In an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, Speaker Paul Ryan sighed loudly and tsked the sad, lost atheists who criticized his Twitter response after a gunman killed 26 people in a Texas church.
"People who do not have faith don’t understand faith, I guess I’d have to say."
The phrase "thoughts and prayers" has become a beacon for public shaming in the days following mass shootings, identified by critics as an easy way for politicians to act sympathetic without pushing for any real solutions.
Exhibit A: Paul Ryan's tweets after a gunman killed 26 people in a Texas church.
And the ensuing response:
When Ingraham pointed to the above tweets and called them the "reaction in the celebrity world to your call for prayers" (ignoring the hundreds of regular people with the same response), Ryan defended himself by doubling down.
Instead ignoring the furious reaction or saying that prayers would only be his initial response before working on prevention, the Speaker of the House instead defended his tweet with a condescending monologue:
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. And it is the right thing to do is to pray in moments like this, because you know what? Prayer works. And I know you believe that, and I believe that and when you hear the secular left doing this thing, it’s no wonder you have so much polarization and disunity in this country when people think like that.
"It is the right thing to do is pray in moments like this, because you know what? Prayer works."
If saying "thoughts and prayers" gets you publicly shamed on Twitter, then saying that "prayer works" gets you publicly eviscerated. The response was definitely not limited to furious celebrities this time.
Paul Ryan: pray-er of the House.