In the aftermath of the mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday, many prominent pro-gun control voices have been quick to demonize anyone who has offered “thoughts and prayers” for the victims. Instead, the critics are insulting prayer as a hollow response to a tragedy, while demanding legislative action to restrict the rights of gun owners. Earlier this week, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro explained to the Keith Olbermanns and Steven Kings of the world the actual purpose of prayer, while dismantling the irony of their argument.
Watch the remarks below:
Ben Shapiro Debunks Keith Olbermann's Tweet on #ThoughtsAndPrayers
Posted by Ben Shapiro on Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Just hours after the massacre, Olbermann crudely responded to a tweet from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan requesting prayers for the people of Sutherland Springs by suggesting Ryan “shove your prayers up your a**” and “do something with your life besides platitudes and power grabs.”
Speaker Ryan, bluntly: shove your prayers up your ass AND DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR LIFE BESIDES PLATITUDES AND POWER GRABS https://t.co/ZJkO0Pa5Vh
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) November 6, 2017
While Shapiro was amused by Olbermann’s power grab assertion given that the contents of his own tweet was just that, he also offered a detailed explanation of the purpose of prayer in a Judeo-Christian society.
“The idea that prayer is only about prayer, that you pray and then go on about your daily business is not right,” he said. “One of religion’s sort of basic premises is that it is your job as a human being, when you see bad things happening in the world, to commit yourself to being a better person. That’s what prayer helps you to do. It helps you to confess what you’ve done wrong. It helps you to recognize what you could do better.”
Furthermore, there is a belief in the Jewish and Christian faiths that God actively listens to and hears our prayers.
“There is a belief in Judaism and Christianity that God hears your prayers and acts because of them—not because God is reactive to you… but because you have changed as a human being. We can change as a country if we pray together, if we are unified,” Shapiro explained. “If you pray to God, you are signaling your subservience to God, and God responds favorably to that.”
Author Steven King was also part of the anti-prayer brigade on Sunday, tweeting that it was time to stop “prayin’” and “start legislatin.’”
Enough with the prayin'. Time to start legislatin'.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) November 5, 2017
Shapiro believes that King’s spelling, or misspelling, of the words “praying” and “legislating” were an intentional effort to mock the speech and beliefs of the people most impacted by the rampage, but he also found deep irony in the fictitious soapboxes both King and Olbermann believe to be preaching from.
“We believe prayers do something. It’s not just spewing empty words,” he said of Christians and Jews. “There is a great irony to all of these people spewing empty words on Twitter [while] saying, ‘How dare you talk to God.’ ‘There you are talking to your imaginary sky being, but here I am on Twitter talking to no one. But I’m doing something because I tweeted.’”
Ultimately, Shapiro had a simple yet poignant message for anyone who wished to condemn those who choose to pray for the victims of violence and their families: “I promise you: My prayer did more than your tweet.”