#GunShaming not #PrayerShaming

#GunShaming not #PrayerShaming December 3, 2015


The Mike Luckovich cartoon above should help explain (to the deliberately obtuse who claim not to understand) why people who say “stop praying and do something” are not opposed to prayer per se, but are saying yet again that prayer without action is meaningless, much as the Letter of James says faith without works is dead.

If you still don’t get it, read what Bob Cornwall, or Zack Hunt, or Thomas Whitley, or the Daily News has had to say.

This is not about “prayer shaming.” It is about shaming those who pray with guns held tightly in their hands, holding the nation hostage, as those of us who do not share their love for implements made for killing seek to make our nation a safer place.


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  • John MacDonald

    One would suppose that if there was even a small amount of efficacy to prayer, we would be living in a vastly different world from the one we currently inhabit. The cries of widows, orphans, and aliens seem to be falling on deaf ears – if Anyone is listening at all.

    • Or perhaps we have already been given the means and tools with which to address these issues. Perhaps we can already make the difference. We’ve been given the ability. Why should God intervene when he has already given us what we need to address this problem?

      • How does that make sense? Whatever “tools” you think we have been given, either we or the tools have failed with every mass shooting (for example) that occurs. So God stands idly by during mass shootings saying, “tsk, tsk, I gave you the tools, but you didn’t use them. Now you’ll just have to suffer death and physical torture … too bad … you should have listened.”

        I have children; if had the power to save them from pain or death, I wouldn’t hesitate, no matter what “sins” they had committed. If God exists, he isn’t much of a father.

        • Arne Johansen

          The tools = free will

        • From your post, it sounds like you are dealing with a lot of anger and maybe bitterness. That’s how it comes across to me. I know that. I understand that very well. It sounds as if you are denying the existence of God, or perhaps you are agnostic. That’s ok. Really it is.

          However, our responsibility remains the same, whether or not God exists. It is up to us to make the positive change in the world that we would like to see. I actually just blogged about that the night of the tragedy in San Bernardino.


          I hope you’re able to find the peace you are looking for.

          • I have no more anger and bitterness than every other American saddened by meaningless gun violence. Thank you for your concern for my peace, but I’m not looking for personal peace; I would prefer peace in the world. Since you seem unable to address the lack of logic in your first comment, I have no interest in your blog.

          • No worries. I thought I had addressed your concerns. No matter what, it is our responsibility to act. Whether or not you believe God exists, we need to act. Blaming God’s apparent lack of actions might be able to assuage our feelings for a bit, but it won’t change the situation.

            Good luck to you!

          • Does it make you feel smug and superior to ascribe feelings and motivations to me that I have not expressed?

            I have not blamed God’s lack of action to assuage my feelings. I have pointed out God’s lack of action to underscore the meaningless gestures of politicians who tweet “thoughts and prayers” in lieu of acting on gun control. Not surprising, considering how many garner campaign contributions from the NRA.

            Obviously, we have to act. We have no choice. But your rhetorical question “Why should God intervene when he has already given us what we need to address this problem?” makes no sense and adds nothing substantive to the discussion.

          • Sometimes when we read things online, we assign tone where it was not intended or meant. I can assure you that this was not my intention to appear smug.

            Plus, I disagree with you about God not giving us what we need to act. God has already done so. We have failed to utilize his gifts appropriately. That is where we have failed. Our inaction.

          • If you do not wish to appear smug, I would suggest that you refrain from attributing someone else’s argument to an attempt to assuage his feelings or to his “anger” and “bitterness”. I would agree that you assign tone where it is not intended or meant; although it appears that every time you assign the royal “we” to faulty motivations, you appear to be addressing what “I” have done. And that has the appearance of false humility.

            Of course we have what we “need to act” and should act, to control the proliferation of guns, to speak against terroristic ideologies, to help in the defense of nations against terroristic warlords, etc. Our ability to do this is no indication of the existence (much less benevolence) of God.

