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The ultimate copout

By 2353NM

You’ve probably heard Prime Minister Morrison offering ‘thoughts and prayers’ to those affected by the bushfires that continue to burn in parts of Australia, or the ongoing drought, or perhaps the bombings that occurred in Sri Lanka last Easter.

Morrison isn’t the only ‘world leader’ that follows the ‘thoughts and prayers’ mantra. US President Trump is also a believer (pun intended). As reported in a San Francisco online newsletter, Trump offered ‘thoughts and prayers’ for those shot at YouTube headquarters last April, however, they make the comment

Offering “thoughts and prayers” has been a common response among public officials to mass shootings in recent years. Trump offered “thoughts and prayers” after a Kentucky school shooting in January in which two children died. In February, he tweeted “prayers and condolences” to the 17 people killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Gun-control proponents have made the phrase an issue, saying it disguises officials’ failure to take measures to limit mass shootings. After the Florida shooting, a student at Stoneman Douglas High tweeted, “Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won’t fix this.”

Trump’s thoughts and prayers are more a copout than sincere; he has offered them on at least one occasion to the wrong city! Morrison’s motives are equally questionable.

While Morrison is entitled to believe that prayers will help in some way, shape or form, there is never a certain way to measure their effectiveness over other control measures such as funding people and equipment to fight the larger and more aggressive fires science tells us are a product of climate change. If a bushfire stops 5 metres from someone’s front door, was it due to the number or nature of prayers, the work of firefighters or a wind change? The last two can be measured. Conversely, if the neighbour’s house burns to the ground, is the claim made that there were not sufficient quality or quantity of prayers completed on the neighbour’s behalf? A Melbourne academic who lost her house in bushfires some years ago recently penned a piece for The Conversation suggesting Morrison’s thoughts and prayers are not enough. The article has been widely republished not only in Australia but across the South Pacific. Self-proclaimed ‘fake news’ website The Big Smoke published a piece suggesting ‘only 11,568 more thoughts and prayers needed to stop bushfires’ suggesting everyone should assist in making up the deficit.

Morrison’s glib statements are made to give the impression of his sincerity. However, if Mr Smith who has just lost all his family photos, or Mrs Jones loses her collection of books, neither of which can be recovered by an insurance payout, really thinks that Morrison gives either of them an individual thought or prayer in their time of need, I’m sorry but the reality is that he probably doesn’t know they exist.

The thing is that Trump, Morrison and the other ‘leaders’ that offer ‘thoughts and prayers’ can do so much more. Trump could tighten gun laws. Howard managed to do it — and get re-elected. Morrison could think about the advice on the effects of the changing climate from the experts, such as the 11,000 scientists who declared early in November that the world is entering a climate emergency and confirming we are going through the planet’s 6th mass extinction. The 5th mass extinction event saw the loss of the dinosaurs.

Instead, Morrison threatens legislation to prevent environmental groups placing what he claims are secondary boycotts on suppliers to companies operating coal mines and makes speeches with content described as ‘ludicrous’ to the United Nations claiming Australia is going to meet our inadequate emissions reduction targets.

Morrison has a position within Australian society that enables him to turn his self-declared thoughts on the horrific nature of the latest natural disaster into practical help to the affected as well as working to ensure that next time we as a society are prepared to a greater level to deal with the problem as it occurs. It’s telling when Mayors of drought and bushfire affected communities demonstrate more authentic leadership than any federal government minister.

Certainly, some affected by drought, bushfires and the inevitable floods and cyclones this summer will find comfort in the claim that the Prime Minister claims he is praying for them. Australia also has professionals in providing spiritual support to those that require it. They are the clergy, ministers, imams, rabbis and so on in the various faith groups that have representation in Australia. Maybe Morrison should be thinking about how to support the families and businesses that have been affected by the ongoing drought and bushfire disasters and leave the spiritual comfort to those who have the professional experience.

There is no doubt Morrison should have thought about meeting with the 23 professional fire and emergency services leaders earlier this year. They might have some insight into the tools and equipment required to manage numerous catastrophic bushfires at one time and how to get help where it is needed quickly. It was their job to manage that in their respective professional lives. Morrison should have listened to their opinion in April, not November.

It would be far more practical if Morrison gave some thought to ensuring that all Australians were in receipt of sufficient funding on a weekly basis to live on. That way, those that can’t afford to feed their family, those who can’t afford medical treatment, those who can’t afford to put a roof over their heads wouldn’t have to rely on religious and charity groups to fund activities that really should be the responsibility of the government. If Morrison’s LNP Government did its job and funded members of our society to be able to live and eventually be productive in our society, the charities and religious groups currently making up the shortfall could amass funds to assist to a greater level when there is an extraordinary event.

