Finley Peter Dunne's take on war prayers, "On Prayers for Victory,"
from _Mr. Dooley in Peace and in War_ (Boston: Small, Maynard and
Co., 1898), might be usefully applied to today's religious conflicts. It
makes essentially the same point as Twain's "The War Prayer" but
the imagery is much more fun:
It looks to me," said Mr. Dooley, "as though me frind Mack'd got tired
iv th' Sthrateejy Board, an' was goin' to lave th' war to th' men in
"How's that?" asked Mr. Hennessy, who has at best but a clouded
view of public affairs.
"Well," said Mr. Dooley, "while th' sthrateejans have been wearin' out
their jeans on cracker-boxes in Wash'n'ton, they'se been goin' on th'
mos' deadly conflict iver heerd tell iv between th' pow'rful preachin'
navies iv th' two counthries. Manila is nawthin' at all to th' scenes iv
carnage an' slaughter, as Hogan says, that's been brought about be
these desthroyers. Th' Spanyards fired th' openin' gun whin th' bishop
iv Cades, a pow'rful turreted monitor (ol' style), attackted us with both
for'ard guns, an' sint a storm iv brimstone an' hell into us. But th'
victhry was not f'r long with th' hated Spanyard. He was answered be
our whole fleet iv preachers. Thin he was jined be th' bishop iv
Barsaloona an' th' bishop iv Mahdrid an' th' bishop iv Havana, all
battle-ships iv th' first class, followed be a fleet iv cruisers r-runnin'
th' way fr'm a full-ar-rmored vicar gin'ral to a protected parish priest.
To meet thim, we sint th' bishop iv New York, th' bishop iv
Philadelphia, th' bishop iv Baltimore, an' th' bishop iv Chicago,
accompanied be a flyin' squadhron iv Methodists, three Presbyteryan
monitors, a fleet iv Baptist submarine desthroyers, an' a formidable
array iv Universalist an' Unitaryan torpedo boats, with a Jew r-ram.
Manetime th' bishop iv Manila had fired a solid prayer, weighin' a ton,
at San Francisco; an' a masked batthry iv Congregationalists replied,
inflictin' severe damage. Our Atlantic fleet is now sarchin' f'r th' inimy,
an' the bishop iv New York is blockadin' th' bishop iv Sandago de
Cuba; an' they'se been an exchange iv prayers between th' bishop iv
Baltimore an' th' bishop iv Havana without much damage.
"Th' Lord knows how it'll come out. First wan side prays that th' wrath
iv Hiven'll descind on th' other, an' thin th' other side returns th'
compliment with inthrest....