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Are governor's prayers protecting Florida?

Are governor's prayers protecting Florida?

A few years back, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin enlivened a Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration when he said the reason the Gulf Coast had been battered by "hurricane after hurricane" was that "God is mad at America."

On Friday, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist suggested that the Lord has no problem with the Sunshine State.

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Crist said he wasn't trying to take credit, the Associated Press is reporting, but he told a group of real estate agents on Friday that he had had prayer notes placed in Jerusalem's Western Wall each year of his administration, and no major storms had hit Florida. He noted that just before his election in 2006, Florida had been affected by a total of eight hurricanes in 2004 and 2005.

"Do you know the last time it was we had a hurricane in Florida?" Crist asked, according to the AP. "It's been awhile. In 2007, I took my first trade mission. Do you know where I went?"

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He spoke of traveling to Israel, visiting the Western Wall and inserting a note that read, "Dear God, please protect our Florida from storms and other difficulties. Charlie."

After Nagin spoke in 2006, then-colleague Joanna Daemmrich and I wrote a story about the penchant some believers have for seeing the divine hand in natural and human events.

At the time, the Rev. David Dockery, president of Union University in Jackson, Tenn., told us that it may be possible to look back over decades or centuries and reflect on the righteousness of an historic event.

"God does reveal himself through nature and human experience," said Dockery, a Baptist. "But it is impossible, or nearly impossible, for us to understand and interpret those things within the experience itself. It usually requires a time of reflection, looking back upon the event, to know what good God was trying to bring out of an event, or what kind of judgment he was performing at the time."

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