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Christian Radio Show Host Under Fire for Suggesting Prayer a Solution to School Shootings

02-15-2018

Many are offering thoughts and prayers for the people affected by the deadly school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Churches across south Florida have been holding prayer vigils and opening their doors to people in search of peace after 17 people died in the attack.

President Trump offered prayers of comfort and support for the families of those killed.

"In these moments of heartache and darkness, we hold on to God's Word in scripture: 'I have heard your prayer and seen your tears.  I will heal you," he said.  "We trust in that promise and we hold fast to our fellow Americans in their time of sorrow."

Christian radio show host Bryan Fischer tweeted that prayer could help stop such tragedies.

"Hey, here's an idea: why don't we pray in schools BEFORE these shootings happen instead of waiting until we have dead students? Why does somebody have to die before even start talking about prayer?" he tweeted.

But many on the left have mocked and criticized Fischer's comments.

"Because if prayer did any good, the most religious countries in the world would also be the most advanced. But in fact, the opposite is true," wrote Frances Ana.

"Prayer in schools as a solution to gun violence. Prime example of the reason for the religious right's waning relevance," read another post.

In an interview on CBN News' Prayerlink show, Fischer explained why America's schools needs prayer.

"I've been perturbed about this issue for a long time," he said. "The Supreme Court banned prayer in schools in 1963, so since 1963 the Supreme Court said it's not permissible for you to pray in school, to pray for God's protection, to pray for God's guidance, to pray for his covering over your school from violence and things like this and we've seen some alarming differences in the statistics."

Fischer went on to point out the alarming rise in the number of school shootings that have happened in the country since prayer was banned.

He said, "Prior to 1963, there were a total of 62 deaths from school shootings in the United States. After 1963 there have been a total of 419 deaths from school shootings, from an average of about 10 a year to an average of 78 a year. And I can't help but believe that's it's connected to the fact that the Supreme Court has prohibited us from any kind of formal way asking for God's protection over our students and over our schools."   

Meanwhile, some say the issue has to do with mental health and that someone who is mentally unstable should not be allowed to get a gun.

"So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior," Trump said in a tweet Wednesday.  "Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem.  Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!"

Others say the problem is the need for stricter gun laws.

Actress Elizabeth Banks, known for her roles in "Pitch Perfect" and The Hunger Games", tweeted, "Sending my love to #parkland. #guncontrol #policychange, with the words 'thoughts & prayers" crossed out.

Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott was asked about the gun debate during a press conference after the shooting.

"There is a time to continue to have these conversations about how through law enforcement, how through mental illness funding that we make sure people are safe," said Scott.

Meanwhile, Evangelist Franklin Graham has urged believers to pray as well, posting on Facebook, "Pray for the students, staff, and families affected by the shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school today. And lift up law enforcement and first responders in your prayers."

Singer and songwriter Mandisa is also calling for people to pray for those affected by the shooting.

"Open our eyes to see that we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly place," she said. "The only way to fight that is with the mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, that You give us, God. So we fight now with the weapon of prayer, knowing that prayer is not "all we can do", but THE MOST we can do."

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