Thoughts and prayers
The phrase "thoughts and prayers" is often used by public officials and celebrities in the United States offering condolences after any publicly notable event, such as a deadly natural disaster. The phrase has received criticism for its repeated usage in the context of gun violence or terrorism, with critics claiming "thoughts and prayers" are offered as substitutes for action such as gun control or counter-terrorism.
|Meaning||token support, moral self-licensing|
|Original form||public expression of condolences|
The phrase thoughts and prayers is frequently used in the United States as an expression of condolences for victims of natural disasters (e.g., Hurricane Katrina (2005), the 2010 Canterbury earthquake 2011 Christchurch earthquake, the 2017 Central Mexico earthquake, and Hurricane Maria ). In addition, "thoughts and prayers" are also offered to victims of numerous mass shootings, including the Columbine High School massacre (1999), the November 2015 Paris attacks, the Orlando nightclub shooting, and the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.
American President Donald Trump has been known to use the phrase. In 2016, he used it following the St. Joseph courthouse shooting, the Great Smoky Mountains wildfires, and the shooting of Nykea Aldridge, cousin of professional basketball player Dwyane Wade. In 2017 he used it following the Congressional baseball shooting in June and the Southern California wildfires in December. In 2018, Trump used the phrase following the Marshall County High School shooting in January, the Carcassonne and Trèbes attack in March, the YouTube headquarters shooting in April, and the Capital Gazette shooting in June.
Following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February 2018, Slate noted that several Republican politicians who had previously used the idiom (including Trump and senators Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey) avoided using the specific phrase "thoughts and prayers" in response to the shooting. Trump, for example, instead offered "prayers and condolences" via Twitter.
Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia, offered his thoughts and prayers to the victims of the 2019 Australian bushfires in November 2019, for which Morrison was criticized and compared to American politicians who repeated similar phrases in lieu of gun ownership reforms.
After a natural or human-caused disaster, people may be urged to "go beyond thoughts and prayers", by donating blood or sending aid or money to help the victims. After the Las Vegas shooting, authorities said that although thoughts and prayers are appreciated, the most effective way to help was to give blood. Academic studies have been performed on whether an act of token support leads to sustained contributions; the concept of moral self-licensing, in which prior good deeds can empower individuals to subsequently behave badly, or conversely, whether prior immoral actions can lead to compensatory moral actions has also been cited as a factor in the use of "thoughts and prayers" in lieu of action.
As "thoughts and prayers" became associated with post-tragedy condolences, many have criticized the phrase as a form of slacktivism. Jonathan Foiles, writing in Psychology Today, compared the phrase to an infantile response and explained that "'Thoughts and prayers' is the linguistic equivalent of yelling for something to be different when you have the ability to effect that change yourself".
After the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, called on politicians to "move beyond thoughts and prayers". In her post, vanden Heuvel referred to a press release by Paul Helmke, then-president of the Brady Campaign, who offered his thoughts and prayers but also stated "it is long overdue for us to take some common-sense actions to prevent tragedies like this from continuing to occur."
In October 2015, following the Umpqua Community College shooting, President Obama said that "thoughts and prayers [do] not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel, and it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted some place else in America next week or a couple months from now." The White House subsequently announced that Obama would continue to take more executive action on the subject of gun control.
On December 2, 2015, in the wake of the San Bernardino mass shooting, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted his frustration with the phrase "thoughts and prayers", a sentiment echoed by the December 3 cover of the New York Daily News, which included tweets from senators and representatives the newspaper characterized as "meaningless platitudes".
After the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February 2018, demands for "policy and change" were used as a pithy rejoinder to the typical "thoughts and prayers" offered by politicians. Student survivors of the shooting were joined by religious leaders in calling for concrete legislative actions.
These people, these congressmen and legislators who are praying, are not powerless. There is so much they could do, if only they chose to. When they offer their prayers, they attempt to make it seem as though they are in the same boat as us, their hands sadly tied.
