In an interview with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham on Monday, Paul Ryan lamented the tendencies of the “secular left” to dismiss calls for “thoughts and prayers” after mass shootings, in favor of discussing actual legislation that might do something to prevent them. Of course, anything we might actually do to prevent mass shootings would be something that would not go over very well with the Republican base, so Ryan is taking a different tack. He is saying that prayer works.
Via The Hill:
“It’s disappointing. It’s sad and this is what you’ll get from the far secular left. People who do not have faith, don’t understand faith, I guess I’d have to say,” Ryan told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on “The Ingraham Angle” when asked about the criticism.
“And, it is the right thing to do, is to pray in moments like this because you know what? Prayer works.”
Now, as I am far from the first to point out, this shooting literally happened in a church. A church where, one would assume, people were praying. That did not appear to stop Devin Patrick Kelley from shooting them.
According to an even more appalling person writing for The Federalist, Lutheran pastor Hans Fiene, this shooter was actually God’s way of answering their prayers.
Because now they get to go to heaven EVEN SOONER!
So when a madman with a rifle sought to persecute the faithful at First Baptist Church on Sunday morning, he failed. Just like those who put Christ to death, and just like those who have brought violence to believers in every generation, this man only succeeded in being the means through which God delivered his children from this evil world into an eternity of righteousness and peace.
If this is true, we might as well just make murder legal right now and call it a day. Imagine all the people who could be in heaven right now if we didn’t send all those very helpful murderers to jail? Why are we letting Charles Manson go to waste in a jail cell when surely he could have encouraged several generations of disaffected youths to send people right to that eternity of righteousness and peace?
Though at this point that does seem more likely than getting any kind of gun control passed.
Even if I did believe in God, I would still believe that more than just prayer was necessary. In fact, many people who do believe in God think more than just prayer is necessary, just in general. I happen to know a lot of Catholics — who, unlike Paul Ryan, actually give a shit about poor people — and they don’t just sit around all day praying for poor people to have food or for homeless people to have a place to sleep at night. They feed them. They shelter them. And yes, they pray too, but they do things to make sure it happens.
Horrible things happen all the time. In nearly every other instance we are allowed to discuss and implement practical solutions. In 1982, someone went and put cyanide capsules in a bunch of Tylenol bottles in the Chicago area. Since then, we have tamper resistant packaging on pill bottles, and we have not had any further incidents of that kind. Does Paul Ryan think that perhaps we should have just prayed for that to never happen again? Would that have been just as effective? I’m gonna say no.
Ryan, of course, does not say how prayer is supposed to “work” in this situation. He is terribly vague about it. He only knows that the “secular left” not believing this is what is tearing this country apart.
“And I know you believe that and I believe that,” Ryan told Ingraham about the effectiveness of prayer.
“And when you hear the secular left doing this thing, no wonder you’ve got so much polarization and disunity in this country when people think like that.”
Is unity really the answer here? I mean, if we all collectively clapped our hands at the same time, while saying “I believe in a country where a mass shooting doesn’t happen every week,” we’d all be very unified. Unfortunately, that would do jack shit to prevent some asshole from getting hold of an AR-15 and shooting up a church.
No one is telling religious people they can’t say a novena for the survivors and the families of the victims. That’s not a thing. What we are saying is that prayer — while surely comforting for people — is not the solution to this particular problem. What we are saying is that we feel a certain kind of way when people like Paul Ryan want to offer us nothing but prayer while refusing to talk about solutions.
Paul Ryan and his ilk have had more than enough time to test out this “thoughts and prayers magic away mass shootings” theory. They’ve tried it over and over again, and even started demanding that people specifically not talk about things we can do to prevent them directly after a tragedy. Clearly, the results of this have not been good. Perhaps it is time to try a different tack.
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