A moving piece by AmSpec’s Quin Hillyer, about the movement to pray for and support Starla Chapman, a very sick little girl in Alabama. Hillyer writes about how shared religious faith brought black folks and white folks together in prayer and solidarity for three-year-old Starla — and how hard this is for some people to grasp:
Here’s what the sneering elites don’t understand: Out here in flyover land, people believe. We really believe. That’s why several hundred people would gather on a dreary winter night, trying to keep the breeze from extinguishing our candles, listening to prayers, and to live singers with lovely voices lifting songs written especially for Starla, and to a motivational lay speaker, and to a pastor’s stem-winding call to faith, and to more songs, and again to more prayers. Dozens of black pre-schoolers stood there under the oaks, perfectly well behaved for nearly two full hours. So did an octogenarian white factory owner, and so did people of just about every imaginable time and culture and stratum of life in between. College-age folks wore brightly colored homemade t-shirts bearing Starla’s “Just Trust” message; a black homeless guy walked up and said he usually sleeps in the park and wondered what it was all about.
After taking in the prayers for a few minutes, he said, “Today’s my 47th birthday. This is nice.” After a few more, he added, “I can tell, that little girl is already healing. She’s right over at that hospital [just down the street from Lyons Park] and she can feel these prayers, and she’s already better than she was before this started. I can tell it.”
I interviewed my late sister’s oncologist the other day. He told me that in his 26 years of practicing oncology, he encountered a number of patients who started out not believing in God, but only can think of one, maybe two, who died as confirmed atheists.
UPDATE: I will grant you that the “sneering elites” remark was gratuitous and took away from an otherwise moving essay. But the “sneering elites” crack is not why I posted this.