Tweets like this have prompted howls of outrage from the tenderer blossoms among conservative Christians (i.e., all of them):
Your "thoughts" should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your "prayers" should be for forgiveness if you do nothing – again.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) December 2, 2015
The more panicky among that set see “prayer shaming” as yet another Satan-inspired attack on their religious liberty and an opening salvo in a larger movement that will ultimately drive Christians back into the catacombs to paint crude fishes on their chests.
But it’s not just hysterics like Dreher and self-awareness deficient hypocrites like the Erickiest Erick of Them All who came down with a raging case of the white-hot fantods. The Atlantic’s Emma Green published a remarkably stupid column on the outrage of prayer shaming:
There are many assumptions packed into these attacks on prayer: that all religious people, and specifically Christians, are gun supporters, and vice versa. That people who care about gun control can’t be religious, and if they are, they should keep quiet in the aftermath of yet another heart-wrenching act of violence. At one time in American history, liberals and conservatives shared a language of God, but that’s clearly no longer the case; any invocation of faith is taken as implicit advocacy of right-wing political beliefs.
It should be noted that those assumptions are Green’s. They aren’t shared by me, and in all likelihood, they aren’t shared by all of the people Green has called out as “prayer shamers.” However, if Green wants to lay blame for some folks’ belief that the most ostentatiously Christian among us are conservatives, maybe she should start with the Christian fanatics who’ve seized control of the Republican Party and used legislative channels to impose their theocratic views on the rest of us.
But that’s not what makes Green’s column so astoundingly obtuse. Rather, it’s this: She’s ignoring the context that produces the “prayer shaming” she decries, i.e., the fact that we’ve had about as many mass shootings in 2015 as we’ve had days of the year, and that we’re goddamn sick and fucking tired of hearing the people who could take concrete action to address this sorry state of affairs offer “thoughts and prayers” and nothing else.
It’s not the “thoughts and prayers” that are the problem — it’s the “nothing else.” That should be obvious to a toddler, let alone a managing editor at The Atlantic.
ETA: And another thing:
MATTHEW 6:6: But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Shorter Jeebus: Stay off Twitter, assholes!