Fort Wayne’s Mayor Has a Solution for Rampant Violence: Prayer!

Tom Henry, the Mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana, wants to curb violence in his city, and he knows exactly how to do it: Lots and lots of prayer! (Interfaith prayer, even!)

Because why deal with gun safety when you can just ask Jesus to send you some bulletproof vests?

The event is primarily billed as a way to better unite the community, and to facilitate more appreciation of diversity.

But Henry hopes it will lead as well to neighborhoods that are safer.

No matter the religious tradition, prayer is accepted as a source of healing for pain, suffering and moral failure.

“We have a number of challenges in the United States right now, certainly, what’s going on in Washington is evident to all,” Henry said Tuesday, as he revealed plans for a May 5th prayer celebration at the Scottish Rite Center on West Berry Street.

Mayor Henry doesn’t need convincing that prayer can heal what ails a country, state, or city.

Great. During the next election, I hope the voters can pray for his victory while staying at home while more sensible people fill out ballots.

May 5th, not coincidentally, is just days after the National Day of Prayer.

The program is billed as an interfaith event — and the official announcement has no mention of non-religious people, though the news report says we’re invited, whatever that means (no word yet on how we’ll be included or ignored).

At least no taxpayer money is being used for the event:

The University of St. Francis, new owner of the Scottish Rite, is not charging for use of the facility.

Other participants are donating their time, and the cost of a small reception afterwards, Mayor Henry says he’s paying for that out of his own pocket.

That’s a good precaution. But the Mayor is forgetting the most important thing: This is a complete waste of time.

While he’s busy pretending to solve the problem, he’s evading taking any real, measurable actions.

Through praying together, organizers hope the community will come together and take a stand against problems such as violence, drugs and poverty. We shouldn’t have three young men gunned down in three days, which the city experienced last week, [co-organizer and leader of the Islamic Center of Fort Wayne, J. Tamir] Rasheed said.

I promise you that prayers reign supreme in communities where violence, drugs, and poverty run rampant. They don’t fix the problems. Better policy decisions could help, though, and that’s what the Mayor is ignoring, choosing instead to stage a useless photo op.

If I lived in Fort Wayne, I’d be pissed off at how the Mayor isn’t doing anything tangible to fix my city’s problems. If you live there, write letters and make calls to your local media outlets and let them know that this is unacceptable.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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