Thoughts, Prayers, &c.

by Jay Nordlinger

Judging from my mail, the least popular thing I’ve written in the last month — apart from appreciation of such “RINOs” as Paul Ryan (“Ryano,” they say) — is the below little blast:

You know how people say, “Our thoughts and prayers are with [so-and-so, usually a family]”? I often think, “You lyin’ sack, that’s just boilerplate: Your thoughts and prayers aren’t with [so-and-so]. It’s just a reflex, meaningless line. You’re not praying, and you’re probably not even thinking.”

Well, I smiled a bit this morning when I saw I had the company of a writer for the Telegraph, Harry de Quetteville:

Is there a more meaningless phrase in the English language than: “My thoughts are with”?

Inevitably you hear it when someone, or lots of people, have died. Public figures, as it might be the Prime Minister, will then release a statement declaring that their “thoughts are with the families”.

Of course the very reverse is true. The statement is made precisely so that they can stop thinking about the families, and no longer have to reflect on their astonishing pain. . . .

To all those who indulge in #thoughtswith I say: stop it, or else tell us specifically what those thoughts actually are. My guess is you won’t have a clue. Because you won’t have thought about it.

Man, not even I was that harsh, was I? (It’s probably a tie.)

One more thought: Casual, not-truly-sincere references to “praying” promote a general contempt for praying. I know that religious readers will know what I mean. Some non-religious ones, too.

Okay, I’m done (I’m pretty sure). (And if I had Harry de Q’s e-address, I’d give it to you.)

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