Morrison’s thoughts and prayers clearly mean nothing as he is in a position do something about mitigating the immediate and ongoing effects of a natural disaster and does nothing meaningful except bobbing up on the nightly news at bushfire command centres or out ‘in the field’ taking resources away from their real roles. He is also in the position where he can implement plans to mitigate the potential future effects of a similar disaster, again demonstrably he is failing to do so.

So the thoughts and prayers are platitudes to people that are suffering and nothing more than a cynical attempt at marketing; in other words — the ultimate copout.

What do you think?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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  1. New Engand Cocky

    “Thought and Prayers” is the double talk terminology for “we expect to do nothing about this matter because it will be out of the 24/7 news cycle within 48 hours, and so forgotten by the Australian voters before the next federal election”.

  2. Patricia

    Thoughts and prayers mean f**k all.

    Action is what is needed but in that Morrison and this government are missing in action.

    Not real action, but action that takes them out of the world of reality and keeps them in the bubble, not the Canberra bubble but the political bubble where winning is everything, lying is acceptable, nay encouraged, and morality is seen as a weakness.

    Morrison is in a position where he could make a positive difference, instead he chooses, and encourages those around to choose, to make a negative difference.

    It is to be hoped that he continues down this path over the next 2.5 years and that the majority of Australians see him for what he really is. A lying, thieving, cheating, hypocrital moral vacuum. And they are just his good points.

  3. pierre wilkinson

    I had two cats named “thoughts” and “prayers”
    – because they were useless

  4. Matters Not

    The thoughts and prayers response sits comfortably in a Parliament where the religious are over-represented when compared to the citizens as a whole. In contrast, it raises the ire of media members (generally speaking) who are under-represented when compared to the same control group.

    These days the statement lacks potency. Indeed it’s more likely to evoke derision rather than piety. So my thoughts and prayers are with those politicians who mindlessly utter same.

    Remind me again re the number of angels who can dance upon the head of a pin …

  5. Glenn Barry

    Would I be wrong in surmising that this is why we need religious freedom legislation – so that more people feel free to pray and can make up for that deficit of 11,568 covered, then all of this will just miraculously go away

  6. wam

    The worth of praying is shown when gods kill thousands in tsunamis, earthquakes floods and storms but some praying for a miracle and a baby is found in the rubble.
    There is nothing to lose prayer always works sometime. Gods make miracles.
    The thoughts are a little nebulous but we have been in his thought since the miracle and his theme song could show we wee always on his mind and how good is that?
    howard’s stunt worked because there were unwanted guns in hundreds of thousands of home and no longer a shooting culture. It worked because tassie shocked us we, as country, thought it was an unbelievably sick act.
    That attitude is not in America and never will be. The best they can hope for is no more selling of war weapons and ammunition but that wont happen a woman, not a hockey mum, arrives and that will not be in our lifetime.
    People of my age shot rabbits for FOOD almost every family in the bush had a gun and we all made a quid out of howard. America has millions all geared to killing people and howard’s way is a joke.

  7. Wobbley

    I watched a documentary some years ago where a poor man was going through trauma associated with cancer, heart problems or a similar life threatening experience, I can’t quite remember.

    Anyway his relatives were deeply concerned and asked the specialist what could they do to help or assist in any way with one family member offering prayers to help, the specialist retorted that they could prey if they wished but in his learned opinion he stated that it was a waste of time.

    Over the many years that that specialist had been practising, not once had prayers been responsible for any positive result or any thing else. In fact he thought that to help the nurses change a bed would be more practicable.

  8. Kaye Lee

    My children’s grandmother would always tell them she was praying for them to do well in their exams. Whilst not as destructive as praying for bushfires to stop, it was counterproductive to my insistence that they actually do some study.

  9. New England Cocky

    Naughty Kaye Lee ….. expecting children to study when they should be doing much more important things like watching sitcom television shows, hanging out at the local skate-park and playing video games until dawn …..

  10. Kaye Lee


    I was a confiscator. I didn’t listen to arguments – I just took things or withdrew privileges until they learned to communicate and negotiate. I used the same principle when I worked as a barmaid. Ahhh the power of deciding who you would serve beer to and whose TAB bets you would take in that last flurry of activity as they were about to jump. When my husband would come to pick me up from work, the patrons would tell him “She’s had the finger out again”. They soon learned to be respectful. Mind you, I left when they introduced lingerie night. It’s hard to ask for respect when you are dressed in baby doll pyjamas.

  11. Vikingduk

    Never fear, as well as the b-doubles loaded to the gills, the smirking jerk has now arranged an air drop of thoughts and prayers, should make up any shortfall from you godless heathens.

  12. crypt0

    I see where ScumMo has had $200,000 worth of “empathy training” …
    Can you believe that ?
    You’d have thought they’d have mentioned that he should leave his trademark smirk out of it when practising his contrived empathy.
    The tax payer should get their money back !

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