A Rant Against Spiritual Solutions and For Use of Calculators

This rant was delivered by Bill Maher of “Real Time” a couple of days ago. I thought it was pretty good, so I transcribed it for you to read. Here goes:


Last Week, [Texas] Governor Rick Perry announced that he had rented out a 70,000-seat stadium in Houston for something called “The Response”,  which sounds like a home pregnancy test but which actually is, to quote the governor, a “Christian prayer service to provide spiritual solutions to the many challenges we face as a nation.” Or as stadium employees are calling it, “Batshit Day.”

I guess the idea is to get together in a big group and pray all at once, and that way the signal is stronger and God doesn’t lose you when he’s going through a canyon.

But here on planet Reality, may I point out that there is no such thing as spiritual solutions to national problems. If that’s where we are as a country; if our official government policy is “Yee-Haw! Jesus take the wheel!” then we’re dead already.

On his Jesus-palooza website, Perry writes “There is hope for America. It lies in heaven, and we will find it on our knees.” He also says that some problems are beyond our power to solve.

What? I thought we [Americans] were the can-do people. And if Perry thinks that only God  can solve our problerms, then why is he even in government? Why doesn’t he just stay home and light a bunch of candles lke Cissy Spacek’s mom in [the movie] Carrie?

Here’s an opposing view. Not only are our problems NOT beyond our power to solve, but they are actually fairly easy to solve. You have a giant budget deficit, like Perry has in Texas? Raise taxes! Federal tax [rates] haven’t been this low since the 1950’s. And THAT, plus two wars and a recession, are the reason we have a huge deficit.

It’s not because God is angry about the gay kissing on Glee.

It doesn’t require prayer to solve.

It requires a calculator. [Much applause]

Politicians like to say “We need new ideas.”


“New ideas” is just a secular version of “spiritual solutions”: something that will magically fix everything. What new idea is going to fix our health care crisis? A magic pill that makes obese children crap out gold bricks?

We don’t need new ideas. We need the balls to implement the ideas we already know work:

  • Cut corporate welfare
  • Slash the defense budget
  • Tax the rich
  • Support the strong unions that created a middle class in the first place
  • Build infrastructure, and
  • Take the profit out of health care.

By the way, Rick Perry isn’t just talking when he says spiritual solutions. Back in April, faced with a devastating drought [in Texas], Perry did what any solutions-oriented, 21st-century civil servant would do, and he proclaimed a Day of Prayer for Rain.

Because we’re all Ancient Mayans now.

Here’s a map of what Texas looked like back in April [with about 5% of the state in red, “exceptionally dry”], and here’s the Eden that it is today [2 months later: about 65% of the state in red].

In the words of Sister Mary Ignatius, ‘God answers all your prayers, and sometimes the answer is “No”.’

Published in: on June 19, 2011 at 1:53 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thank you for transcribing this! I couldn’t find the video on youtube or the HBO site anywhere. I am posting to my FB.


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