05 February 2016

Prayer as Action

Paul Ryan talked about prayer as action at the National Prayer Breakfast in response to recent criticism of lawmakers calling for prayer rather than changing laws, in particular regarding gun control.

Now, I do agree with Ryan that prayer can be a powerful action.  I don't think there are any circumstances where it's inappropriate (although there are certainly times when you should keep it to yourself- you can always pray privately), but while it can be your first response, it is very rare that it should be your only response.  

When I hear about a horrific mass shooting, I do pray for the people affected.  That's my first response. However, I want to help people in a way that actually makes them feel like I'm trying to help them and prayer is not the best way to do that in many cases.  I want our laws to change and only praying for people who were hurt doesn't stop other people from getting hurt in the future.  I vote for people who will change laws.  I advocate for changes in the law. In the end though, there isn't much I can do.  But our political leaders have the power to do something. If we set up a system where things are more likely to happen than need praying about, then we should fix it.   

I do think that this argument played out differently because the topic was gun control.  Republicans have made it extremely clear that they don't have any desire to change gun control laws so arguing about prayer instead makes sense politically.

So Paul Ryan, your refusal to take legislative action on gun control and many other topics does bother me a great deal. I am frustrated that you are dodging your responsibility to make this country safer by acting like your religious rights aren't being respected.  You can pray all you want- no one is stopping you.  You have freedom of religion. But as Speaker of the House, you have been given the power and authority to *do* something.  So do it.

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