RomneyMegaPrayer.Com: Part Satire, Part Social Experiment

With Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog giving President Obama a 91.6% chance of winning (you should absolutely still vote, anyway) reelection today, you could say that Mitt Romney doesn’t have a prayer. But he’s got more than that; he’s got a Mega Prayer. Romney Mega Prayer is a website that called for a group prayer Monday night, to help elevate Mitt’s chances. It has nearly 20,000 ‘likes’ on facebook, and it seems to contain all the sentiments that a Christian conservative could get behind.


The page, which is set up as one long flow chart, makes its case:

  • Christians overwhelmingly support Romney.
  • Quotes the Bible on the power of group prayer.
  • Links to ‘scientific studies’ that ‘prove’ group prayer is effective.
  • Cites an historical example of Christians defeating Muslim invaders (wink, wink) through prayers. And swords.

 

Battle of Lepanto

The people on Twitter seem unsure whether or not to believe it’s real; you can find plenty of progressives and conservatives at #RomneyMegaPrayer, reacting with amusement, disdain, and hope, all at once. But there were some subtle clues that the site was more tongue-in-cheek than glory-to-god; a bosomy cartoon hostess, and a thinly veiled suggestion that prayer is for Christians only:

Note that while you’re instructed to,”pray in the manner that is best for you,” the only option available to check is, “I am a Christian.”

People were uncertain of the sincerity of the web page, and for good reason. This election has provided so many ideas and statements that strain credulity, the lines between satire and reality have been blurred nearly beyond recognition. We’ve had rallies where attendees weren’t permitted to leave, we’ve had Paul Ryan doing pretend charity work; even ‘live video’ of Obama’s Kenyan birth.

I was taken in (along with several others, including Rachel Maddow and Paul Krugman) on a Roger Simon Politico article, saying Ryan’s nickname for Mitt Romney was, ‘The Stench.’ And there’s been plenty of input from the pulpit, threatening divine retribution for voting for the ‘wrong guy.’ Not to mention, one or two people who seem unclear on the whole concept of Christianity.

So is Romney Mega Prayer for real? No.

It was created by Sean Tevis, a Kansas City native who created the site as a response to the number of his friends and family who seemed willing to believe anything they found online about President Obama. In an NBC interview, he explained:

“It all started around the time I saw [people talking] about Obama’s intention to build an $8 billion abortion complex,”┬áTevis told NBC News, referring to a popular (but satirical) story published by The Onion. “How can people believe that? But I know people who think Stephen Colbert really is a conservative TV host.”

That led him to wonder, “Is it possible to build something that some people will love because they think it’s real,and other people will love because they know it’s satire?”

It seems that the answer is yes.

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