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Highway to Hell: Pray for Us, Pedestrian Sinners — Carectomy - Removing Cars from People

Highway to Hell: Pray for Us, Pedestrian Sinners

by Joshua Liberles on February 23, 2008

Highway35 Highway to Hell: Pray for Us, Pedestrian Sinners
As if there was any question that our culture worships cars, a group of fundamentalist Christians is now exalting a long stretch of Interstate-35 as the “holy highway.” From Laredo, Texas to Duluth, Minnesota, evangelicals are blessing the blacktop and proselytizing to those they deem depraved (like gays an lesbians, for example) through what they call a “purity siege.” They drive their Hummers to gay bars and brothels to condemn “sinners” and win converts, stopping frequently at gas stations for group prayer sessions and Slim Jims. They’re also praying for societal perfection, a la Miss America: “We prayed to eliminate systemic poverty, we prayed for safety, we prayed for people caught in drug addictions, and trapped in their lives and hopeless," Cindy Jacobs, founder of the highway prayer movement, told NPR.

Don’t get me wrong—these are all nice, general, pretty prayers. But, I’m biased: wouldn’t it be more effective to take action to stop global warming, or, at the very least, say some prayers to that effect, and, meanwhile, try to rely less on your car (i.e. rollerblade to Bible study)? If the apocalypse is coming, my guess is that it’s due to climate change, not hedonism. (Then again, I’m a highway heathen.)

Jacobs was first struck by the seemingly spiritual nature of I-35 while reading the Bible. She told NPR:

"One day we were praying, and we were reading Isaiah 35, Verse 8, which talks about a highway for holiness," she says. [I’m no theologian, but does the Bible really mention a “highway,” at least as we know it?] "And we were thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if along this Highway 35 here, that there was a special time where God just touched everybody that lives in all parts of this highway?’"

Jacobs then developed what she calls a "prayer strategy" for people from Laredo, Texas, to Duluth, Minn., to pray for 35 days along Interstate 35.

In Texas and all along I-35, the movement, called Light the Highway, has become nearly as popular as pickup trucks.

From NPR:

Light the Highway’s web site lists 22 churches and prayer groups along the interstate — in places such as Laredo and Duluth as well as San Antonio, Dallas and Austin, Texas; Oklahoma City and Kansas City, Mo.; Des Moines, Iowa, and Minneapolis. According to the site, participants do not believe that Isaiah actually refers to Interstate 35. Rather, it says, the Bible is used symbolically "as a catalyst to begin praying, just like those who live in Interstate 40 can use Isaiah 40:3."

Fortunately, pedestrians are free to travel without worrying about unwanted proselytizing. As for what Jesus would do, Kanye West has the answer:

Photo via flickr by Imelda & munsterinc.


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  5. Prairie View A&M Students March to Democracy

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Galls May 7, 2008 at 2:18 am

New York’s Penn and Union stations, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Chicago

While I understand you are referring to the Union Stations in DC, LA and Chicago, at first I thought you imagined NY had multiple union stations.


2 Penelope May 8, 2008 at 9:40 pm

That’s my birthday! :D

I should ride a train somewhere to celebrate, huh.


3 Miki May 14, 2008 at 3:33 am

I’ve created a playlist for National Train Day on my radio station, Radio Sweetheart ( It features steam-powered pop from the likes of Bloc Party, the Clash, David Bowie, the Ethiopians, James Brown, the Magnetic Fields, Neko Case, Robyn Hitchcock, and Tom Waits. To see when it’s playing next, see my schedule ( Happy listening!


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