  • The politicians are shifting their rhetoric now:

    Ted Cruz
    “Yesterday’s horrific murder, in the wake of Paris, underscores we’re at a time of war whether or not the current administration realizes it”

    Calling this violence “war” gives far too much credit and distinction to these murderers. This is not war; it is cold-blooded murder.

    • Michael Wilson

      Wars can be cold blooded murder. War isn’t glamorous. That their attack did not deliver the same horrific level of killing they manage in the Middle east should not distract from the fact this the same organisation. This attack was carried out in solidarity with a state that has killed tens of thousands and sent millions fleeing. They just launced a much larger attack on Paris. What makes you sure it won’t happen here. What is next? Are we sure that this will stay contained? Will Russia and Iran beat them? How stable is the rest of the mideast? Turkey, Egypt, Saudi, Pakistan?

      • War conducted honorably cannot be cold blooded murderer. Civilians often die in wars accidentally as unintended targets. But there is a difference between collateral damage and the cold-blooded targeting of unsuspecting citizens.

        Of course we are at war; the U.S. has already invested more military spending against ISIS than any other country in the coalition and is stepping up the efforts with ground troops. Who do you think is denying this?

        My point is that the rhetoric should never lose sight of the fact that terrorism is much more than war. It is the cold-blooded murder of civilians, something condemned by the Geneva convention and many other international laws governing the conduct of war.

        • Michael Wilson

          Well, you criticized Cruz, who called the attack horrific murder, for saying we are at war with ISIS, which what you now acknowledge is the case. The impression you left is that you sided with those that don’t want to talk about ISIS, that say we are safe here and don’t worry about them, worry about guns, worry about disgruntled maniacs. Cruz says this crime is above the police, the FBI, it is in the realm of war.

          And who fights honorable war? Sure it’s a good idea, but history describes war long before their were rules. War is a domain were rules disappear and guns rule. It must never be invoked lightly, but this is not just crime like Robert Dear or the Aurora shooter, this war crime, crime cunducted within war. Of course I think these cases should be handled in civil channels, but they acted invservice not of just a gang or rabble rouser, but an army.

          • Who are these imaginary people who “don’t want to talk about ISIS”. Do not ascribe that straw man to me.

            Cruz accused the current administration of not realizing we are at war with terrorists, which is frankly idiotic. The current administration has been investing billions of dollars in the war against terrorists, long before the shootings in California. And though we are fighting this war overseas, already, our domestic police and FBI have to deal with violence at home whether you think it is “above them” or not.

            The ideology of a just war goes back centuries, and much of what we consider honorable warfare can be attributed to Augustine. Terrorism is to warfare what murder is to police action.

          • Michael Wilson

            Beau, first you griped that Cruz said this attack underscores that we are at a time of war, and war wasn’t appropriate, not that it was stupid for him to say the administration doesn’t realize it. If you want to change your mind, fine, but its insulting to me for you to pretend you said something else, and silly since this is all printed out here.

            Second, no historian uses the term war to refer to “just” war, all the barbaric land grabs and genocides of Ghenghis Khan, Hitler, Julius Caesar etc, are called wars. Calling it war isn’t some compliment.

            I have said that people like the San Bernadine killers should be handled by police, but the FBI and police are not equiped to handle ISIS and like groups. And as we saw in Paris, a domestic attack could overwhelm them to the point that the army would have to brought in. It is above them, because they can’t go and stop this orginization without the army and international diplomacy.

            When people like you want to skirt calling this war, it is not talking about ISIS. When the news papers respond to terroist attacks by calling for inconsequential gun control, they are avoiding ISIS. Maybe the President’s comming speech will change his patern of down playing this threat and falsely proclaiming success.

          • Insulted? Give me a break. You took my comment about the rhetoric of war and murder and accused me of siding “with those that don’t want to talk about ISIS, that say we are safe here and don’t worry about them” – an idiotic straw man that describes neither me nor my comment, and you’re insulted?! Just because I make an additional point about the false presumption in Cruz’s comment does not mean that I have changed my original contention. Cruz’s comment is only a case in point. When I point out that the rhetoric of war shifts our focus from the shame inherent in the murder of innocents, I am only repeating what public policy experts have been saying since the Iraq War. Just War principles have always been a vital part of national policy making on war. Your pretense of personal insult is laughable.

