Paul Ryan prayers shooting

Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY 2.0

House Speaker defends his calls for sending ‘thoughts and prayers’ for the victims

The House Speaker Paul Ryan drew criticism for offering “thoughts and prayers.” Atheists and other non-religious groups pointed out that at this time the House has to take some serious action rather than simply send ‘thoughts and prayers,’ especially since the victims of the shooting on Sunday were people praying in a church.

“It’s disappointing, it’s sad, and this is what you’ll get from the far secular left. People who do not have faith don’t understand faith, I guess I’d have to say. And it is the right thing to do is to pray in moments like this, because you know what? Prayer works,” said Paul Ryan on Fox News, defending his own and other politicians who called on people to pray for the victims and their families. Ryan also criticized the ‘far left’ for their lack of faith and blamed them as the main cause of disunity and strife in the country.

Critics pointed out that politicians should engage in bringing in stricter rules and providing more security rather than offer thoughts and prayers. For, Paul Ryan, himself a practicing Catholic, believes that prayer is powerful and that it has the power to heal. Something similar was said by the Rev. Frank Pomeroy, the pastor at the church where the shooting took place. The reverend himself lost his 14-year old son in the shooting among the 25 other church members who lost their lives. However, rather than lose his faith, the pastor said that faith helps heal wounds, and adds that although he does not understand why this had to happen, he will “lean into the Lord.”

A gathering of 70 Episcopal bishops has also called on the faithful to come together and pray for the victims. However, they also added that it is important for everyone to introspect and examine themselves because, at the end of the day, shooters like the gunman who opened fire in the church are normal people who come from the same society. The Bishops have called on the faithful to explore “whether we are complicit in the evils we deplore.”

The bishops also criticized the leaders saying that it is their responsibility to provide security to the nation’s citizens and that if the government “representatives are not up to this responsibility, we must replace them,” adding that “One does not offer prayers in lieu of demonstrating political courage, but rather in preparation.”

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