After yet another horrific mass shooting in America, Paul Ryan had some words of wisdom on Twitter when he said “The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now.” Ryan was criticized for giving an empty platitude instead of trying to create actual policy change. When asked about his comments on Fox News, Ryan said:
“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.
And it is the right thing to do, is to pray in moments like this because you know what? Prayer works.”
“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.”
Okay for the millionth time: People are not upset about prayer. They are upset when people use prayer instead of actually making any changes.
I’m part of the “secular left.” I also don’t care if people need to pray after a horrible tragedy. I understand that prayer and religion can give many people comfort. I’ve written and studied how religious belief can reduce anxiety. I don’t think the vast majority of the “secular left” wants people to stop praying.
Yes, prayer might make you individually feel better about what happened. It may help the grieving process. That’s all fine. But prayer does not help prevent more mass shootings from occurring. That is what people are upset about.
We don’t want to hear more about “thoughts and prayers” and then no substantial policy change to try and fix the problem.
Paul Ryan wants to talk about “polarization and disunity.” Well I would argue that doing nothing to stop the incredible rate of mass shootings is going to be much more divisive.