A couple of weeks ago, I came across a video called “The End of Prayer Shaming” that had been shared on Facebook by a former teacher of mine. The video was made by Catholic high school students, and immediately I was intrigued because I anticipated what it might entail: “Christians are being discriminated against,” “We can’t pray in public anymore because we get judged,” or “Let’s take a stand against those prayer-haters.” I wasn’t wrong, but there was even more to the video than that, and the message shocked me.
The video begins by outlining some of the tragedies and acts of horror that have occurred in the last 20 years. After they’re brought up, the cards read: “Many ask ‘where was God’ when that shooting happened?” “Until we realize we’ve told God to leave.” It goes on to show that we have stopped welcoming God in public, on TV, and in schools. Although they address a heavy and serious topic, I still wonder why it’s permissible for God to allow for such tragedies just because we advocate for and in some rare cases are successful in achieving secularism in society.
From there, the video naturally shows how the Christian students are discriminated against because they’re told not to send their thoughts and prayers to victims and families. I’m not sure who told them this, as “#thoughtsandprayers” are still extremely popular on every platform every time there is a disaster, but those who say this probably don’t care what you think or pray about within your own head. In my case, I’m more concerned with whether or not you are doing more than that, or if you find thoughts and prayers to be sufficient. How helpful is it to send your thoughts and prayers to the God that allowed (or caused) it to happen instead of sending money or giving your time?
The students in the video dub this phenomenon “prayer shaming,” using examples such as athletes who are judged for showing their faith or college campuses where students are discouraged from public prayer (side note: my college constantly encourages prayer, which I don’t believe in, and although it annoys me more than I can express, it doesn’t offend me.). The video encourages viewers to aid them in allowing God back into America (was he ever not allowed? And since when can mere humans tell him what countries he can even be in?), as it is, after all, on nation, UNDER GOD. Right?
I’ll let you come to your own conclusion.
In all seriousness, one of the things I hate the most about the recent heartwrenching tragedies and shootings is the way that people try to replace real solutions with hashtags and posthumous prayers. What we need is preventative measures, whether that be more rigid gun laws or greater public safety. Saying that thoughts and prayers do nothing for us isn’t discrimination against Christians, it is a way to promote palpable actions that can keep unnecessary deaths from occurring, one after another after another.