'View's' Behar: Prayer a 'Distraction'

"The View’s" Joy Behar considers prayer a "distraction" from achieving scientific results. On the November 14 edition of "The View," the co-hosts discussed Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue’s prayer service for drought relief. Whoopi Goldberg, surprisingly defended the governor, but Joy Behar, just like Rosie O’Donnell, fretted about the "separation of church and state," and hinted the Georgia residents should be praying to Al Gore instead.

"Well, they need to be praying to people who will fix global warming and take care of the environment because that's more realistic."

Co-host Sherri Shepherd asked Behar what she would say if indeed there is rain, which is in the forecast. Behar gave a dismissive response.

SHEPHERD: And what do you do when- gosh we have seen so many miracles- if it starts raining?

BEHAR: Well, then I would consider that a coincidence. But that's me because I'm the way I am.

Joy Behar continued her "distraction" line charging that prayer can distract us from advancements in the medical field. Shepherd and Whoopi responded that God provides to mankind this science for man to explore with Whoopi asking why we can’t have both prayer and science.

BEHAR: I don't object to prayer. I was raised Catholic. I got my communion, my confirmation, the baptism, the whole thing. It’s just that people pray to cure themselves of cancer and it doesn't happen. It's not an open-and-shut situation. I don't like to be distracted by prayer when there should be medicine, when there should be science. That's all I'm saying. It's like prayer to me is the cherry on the cake. It's not the cake. The cake is medical science.

SHEPHERD: Prayer for me is the person who tells me how to make the cake. Because if he tells me how to make the cake, then everything else falls into place.

[Applause]

BEHAR: Well, I know that this is an unpopular position that I take.

GOLDBERG: It's not unpopular to me because my question is why can't we have it all?

FOX: You can.

GOLDBERG: That's what I think. Why can’t we- I believe, if you believe in a smart God, which I do, that all of this information we have is directly there for us to grow from.

The entire transcript is below.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: You know, yesterday, the governor of Georgia held a prayer service outside on the mall-esque part of the, of the Capitol. He invited all denominations to come and pray, didn't make any, you know, say only you. He said everybody who wants to join in here can come and pray. And what they were praying for was praying for rain. Now, one of the things that I found astonishing is that, in watching different television programs, people seemed to have lost their mind that he would pray for rain. And I thought to myself, but the American Indians prayed for rain. Everyone prays for rain. What’s the problem? And people said, well, he's on the Capitol. But he wasn't. He was not in the Capitol where so you can't have any discussion about separation of church and state. But we are in a very interesting time with religion because people are really frightened it seems to me. Do you feel the same way?

JOY BEHAR: Now, wait a minute, before you go off that you say it's not separation, he is the governor. He is supposed to practice separation of church and state.

GOLDBEG: And he did, and he did.

BEHAR: Just because he wasn't in the Capitol steps I’m saying --

GOLDBERG: No, he wasn’t in the Capitol. Now, the separation, he can do whatever he wants to do outside of the building.

BEHAR: Even if he is the governor of Georgia?

GOLDBERG: Even if he's the governor of Georgia. If he wants to have a thing-

SHERRI SHEPHERD: I like that. We’ve done everything we can do. We’re trying to pray to somebody higher than us to make something happen.

BEHAR: Well, they need to be praying to people who will fix global warming and take care of the environment because that's more realistic.

SHEPHERD: But right then, that’s what’s going on there was they have been in a drought and they needed water. So they were praying for what was going on right now. And I'm sure everybody in that city would have agreed with him.

GOLDBERG: But, but, I guess my question, and jump in any time, my question is why is it a question? If he decides to do it -- I mean, he wasn't, and again he wasn’t inside the legislature. He wasn't anywhere where you could really say he was doing anything wrong and people, I mean people were vicious.

BEHAR: Well, that's not necessary, to be vicious about it. But I think that people are responding to what they perceive to be irrationality. In other words, you can pray until the cows come home, it may not rain. But that’s the point.

SHEPHERD: That's where faith comes in. It's not an irrational thing we have faith.

JORJA FOX: But I think there were three Protestant ministers there. And so the next time they do it, it would be great perhaps if there was a wider community, inter-denominational. And I think people will, will-

GOLDBERG: But they were all interfaith and a lot of folks came, a lot of folks of different colors, different faiths, a couple Buddhists were there, and a lot of interesting folks. And I just thought, well, listen, if it doesn't hurt the situation, what's the --

SHEPHERD: What do you got to lose? What do you have to lose?