            People like me want to skirt calling what a war? Of course we are at war – nobody denies that! Read my lips – we are at war! Now what am I skirting? I’m getting a little tired of your fake accusations. The President has never downplayed the threat of ISIS in the Middle East or terrorism at home. And gun control in the U.S. can absolutely have an effect on domestic gun violence, including that incited by terrorists. The murderers in San Bernardino purchased their assault rifles legally in California. It’s ridiculous to say that we are “avoiding ISIS” by talking about gun control. We are doing both. The president is calling for gun control at home AND military action against ISIS – he’s been doing BOTH for years.

  • “It is about shaming those who pray with guns held tightly in their
    hands, holding the nation hostage, as those of us who do not share their
    love for implements made for killing seek to make our nation a safer

    -James, don’t just look at the immediate consequences of a policy decision. That’s not thinking like an economist.

    And, BTW, the chance of any significant gun control legislation on the Federal level being passed over the next eight years is less than 5%. You can’t change that. Not necessarily a good thing, but blowing against the gun lobby is like blowing against a hurricane: utterly futile.

    And why aren’t you asking whether Fundamentalist Islam is a mental illness here, just as you were asking if racism is a mental illness? Those Muslims killed way more people than Dylann Storm Roof.

    • arcseconds

      “Well, it looks like the odds are against us. The chances of successfully challenging segregation is remote over the next 8 years. So I guess I’ll shut up now — wouldn’t want to look silly to sensible people like Enopoletus Harding!”

      — what Martin Luther King said to no-one, ever.

      • It really was futile to challenge segregation in the 1910s, just like it was futile to challenge Stalinism during the 1930s or homophobia during the Middle Ages.

        Read Thomas Sowell’s writing on how, by 1964, most Black male-White male income convergence was already complete. The time was clearly ripe for the anti-segregation crowd to triumph.

        • arcseconds

          You seem very certain about historical counterfactuals. Are you sure you’re not just assuming what actually happened was inevitable?

          But anyway, even if you’re right, and change cannot happen at certain points in time (and actually, I agree this is the case some of the time), the question is whether action now can make it possible in the future.

          And of course the answer to this is ‘yes’. If women waited until the stars aligned and the probability of suffrage, equal rights, etc. became… when does it become non-silly to argue for something, EH? When it’s over 50%? … anyway, sitting around on your hands waiting for it to just happen will ensure the chances of change remain 0, forever.

          It wasn’t possible to achieve full legal equality with men in 1790, but writing A Vindication of the Rights of Women the probability of this happening sometime in the future is increased.

          • There are some contexts in which individual initiative is key. WWII. Chile in the 1970s and 1980s. Supreme Court appointments. Obergeffel and Citizens United.

            The expansion of women’s rights, the end of slavery, the demographic transition, and the rise of Civil Rights are not among them. Even Kuwait allows women to vote now. Men gave rights to women. Women never rose up to take them on their own, like Jews did the international film market, the Nazis did Ukraine, the Kochs did George Mason, and SJWs did atheism, the media, and the John MacArthur foundation.

            Sure, the vindication helped. But, ultimately, the triumph of women’s rights was inevitable. It would have happened without individual women pushing it along.

  • Michael Wilson

    I think the narrow partisanship of the Daily News is disgusting. Yes, prayer without action is an affront to God, but what is the Daily News standard for singling them out and not every one tweeting prayers, like the White House? Its their narrow focus on ill defined regulations which even some far left liberals ( http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/12/hillary_clinton_s_gun_control_plan_is_a_good_one.html )
    don’t think would have stopped this killing. But this killing was a terrorist act of war courtesy of ISIS, and I think the people that The Daily News thinks are such trolls have been on the fore front of challenging that threat. There not doing noting. This is just party politics, not a serious reflection on our faith vs. works.

    • The road to Raqqa and Nineveh runs through Ankara and Pennsylvania Avenue.