Home Base: Pray away gun violence? OK. Let's do it


Zack Plair



The venerable Texas lieutenant governor may have a point.


Bringing teacher-led prayer back into public schools may just be the ticket for turning back the tide of gun violence. I'm sure nothing in his record would suggest ties to gun lobbies that would sully his objectivity on the gun control argument, so let's for a moment, take him at his word.


In any case, I think this could work if done correctly. So I'll play -- or pray, as it were.



I'm not being sarcastic, I swear. First off, I like guns. I own at least a dozen, though the Rambo or mountain militia types would certainly get bored quickly with these as most are of the "bolt-action" variety and not outfitted to take out a mall full of people without having to reload.


Also, and I mean this with not the slightest hint of humor, I am a Christian. Of the born-again, evangelical order, even. So I believe in the power of earnest prayer, in that God will answer in ways that are most needed, even if not in the ways we expect.


So, if we're going to make a public show of it, a la returning the vaunted corporate prayer model to the classroom, I offer these suggestions.


Let's have our teachers and children pray for an education system that allows teachers to teach and students to learn beyond the moving goalpost of ever-changing standardized tests assembled by the lowest bidder, as well as pray for consistent funding that will adequately supply public schools with the resources they need and teachers with a salary that will make more candidates want to enter the field.


Then, they can move on to praying for infrastructure policy that will guarantee roads and bridges won't crumble under our cars and our water won't poison us.


From there, let's have them throw in earnest pleas to God for a health care system that expands truly affordable coverage to everyone and improves the health outcomes for our most impoverished and otherwise vulnerable populations. While they're at it, they can pray for a society that places more value on people than profit, and whose people commit themselves to helping the poor -- in any way they can -- have their basic needs.


Lastly, and most importantly, we can have them pray our society eradicate racism, sexism, hatred and bigotry in all its forms, with each praying person making a personal commitment to stand on the front line by combating any intolerance in their own hearts and minds.


If God hears those prayers and delivers on the promise to heal the land, then I reckon the leaders He would put in place for that purpose would, by default, take stronger gun legislation more seriously.


Gone would be the days where voters would actually consider election candidates who troll them with a fake war with Hollywood over a license plate. No more could a man with, at minimum, a suspect record of grooming young children for personal purposes get within 2 percent of a U.S. Senate seat just because of a party label.


And a candidate who uses hate speech, narcissism and shock value to propel himself to the White House, then crowd-sources public policy via Twitter rants -- those days would be relegated to antiquity.


The whole enterprise of the "Christian" label in the South so often being a stand-in for "white, angry segregationist" -- this prayed-for society would make such a thing blasphemy again.


Wouldn't this be so nice? I know I'd enjoy living in such an America.


But why wait? We don't have to ask our public school teachers to violate the Constitution by compelling their students to do this for us. Teachers have enough to do already, what with peppering in active shooter training between worrying the state test scores of their lowest 25th-percentile students won't be high enough to get them a contract renewal.


We can do this praying thing ourselves. Since at least the days of Daniel in the Old Testament, you can pray at home. You can pray at the park, at your work. Anywhere. The cool thing about faith is you don't have to force other people to do it for it to be real. And the less superstitious it is, the better results it will render.


So, as my Hollywood-proof license plate proudly purports, in God I do trust. And these are the things I'm praying for, especially on election day.




Zack Plair is the managing editor for The Dispatch.


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