BEHAR: It's a distraction from the fact that there is scientific evidence that we are in the midst of global warming, which is causing a lot of these droughts and fires. So let's focus on the rationality at of it instead-

SHEPHERD: Well, Joy, when we go through stuff and your pants are too short, and you’re feeling like your clothes are too tight. We know that there's global warming but you want it fixed right now. [laughter] I’m just saying that sometimes there’s issues- [applause] we know that there’s global warming. We know that there's global warming.

BEHAR: Yeah, so let’s might as well pray anyway. Yeah, except this is a governor of a state.

SHEPHERD: How do you know that he's not praying for the global warming?

BEHAR: Well, then let's hear that.

GOLDBERG: Here's the thing. There is a drought and we know that there's global warming and people want ways to do stuff, because the fact of the matter is that people in Georgia right now are in danger of losing all water by the end of the month. So even if they fix global warming tomorrow, they still got to get the water. So he's figuring, okay, we know that we're fixing this and, you know, Washington, you know how hard it is to talk about environmental things. People are like "oh! It’s the environment!" So he says you know what? I'm going to talk about the environment and I'm going to pray and in between the two of them something is going to happen and people will be able to flush their toilets and be comfortable again in Georgia.

BEHAR: Look, I agree with all of that and it’s fine for him to pray. I'm just telling you why people are objecting to it.

GOLDBERG: But so vehemently?

BEHAR: Well, that’s out of control.

GOLDBERG: That shocked me.

SHEPHERD: You know, I think that sometimes when you say I’m praying or when you talk about God, people get really upset.

FOX: Sensitive.

SHEPHERD: They get very sensitive about it. And I just go, what do you got to lose?

FOX: And absolutely invite Native American elders next time because if anyone can successfully bring rain.

GOLDBERG: There are a lot of Native Americans in the middle. If you really were looking for something. Because, you know, in 1986 this happened and the preacher prayed for rain and he takes great credit in the fact that a big storm happened.

SHEPHERD: And what do you do when- gosh we have seen so many miracles- if it starts raining?

BEHAR: Well, then I would consider that a coincidence. But that's me because I'm the way I am. But I think the Native Americans have been praying for casinos, I think, because that's coming true.

[Laughter and Applause]

GOLDBERG: You know what the Native Americans have been praying for? Getting away to see white people come flocking back to the land that they tried to toss off. Now that's what they're seeing because folks are flocking there. And people said "well, you can't do that, you have a sovereign state." They say, "yes, you told us it was sovereign. So you have no problem." So that's what they was praying for and lo and behold, it came.

BEHAR: I would love to see statistics on how many rain dances were done over the period of history and how much rain has actually come. I’m curious I want some studies, perhaps. I'm a pragmatic person. Let me see the studies, then I'll pray, too.

SHEPHERD: I just want to let you know that they said, they said, the producer told me the forecast it’s calling for rain in Georgia.

BEHAR: Well, you showed me!

SHEPHERD: Thank you, lord!

[Applause]

GOLDBERG: Now, it depends how vehemently people were praying because if they prayed too hard, you know, it could be a problem because this is a drought. I’m just saying.

BEHAR: I don't object to prayer. I was raised Catholic. I got my communion, my confirmation, the baptism, the whole thing. It’s just that people pray to cure themselves of cancer and it doesn't happen. It's not an open-and-shut situation. I don't like to be distracted by prayer when there should be medicine, when there should be science. That's all I'm saying. It's like prayer to me is the cherry on the cake. It's not the cake. The cake is medical science.

SHEPHERD: Prayer for me is the person who tells me how to make the cake. Because if he tells me how to make the cake, then everything else falls into place.

[Applause]

BEHAR: Well, I know that this is an unpopular position that I take.

GOLDBERG: It's not unpopular to me because my question is why can't we have it all?

FOX: You can.

GOLDBERG: That's what I think. Why can’t we- I believe, if you believe in a smart God, which I do, that all of this information we have is directly there for us to grow from.

BEHAR: If He's so smart, how do you explain, how do you explain George Bush?