In the wake of Sunday’s mass shooting at a Texas church, politicians have faced renewed criticism by people who believe praying isn’t enough to stop the violence.
Don’t count Franklin Graham as one of those critics.
On Wednesday, Graham weighed in on the debate surrounding the appropriateness of officials sending “thoughts and prayers” following a mass shooting. He called for more prayer in the aftermath of violence, not less.
“After the massacre at First Baptist Church, some Democrats on the left had the gall to mock the value of prayer,” he wrote on Facebook. “Stephen King tweeted, ‘Enough with the prayin’.’ I say the opposite is true – we need more prayer.”
Graham raised the topic as Vice President Mike Pence – who told Fox News prayer makes a difference for the victims – was scheduled to visit Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Wednesday.
He singled out author Stephen King, who is one of many people to call on politicians to enact gun control measures following the shooting at First Baptist Church, where 26 churchgoers were killed.
“Enough with the prayin’. Time to start legislatin’.” King tweeted after the shooting.
Actor Will Wheaton, known for roles in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Stand By Me,” reprimanded House Speaker Paul Ryan after Ryan tweeted the “people of Sutherland Springs need our prayer.” Wheaton demanded Ryan use his platform to pass legislation that could prevent future mass shootings.
“Paul Ryan is the Speaker of the House. He can offer laws and regulations to end this, but he offers thoughts and prayers instead,” Wheaton said.
Graham asked others on his post for their thoughts on the issue of prayer, and the responses varied. Some responded believing that prayer was under attack.
“What a sad state of affairs when the people of this nation mock and down play the power of prayer,” Arlene Fontaine Torres wrote on Facebook.
Others believed the focus on the criticism of prayer overshadowed the critic’s main point: a desire for gun control or some type of solution for gun violence.
“I don't think that people disbelieve in prayer, they are frustrated that these same people who promote prayer are still taking money from the NRA and voting in favor of powerful lobbyists instead of the people they represent,” a Facebook user named Kathy Rogers wrote. “Our representatives are the ones making a mockery of prayer!”
“Very few are criticizing prayer,” Bill Elliott said on Facebook. “But many are saying that we must also take the next step and have open discussion about how to reduce the violence.”