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Pray about San Bernardino, but then act

Pray about San Bernardino, but then act
Attendees at a candlelight vigil in Granada Park on Dec. 5 for the victim of the San Bernardino shooting join hands in prayer. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I would think that anyone who has a God-given brain would use the serenity prayer to understand what can and cannot be accomplished by the politicians we vote into office when it comes to incidents like the mass shooting in San Bernardino on Wednesday ("In response to mass killings, prayer might be as valid as more gun control laws," Opinion, Dec. 3).

The prayer goes, "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

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So, do politicians have that wisdom and courage?

This reminds me of an old African proverb: "When you pray, move to your feet."

Allen F. Dziuk, Carlsbad

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To the editor: I offer this trenchant comment by one who knew something about prayer, the redoubtable English sage C.S. Lewis:

"I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time — waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God — it changes me."

Emery J. Cummins, San Diego

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To the editor: Thank God the shootings were apparently about God. Shall we pray? To whom?

Barry Carlton, El Cajon

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To the editor: Many of us object to public pleas for prayer not because they are "empty gestures" in times of tragedy. We object to the very idea of prayer.

Praying to imaginary gods may provide some temporary emotional comfort, much like sugar pill placebos often do, but there is no reliable evidence that prayer has ever done anything more than that.

John Kwiatkowski, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I have read and reread Keith Pittell's poignant and eloquent letter about the San Bernardino massacre, where he avoids any of the blaming or "thoughts and prayers" rhetoric. Instead, he goes to the very heart of what these horrible events say about the increasingly violent world we live in.

Thank you, Mr. Pittell, for uniting us in sorrow and putting into words what is in so many of our hearts. Without offering a solution, you have given us an apt place to start.

Eileen Flaxman, Claremont

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