Who Are They For, Really?
Here we go again: the demoralizing routine of another mass shooting in America. The murders, the news reports, the body count, the police making a public statement, the pictures of victims, the crying family members.
And the inevitable ‘thoughts and prayers’ from cowardice politicians.
Through the years, we have seen an endless stream of ‘thoughts and prayers’ offered by politicians who feel compelled to offer some form of condolences to the families whose lives have been ripped apart.
Here is a stream of ‘thoughts and prayers’ compiled by The Daily Show.
It seems like the whole ‘thoughts and prayers’ routine is just that: routine. It seems like it is calculated, leaving those offering the ‘thoughts and prayers’ looking hollow, looking like they are insincere.
Here are the ‘thoughts and prayers’ offered by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz after the attack in Allen, Texas:
Heidi and I are praying for the families of the victims of the horrific mall shooting in Allen, Texas. We pray also for the broader Collin County community that’s in shock from this tragedy.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 7, 2023
It seems as though we have all seen this before. And it makes me wonder…
Who are these ‘thoughts and prayers’ really for?
Are they for the dead? Prayers for the dead offer no solace.
Are they for those who remain? The families, friends, and other victims of the shooting recovering in the hospital? Are they for the hundreds who were witness to the murders that day, who will now and forever be too terrified to go shopping there, or perhaps anywhere–who may never feel safe leaving home again?
We can ponder these questions, but those who offer their ‘thoughts and prayers’ never seem to offer anything beyond that: after they make their ‘thoughts and prayers’ offering, they vanish into thin air. They never appear at a funeral of the slain; never show up in the state or federal legislature to work on gun control measures that might reduce or end the incessant gun violence.
The only place they seem ready to appear is on Fox News, where they can repeat their rhetoric about mental illness being the cause–not guns. Where they spin yarns of nonsense about how new gun laws would not have prevented this massacre. And they go on and on, having forgotten their ‘thoughts and prayers.’
And it got me thinking, “What’s in those ‘thoughts and prayers’ they offer?”
Is Ted Cruz thinking about the 6-year old boy who will now grow up without a family? Does Ted think about how that young child will always remember watching his family get slaughtered in front of his own eyes? Will Senator Cruz give even one thought to doing even one thing to ease that child’s lifelong burden of pain?
Will the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, think about how the blood ran out of the bodies of those murdered on his watch, or will he simply think about how he can restore consumer’s faith in going back to shopping there, supporting the Texas economy? Will he give any thought to how his lax gun regulations have permitted anyone and everyone in Texas to buy a semi-automatic rifle? Has he had any thoughts on how he contributed to the hateful poison this neo-Nazi believed in?
Will any of the legislators in Texas who voted to make it easy to obtain a firearm spend any time in their ‘thoughts and prayers’ considering their credit in this massacre? Will any of those who voted to reduce mental health spending in Texas recognize they contributed to these murders?
They repeatedly post that they are sending ‘thoughts and prayers’ but I can’t for the life of me figure out what they could be praying for: more guns?
Abbott and his Republican cohorts–all generously supported by NRA blood money–have repeatedly stated that the solution to all this gun violence is to arm more citizens, to put more guns into the hands of Texans.
Think about that for one minute: more guns (to fight the problem) in the hands of Texans while claiming the issue is really mental health (while reducing money for mental health). If the problem truly is mental health, how will more guns fix that? Maybe you should have done more ‘thoughts and prayers’ before you put out those policies.
But what exactly are these men praying for: a good guy with a gun?
Most of these right-wing political folks claim Jesus as their savior, so I ask–what are you asking Jesus to do? Give you more ammunition?
Jesus was a pacifist: when Peter cut off the ear of a Roman soldier, Jesus told him that those who live by the sword die by the sword. Hmm: I wonder how that could apply to today’s gun issue.
Those who live by the gun will die by the gun.
Prayers are not just hollow statements one makes: they are conversations with God, and when one submits a prayer, one should expect that prayer to be answered. But prayers alone aren’t enough, and the Bible tells Christians that explicitly.
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:17)
Prayer, without action, is worthless to God.
Saying you are praying without acting on that faith, is dead, just like those shooting victims. And no amount of ‘thoughts and prayers’ will prevent the next random act of violence.
You must act within the faith you have: you must act to end gun violence. If you believe these murders are the result of a growing mental health crisis, you must act to support an increase in mental health accessibility–not do the opposite.
When you do the opposite Governor, you prove you have not prayed to Jesus but to the god of the gun–the NRA. When you refuse to attend the funerals of the dead, when you refuse to visit the wounded in the hospital, when you refuse to call a Special Session to address increasing funding for mental health programs, you show the world that you do not believe in God because you do not follow His Word: you refuse to act, as required by your own stated faith.
To those who call themselves after Christ, yet refuse to act on behalf of those in our society being mowed down left and right by guns, I call you liars: you are no better than Satan himself. You are sons of Satan, who lied with every breath.
Whatever your ‘thoughts and prayers’ have been, they have been ineffective in stopping the violence, slowing the spread of mental illness, or easing the burden of those who have lived through these acts of terror.
From where I sit, you are contributors to these murders, accessories to the deaths of all those killed on your watch. Instead of calling yourself after Jesus, you line your pockets with NRA gold, and don’t resemble Christ, but another from his time:
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