By August 2019, as reported by the Gun Violence Archive, there were 251 mass shootings in the United States only 216 calendar days into the year. Robin Lloyd, managing director of the nonprofit Giffords, stated "The days when politicians can get away with offering thoughts and prayers are over. The public knows thoughts and prayers won't prevent the next tragedy." Lloyd called upon Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to take action on gun control legislation passed by the House but not heard in the Senate.
Some critics of the phrase "thoughts and prayers" point to the Epistle of James in the Christian New Testament to argue that action is needed in addition to expressions of faith. Verses commonly cited to back up this argument include:
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
Pope Francis stated "Prayer that doesn't lead to concrete action toward our brothers is a fruitless and incomplete prayer. ... Prayer and action must always be profoundly united" in his Sunday Angelus message on July 21, 2013.
Laura Coward, a writer for The Huffington Post, defended the use of the phrase "thoughts and prayers", acknowledging the inadequacy of not taking actions, but arguing that prayer "jolts us and disrupts us, removing us from our comfort zones [... it] takes us to uncomfortable places – spiritually, physically and emotionally – and asks us to do the hard work of accepting more than one perspective." Kimberly Ross, a writer for RedState, asks that victims should "not [be] used as pawns in another political debate about guns" since "[w]e shouldn't blame anyone but the perpetrator for crimes committed, ... that means we can do nothing on our own – in that moment – apart from submitting thoughts and prayers."
The criticism of the phrase "thoughts and prayers" has itself received criticism as insensitive to those who sincerely pray for victims. Katelyn Beaty argued that prayer "is perhaps the most powerful form of action you can engage in during a crisis", citing studies which showed that regular meditation and prayer improved focus and reduced anxiety, touting the potential beneficial effects for "better policy solutions than would an urgent, fretful, ill-considered response", akin to the "now is not the time" arguments favored by the NRA.
In 2019, following a weekend in which mass shootings occurred in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee suggested that, of the continued occurrence of mass shootings, "the lack of thought and prayers is probably the single biggest factor in what is behind them".
Distraction using "now is not the time"Edit
The ineffectiveness of "thoughts and prayers" can be a deliberate choice. President Obama stated in October 2015 that "to actively do nothing is a [political] decision as well."
In many instances, the same people who offer "thoughts and prayers" also criticize proposed reforms as being too quick to politicize a tragedy. Like the propaganda technique of whataboutism, criticizing potential reforms as being too political can distract politicians from taking direct action by effectively pointing towards unlikely or fringe reasons for the tragedy; for example, advocating for mental health reform or Islamic terrorism prevention in lieu of passing gun control laws.
Gun politics in the United StatesEdit
The momentum for gun control legislation in the United States has been blunted repeatedly by the use of the phrase "now is not the time", offered as a defense against what could potentially be hastily-drafted laws. David Weigel pointed out that repeated calls to wait for an "appropriate time" to discuss gun control is the strategy used by the National Rifle Association (NRA) to avoid meaningful legislative action. The BBC called "the enthusiasm gap" the "single biggest obstacle to new gun-control laws" in the United States: "Pro-gun politicians offer their thoughts and prayers, observe moments of silence and order flags flown half-staff. Then, in the quiet, legislative efforts are deferred and ultimately derailed."
Following the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, several politicians used the phrase "thoughts and prayers" in place of taking immediate legislative action. President Barack Obama called for "meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this regardless of the politics", and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg challenged him to go further: "the country needs [Obama] to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem – and take immediate executive action. Calling for 'meaningful action' is not enough. We have heard that rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership – not from the President and not from Congress. That must end today. This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response." The resulting proposed federal legislation to control guns, including universal background checks, failed to pass Congress; after the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey amendment failed on April 17, 2013, Obama called it "a pretty shameful day for Washington".
Following the Orlando nightclub shooting in June 2016, astronomer and skeptic Phil Plait wrote that while it was "natural and very human" to "send their thoughts and express their grief ... it's cynically hypocritical when politicians do it and nothing else", later noting it was "particularly galling" to see "all the NRA-funded lawmakers tweeting their 'thoughts and prayers'". An accompanying Slate post provided a selected list of members of Congress who had tweeted "thoughts and prayers" along with the amount of campaign contributions they had received from gun rights groups, based on research provided by Igor Volsky of the Center for American Progress. NRA donations to politicians who expressed "thoughts and prayers" in lieu of meaningful gun control legislation were again publicized after the Las Vegas shootings in October 2017 and the Stoneman Douglas shooting in February 2018.
