When it comes to hurricanes and mass shootings, this is what CNN calls news.
The network home of liberals like Don Lemon is pushing a study of survivors of natural disasters that supposedly found self-identified atheists and agnostics would pay money to avoid someone, somewhere praying for them.
It’s a whole new front in Christian-bashing — with a little gun control sleight-of-hand thrown in.
CNN’s report, headlined “Not everybody wants thoughts and prayers after a disaster, according to a study of hurricane survivors,” focused on a study of about 400 North Carolina residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in 2018.
And if that title was too subtle, the article’s first two paragraphs push the suggestion that Christians should keep their prayers to themselves.
Published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study was co-authored by Linda Thunström, an economist at the University of Wyoming.
“The idea came from the mere observation of how frequently these gestures are used … and yet how controversial they seem to be, as shown by the heated debate in the US about the value of thoughts and prayers in the wake of disasters,” Thunström told CNN.
“As a result, we wanted to find out how people actually value these frequently used gestures,” she said.
The study’s methodology was ludicrously complicated and obviously manufactured — thoughts and prayers are inherently immune to measurement, or even to objective confirmation that they’ve taken place.
But in a nutshell it found that Christians valued thoughts and prayers from strangers. Not a huge surprise there.
It also found that nonbelievers — atheists and agnostics — were “prayer averse,” to the point where they would pay token money to avoid prayers from strangers, even priests.
It sounds like a variation on the old “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” question, and like that medieval debate, it has a hidden meaning.
Thunström’s quote gave the game away when it came to CNN’s real agenda. There’s really nothing controversial about “thoughts and prayers” in the wake of a natural disaster such as Florence.
But the gun-control crowd has made a very big deal in recent years about “thoughts and prayers” after mass shootings — and mocking Christians and other believers who offer them.
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews — who appears to know as much about the law as he does about theology — even suggested outlawing “thoughts and prayers” after the 2018 bar shooting in Thousand Oaks, California. (He was probably being sarcastic.)
So, any academic study that mocks the power of prayer is one more weapon liberals can use in their public arguments to take away Americans’ God-given rights.
For CNN, the story must have looked perfect, but it might not have gotten the kind of response the “this is an apple” network was looking for.
When CNN chose to highlight this particular study, there was a reason for it — and for CNN it was a twofer.
Not only did the network get to bash Christians with a supposedly scientific study, but it also got in a jab at the Second Amendment — all under the guise of asking survivors of a natural disaster their feelings about the good wishes of their fellow Americans.
As is almost always the case with CNN, the “news” is just a vehicle to push a political argument.
And when it comes to hurricanes and mass shootings, this is what CNN considers “news.”