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Reader's View: Of course action has to accompany prayer

There is a frustrating routine happening in America. A tragedy happens, people offer "thoughts and prayers," and other people get more upset with the prayer community than with the perpetrator of the tragedy. I heard CNN's Don Lemon dismissing prayer altogether because the victims of the Texas church shooting "were already praying." As if they somehow deserved what they got. The usual line is, "Thoughts and prayers aren't enough. The government needs to take action."

There is no actual conflict or disconnect between prayer and action. Some of the biggest agents of social change — Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and William Wilberforce, as examples — saw prayer as a main driver of their work. If someone can actually find an instance of these people stating that prayer is the only mechanism for worldly change, we can let this go. Statistics will most always show people of faith will take action alongside of prayer. Church communities of all denominations are always some of the biggest donators of time and money to charities and mission work and I can say with some certainty prayer is a central facet to their efforts.

My question for those who don't like people praying for victims of tragedies is, why focus on prayer? Why invent this issue when their only problem is with a perceived empty social media post when they themselves are doing the same thing? Are they really saying if someone agrees with them about gun-control but is a member of a religious community, there is no agreement to be had until the other person disagrees with themselves about their religion? Is this where we want to be in 2017? A zero-sum society where it's all or nothing?

I would like to think we can do better for ourselves and our children.

Nikolas Thomas Bayuk