Should we ‘just pray’ for Richard Dawkins?

The Church of England’s public prayer attempts have drawn more criticism. The Church is facing backlash after tweeting prayers for Richard Dawkins, who has suffered a stroke. This is the second incident since last year, when the planned cinema advert, ‘Just Pray’, went viral after it was banned from movie theaters across the United Kingdom.

The tweet was posted by a Bishop using the official twitter account (@C_of_e), and simply said, “Prayers for Prof Dawkins and his family” above a link to a news story about the famous atheist suffering a stroke. The Church of England has issued a press release noting that the tweet was sincere, referencing Dawkin’s defense of the ‘Just Pray’ campaign and his social ties to the former Archbishop of Canterbury, who has described Dawkins as ‘endearing’.

From the article:

Any suggestion that Christians do anything other than hate Professor Dawkins utterly confuses those who think in binary terms. Few would appreciate that the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, hosted Richard Dawkins and his wife at a party at Lambeth Palace in 2007. “There’s something about his swashbuckling side which is endearing,” said Archbishop Williams, saying of Richard and Lalla “they were absolutely delightful.”

Coincidentally, the next video for the ‘Just Pray’ campaign is being teased on social media, with a trailer preview of what to expect:

Do you think the Twitter backlash against the Church of England is unwarranted? Should Christians be more sensitive in their public prayers, to avoid giving the impression of snarkiness or sarcasm? While we are meant to pray for all, how can we do so in a way that won’t lead to misunderstandings or offense? In a larger moral sense, how ought we express our hopes and love for those who oppose us when they suffer?

Do we have an obligation, knowing how social media and mainstream news warps context, to be more careful in our public prayers? If our actions are causing harm and misrepresenting the church, ought we try to do something differently, or question our own methods?

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