Thanks to the lovely DottyZ for getting me thinking about this. She debunks hateful and/or stupid e-mails occasionally, and that reminded me of one of the more hateful ones I’ve seen, one that I didn’t even realize was so hateful until Snopes pointed it out, and it was like I’d been hit over the head with a sledgehammer. It’s the angels preventing rape one.
The thing is, as Snopes points out, the bad guy did rape someone else. So the prayers just diverted the attack onto another innocent girl. Not that this story is meant to be taken as an actual fact (at least I hope it’s not, although some do, I bet), but geez. As Snopes notes, that’s “hardly a ringing endorsement of God’s mercy.”
Bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people, plus everything in between. Sometimes I wish I could believe the line about “everything happens for a reason,” and sometimes I think that’s true. For instance, there have been things that didn’t work out that I later realized shouldn’t have worked out. But other times, awful crap just happens, and anyone who proclaims “This was God’s plan” might want to make some money off of their apparent direct hotline to heaven. None of us really know. And that may be why I find people who say stuff like “God took Susie because he needed an angel to sing in heaven” more insulting than helpful, even though I know they mean it the latter way. Also, I just hate the idea of God replacing a choir member by killing someone’s loved one. Seems awful harsh and self-serving, ya know?
Basically, forwards like this leave the impression that if something bad happened, you must have neglected to pray. I can just see an EMT approaching a wrecked car. “Sir, are you OK?” “Oh, well, I just forgot to pray, darn it all. Then I remembered I forgot, and I started praying, and some guy blindsides me! Godless jerks.”