The Danger of Thoughts and Prayers

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In the United States, there are an average of 120 firearms for every 100 people. There have been just shy of 300 mass shootings this year. If you aren’t absolutely infuriated by politicians who offer their “thoughts and prayers” after every shooting and fail to pass legislation, I question your humanity.

Globally, climate change is a crisis. That’s not an opinion. If you think it is, go fuck yourself. You can go sit alongside the dipshit Evangelicals who care more about fetuses than starving children, or children in cages, or the pending extinction of human life as we know it. They’re too busy reading the Bible and praying to Jesus to actually care about real-life human suffering. They honestly think that if they do as they are told, if we all do as they are told, their deity will protect us from the consequences of foolish human choices. Though they will be the first to tell you that the same deity wants people to suffer when they behave irresponsibly.

If you have made it this far without being angry, congrats, you’re actually someone whose opinion I care about. But why, you may ask, am I bringing this up right now?

Over the last 10 months, Trump has been going down in flames. If you are among the thousands of witches and pagans who, like me, have been putting a great deal of psychic energy into revealing this “human” for what he really is, you might be tempted to pat yourself on the back right now.

I certainly was. But don’t.

Here is what I have been doing that I can feel good about: I have donated to the ACLU; I have called out community leaders in my fraternal order community for their neo-confederate bullshit; I have supported efforts to raise money to protect immigrant communities where I live.

Here is what I have been doing to take care of my own emotional wellbeing during this incredibly trying time: I have been cursing the fuck out of the evil men in our government. I have been siphoning off the energy that their followers direct at them and re-directing it to tear them down.

Wait. Pause. Maybe you think that’s not ethically OK.

 

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In this March 27, 2019, file photo, Central American migrants wait for food in a pen erected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to process a surge of migrant families and unaccompanied minors in El Paso, Texas. The U.S. government is working to open two new large tent facilities to temporarily detain up to 1,000 migrant parents and children near the southern border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a notice to potential contractors that it’s seeking to build large tents in El Paso, Texas, and in South Texas that could house 500 people at a time. The notice says families would sleep on mats inside each tent. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio, File)
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Children at Auschwitz.

Side by side. “Detention Camps” and “Concentration Camps.” This is why the Jewish community is protesting. We have a long memory.

Doing magic to try to tip the scales is understandable. But if you feel disgusted when Christians offer their “thoughts and prayers” after men with guns slaughter school children in broad daylight, then lean into that disgust. Because when we do magic and prayer to our own gods and ancestors about these tragic things happening all around us, we are doing the exact same thing.

There is nothing wrong with using spiritual means to influence things. The reason it’s so disgusting when politicians say things like that is because they’re in a position to do something, but they are gutlessly passing the buck to their deity.

For some of us, magic and prayer are literally the only things we can do. Some of us in this society are so disempowered that we can’t even exercise our rights to vote.

But if there is something you could be doing with your hands, your feet, your voice, your vote, or your money, and you are doing magic instead, rather than in addition, you really need to reconsider that approach.

We have a long way to go. There are atrocities which will continue long after the Trump presidency is over. The worst of what is going on in this country started before his presidency. Thoughts and prayers won’t fix it.

We need to recognize that, right now, and forever, the leadership of a democracy reflects its active voters. Evangelical Christians have already shown what one highly mobilized and passionate religious group, one which makes up less than a quarter of our populace, can do. We need to band together and make sure that we represent our own moral and ethical imperatives. I hope that we have all seen, by now, that the cost of NOT doing so is too damn high.

5 comments

  1. Brava! We just moved to WA and getting settled in. We will be as active as we were, if not more so. Sadly, I don’t think Pence will be an improvement on the current occupant though. Even a lame duck can do damage. And what if the plan was for this to happen so the Evangelicals could grasp power? Yeah, I’ve become paranoid about it all. Hope you all are doing well – it’s good to hear from you.

    1. We may not be able to fix what’s going on this year, or the next. Repairing our culture means building a meaningful, unified block of voters who are committed not only to voting, but to helping one another vote.

      What I plan to do at home is to work through my group to get our community to the polls. Maybe this means raising money to cover lost wages, or providing transportation, or maybe just examining obstacles that we are facing to full participation in our democracy.

      In some places, people in marginalized communities might need an escort. That’s not a thing where I live, but it certainly is elsewhere in this country.

      1. We’re so polarized right now that I think it’s going to take another generation to straighten it out, barring some catastrophic event that pulls us together and makes us realise that we’re all still Americans. Getting people to vote is necessary, but I think breaking the stranglehold the Rs and Ds have on the electorate is even more important. Instead of voting 3rd party when the Rs and Ds run trash candidates we are brainwashed into thinking that we have no choice but to go with what they run. That’s got to cease.

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