Governor Receives Mockery For Calling For Prayer Against Voilence


On Thursday, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) announced a new plan to help combat Louisville’s record homicide rate: volunteer “prayer patrols” that would walk designated city blocks while praying for the communities.

The new plan, which Bevin unveiled at a public meeting held at a local middle school, prompted widespread outrage and disgust from local religious leaders, news outlets, and individuals on social media.

Speaking to Louisville news station WHAS-TV, Pastor Joe Phelps of Highland Baptist Church called Bevin’s proposal a “political ploy.”

“I believe in prayer,” Phelps said. “That’s not the answer here and for him to reduce the problems of violence to getting people to go pray for a block is an embarrassment to Christianity.”

Following Thursday’s meeting, Governor Bevin took to social media to explain that the low-cost, low-risk introduction of “prayer patrols” is not meant to replace “economic, political and law enforcement solutions,” but he believes “it will make a real difference.”

Unfortunately, the internet did not get the governor’s message. Media outlets like HuffPost, MSNBC, and Salon rushed to report that an elected official had suggested that communities “pray away” the violence.

“It’s probably best to put aside questions about whether prayer is an effective tool in combating urban violence,” wrote MSNBC’s Steve Benen, before noting that “turning to supernatural solutions to address earthly problems isn’t a responsible approach to policymaking.”

HuffPost’s Ed Mazza mocked Bevin’s proposal, reducing the idea of prayer patrols to “roving bands of prayer police” who don’t “report or stop criminal activity, but pray it away.”

Further, many reports seemed to suggest that Bevin’s proposal contradicts solutions posed by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D), who said solutions to violence “are many, but a lot of them require [economic] resources obviously,” from housing, to education and health care.

All of Bevin’s critics seem to miss the governor’s point that prayer isn’t the policy, but rather, is a very real part of the solution. The widely invoked narrative that a Christian political leader believes people can “pray away” an evil like inner city violence speaks to our culture’s ignorance when it comes to prayer.

These people are either unaware of or have chosen to ignore the biblical truth that mere faith without works is dead. Fortunately, Gov. Bevin has given his constituents no reason to believe that he has forgotten this.

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