Rod Dreher talks about a New Thing that happened in response to the San Bernardino shootings.
These two reactions, policy-making and praying, are portrayed as mutually exclusive, coming from totally contrasting worldviews. Elsewhere on Twitter, full-on prayer shaming set in: Anger about the shooting was turned not toward the perpetrator or perpetrators, whose identities are still unknown, but at those who offered their prayers.
I think that is because it is easier to go off on the internet on people who pray than to actually do something about mass murders, a knotty issue of mental health and law.
I too am against offering prayers as a purely perfunctory or therapeutic gesture, it seems cheap. But prayer, serious prayer, is inseparable from action. It changes hearts, and creates new habits and perspectives. The “prayer shamers” are being superficial and dumb.
And, once again, if you are not reading Rod Dreher, start now. Click the link above. No excuses.
UPDATE: Ace of Spades, who variously defines himself as atheist or agnostic, has another take on the prayer-shaming phenomena here.
Ace’s diagnosis’ is that it is a simple case of the shamers wanting to appear smarter, even though (he asserts) they got the idea from a TV show, and TV watchers are sooo smart.
Of course, the idea was earlier that this event must cause us to actually act — when they thought this was a plain mass shooting situation. Then, they thought mere thoughts and prayers weren’t enough.
Now that we’re finding out this was terrorism, watch how quickly they decided that changes in policy and action are not actually required– and that the simple sentiments of thoughts and prayers ought to suffice.
That is, when this looked like another case of a crazy guy with a gun – a problem Republicans have no answer for – they demanded action (gun control) not prayers. Now that we realize this was three Muslims with guns – a problem Democrats have no answer for – they will retreat to offering prayers.