall Against Hurricanes is in Jerusalem,” The St. Petersburg Times, August 22, 2009, http://www.tampabay.com/incoming/crists-wall-against-hurricanes-is-in-jerusalem/1029820.