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Journalist Defends Offering 'Thoughts and Prayers'

Journalist Kevin D. Williamson has worked for CNBC, MSNBC, NPR, and most recently, The National Review. Williamson visited Baton Rouge soon after the shooting of six police officers, three of whom died, on July 17, 2016. He comments on the frequent phrase "thoughts and prayers" offered by politicians and others in the midst of tragedies:

It has become fashionable [for some journalists] to mock the offering of "thoughts and prayers" … after a natural disaster or a terrorist massacre … Comedienne Samantha Bee threw a profanity-laced fit over "thoughts and prayers" after the Orlando massacre, and [political policymaker Corey Ciorciari] mocked such goodwill expressions after the police ambush in Baton Rouge: "Thoughts and prayers didn't seem to stop the last 193 mass shootings this year," he wrote. "Maybe we should try something different?"

Williamson attended an outdoor candlelight vigil for slain police officer Matthew Gerald at Healing Place Church. He concludes his article:

Pastor Ryan Firth [says], "It seems that our community has been in disarray for the past few weeks. If we're being honest, it has been in disarray for years." His message is based on [Jesus' words in] John 16:33: "I have overcome the world." Maybe not quite yet, but they are trying. A series of pastors and speakers exhort the crowd to sympathy, charity, and forgiveness. [Another speaker says], "Anger, frustration—take it and discard it … We are here to love our neighbors as ourselves." One must consider that these [Christians] know something that eludes the likes of Samantha Bee and Corey Ciorciari and the rest of us urban sophisticates: In the end, thoughts and prayers do matter. They matter more than most other things. And they are, for the moment, what's keeping the peace in Baton Rouge and many other communities like it.

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