ATLANTA (AP) _ As Georgia descends deeper into drought, Governor
Perdue has ordered water restrictions, launched a legal battle and asked President Bush for help.
Tomorrow, the governor will call on a higher power: He is joining lawmakers and ministers on the steps of the state Capitol to pray for rain.
While such public prayer vigils may turn heads in other parts of the nation, they're mostly shrugged off in the South. Turning to the heavens for help is not only common but sometimes even politically expedient.
The political instinct to pray for rain in the South isn't hard to understand. Studies show religion plays a more active role in the lives of Southerners, politicians included.
Perdue won't be the first governor to hold a call for public prayer during the epic drought gripping the Southeast. Alabama Governor Bob Riley issued a proclamation declaring a week in July as "Days of Prayer for Rain'' to "humbly ask for His blessings and to hold us steady in times of difficulty.''
And Perdue's move certainly hasn't provoked much opposition. The
loudest critic has been the Atlanta Freethought Society. The is expecting about a dozen of its 125 members to protest at the vigil.