By Eric Owens
One of the world’s largest atheist organizations has declared that praying to God or any other supernatural deity is a useless, stupid endeavor that will not lead to “evidence-based solutions.”
The Center for Inquiry, an organization that promotes secular education, released its anti-prayer statement after Rep. Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, defended prayer as a way to respond to horrific events — in this case the massacre of 26 people at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
“It is the right thing to do, to pray in moments like this because, you know what? Prayer works,” Ryan said Tuesday on “The Ingraham Angle” on Fox News.
People who don’t pray after such events don’t understand the benefits of religion, Ryan suggested.
“It’s disappointing. It’s sad, and this is what you’ll get from the far secular left. People who do not have faith, don’t understand faith, I guess I’d have to say.”
Robyn Blumner, the CEO of the Center for Inquiry, responded to Ryan with a press release charging that Ryan’s statements about prayer in response to a mass shooting are “responsible for the nation’s polarization.”
“There is no evidence that intercessory prayer has any effect on earthly events, as numerous controlled studies have shown, and it won’t save anyone from future atrocities,” Blumner said. “So instead of dismissing legitimate criticism, the Speaker should work toward evidence-based solutions to the pressing national issue of gun violence.”
“Individuals and communities are free to pray, worship and heal as they wish,” the atheism CEO graciously allowed.
“At the same time, the religiously unaffiliated are the largest group of voters of all belief denominations, and they want more than platitudes when the times demand real-world solutions,” Blumner also said.
Blumner also charged that Ryan’s support for prayer in response to 26 murder victims is an attempt “to scapegoat the nonreligious to divert from his own ineffectiveness.”
“That he chooses this moment to belittle secular Americans, or Americans of any religious affiliation, is what is truly sad,” Blumner said.
According to the Center for Inquiry, a Pew Research poll shows that voters who aren’t affiliated with any particular church or denomination — “nones” — constitute the largest voting bloc when voters are grouped by religion. Catholics and “White Evangelicals” come in a very close second and third.