Should people take action instead of offering thoughts and prayers? | The Tylt
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, many Americans are offering victims thoughts and prayers on social media. It's become a standard line for politicians, but many say "thoughts and prayers" is just a meaningless, insensitive cliché that allows leaders and citizens alike to sidestep facts and avoid taking real action. But defenders say that's cynical—these are sincere offers of condolences from well-intentioned people in the face of tragedy. Are you over thoughts and prayers? 🙏 🤔
Should people take action instead of offering thoughts and prayers?
Critics of "thoughts and prayers" argue that when it comes to super storms like Harvey, giving victims your "thoughts and prayers" seems like a cop-out, especially if you believe action around global warming, infrastructure, and poverty are what we really need to address. Why not take a moment to donate to rescue efforts rather than posting how sad you are on social media?
It can also come across as hypocrisy. Many of the political leaders tweeting about thoughts and prayers are the same ones who refuse to acknowledge climate change.
Dear Humans,— God (@TheGoodGodAbove) August 28, 2017
Take your thoughts and prayers and shove them directly up your ass.
Send money or volunteer.
Houston megachurch owner Joel Osteen came under fire for offering thoughts and prayers on Twitter rather than opening his 16,000-person-capacity building to evacuees from the storm (he did eventually offer the church as shelter).
Hurricane victims: "You have a Stadium size church. Think we could stay there?"— (((Gumbercules))) (@gamblor5555) August 28, 2017
Joel Osteen: "No, but here's some thoughts and prayers!"
Does tweeting a hashtag like #PrayForHouston help anyone? Maybe it does.
Prayer certainly does help believers, and for many people, saying "I'm praying for you" is just a shorthand way of communicating compassion to others. For victims and survivors of a tragedy, seeing awareness spread on social media might actually be comforting and make them feel less alone. After a natural disaster, people feel helpless—changing their profile picture, or tweeting a hashtag makes them feel less so.
And honestly, sometimes people don't know what else to do.