Amidst Mass Shootings, People Seek Prayer and Prayer Shaming

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Angela Wills

Is there any power in prayer?

Quotes from prestigious Republicans regarding the murders in San Bernardino were featured on the front page of the New York Daily News. Headline writers, however, sensed an underlying theme.

Tweets were trending from Dr. Rand Paul, who tweeted, “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims.” Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted, “Our prayers are with the victims” and Speaker Paul Ryan, also tweeted, “Please keep the victims….in your prayers.”

Front page of the Daily News read: “GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS,” all in bold letters, and printed beneath it “Cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes.”

This sparked a Twitter debate with comments similar to those of Dem. Sen. Chris Murphy-Connecticut.

“Your ‘thoughts’ should be about steps to take to stop this carnage,” is what the Connecticut Senator tweeted. “Your ‘prayers’ should be for forgiveness if you do nothing –again.”

Statements from the staff of the center later explained that his words were directed at politician who had the task of voting on gun policies, not at citizens who sought comfort in prayer.

Zack Ford of ThinkProgress presented an even sharper view. He tweeted, “If you think talking to the voice in your head is helping anyone but yourself, you’re wrong. I’m not going to be bashful about saying so.

Some people weren’t receptive to his way of thinking and to some, prayer shaming was a new concept altogether.

Recent alerts citing shootings and massacres have plagued the country in recent weeks. They would come across at anytime of the day or week. Names of victimized towns would ring out- Colorado Springs one week, San Bernardino last week, Roseburg, Oregon in October, Platte, South Dakota in September, Lafayette, Louisiana in July, Omaha, in January- and names of victims, heroes, and assailants would at times, seem to all run in the same sentence.

The crimes seem to happen so close together that there isn’t enough time to properly mourn and come to term with what the last massacre. Before long, the television, radios and podcasts are overwhelmed with familiar voices stating that the latest acts of gun violence support both sides of the spectrum of those who say that gun regulations aren’t effective, as well as those who say that there is a need for stricter control on guns.

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