After the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Florida state senators held a contentious debate on SB 7026, which included funding for mental health programs and authorized teachers and school officials to carry concealed firearms; among the amendments that failed were a ban on assault weapons, large-capacity magazines, a gun registry, and requiring background checks for guns purchased out-of-state. Opponents of the ban on assault weapons included Sen. David H. Simmons, who drew an analogy to Nazi Germany's ban on private ownership of firearms, and Sen. Kelli Stargel, who questioned whether the ban would be extended to fertilizer (used in the Oklahoma City bombing) and pressure cookers (used in the Boston Marathon bombing). Stargel added "When we say 'thoughts and prayers,' it's frowned upon. And I take real offense at that because thoughts and prayers are really the only thing that’s gonna stop the evil from within the individual who is taking up their arms to do this kind of a massacre."
Following the Saugus High School shooting in November 2019, Saugus alumnus and former Representative Katie Hill released a statement saying her "thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families in my community today". Her statement also singled out Senator Mitch McConnell, saying he believed "it is more important to protect the NRA and the money he receives than it is to protect our kids" as McConnell has refused to advance four separate gun control bills that had passed the House but were not taken up by the Senate. Senator Chris Murphy moved to pass the universal background checks bill the same day the shootings had occurred, but the motion was blocked by Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith; both senators learned about the shooting after Hyde-Smith had blocked the bill. Vice President Mike Pence, in California for a tour of NASA Ames, expressed support for the Saugus High School community, conveying the hearts and prayers "of every American", adding "This president and this administration will remain resolved to bring the scourge of mass shootings to an end. And we will not rest or relent until we end this evil in our time and make our schools and communities safe again", which was received with skepticism on social media. Earlier that year, Pence had promised that "Under this President and this Vice President, no one is taking your guns. Under this President and this administration, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" in an April speech before the NRA convention, held in Indianapolis.
Gun control in other countriesEdit
This section may stray from the topic of the article. (September 2019)
After the Christchurch mosque shootings in 2019, prominent international figures offered their thoughts and prayers, including Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, Pope Francis, and Tsai Ing-wen. New Zealand legislators responded by passed a law banning the ownership of most semi-automatic weapons aside from pistols under limited circumstances. The response in New Zealand was singled out as a counterexample to "the same old tired script: one politician after another condemning the attack and offering thoughts and prayers to the victims and families. But something different happened. Instead of offering thoughts and prayers, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised action". Prior to the legislation, New Zealand had less restrictive gun ownership than many other Western countries. Social media posts were made mocking the effectiveness of "thoughts and prayers", comparing the rapid passage of gun control legislation in New Zealand with the repeated failure of United States gun control laws.
In many other Western countries, stricter gun control laws have been passed in response to gun violence. Besides New Zealand, new gun control laws have passed in the United Kingdom (after the Hungerford massacre in 1987, and again after the Dunblane massacre in 1996), Australia (the National Firearms Agreement, following the Port Arthur massacre of April 1996), Germany (after shootings in Erfurt in 2002 and Winnenden in 2009), and Norway (a belated response to the 2011 Norway attacks). The sustained grassroots campaign that resulted in a ban of all handguns in the UK following the Dunblane massacre of 1996 was contrasted with American inaction in 2018 by a Dunblane resident: "I wouldn't want thoughts and prayers, I would want policies and regulation and a grown-up discussion about changing the American gun culture."
In the wake of the February 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, PM Kevin Rudd sent his "thoughts and prayers" to those affected; a royal commission was set up to investigate the cause and response. The Climate Institute of Australia and the United Firefighters Union of Australia concluded that climate change had caused the extreme forest fire danger index leading up to Black Saturday and may have contributed to earlier bushfires dating back to 2001.
During the disastrous 2019–20 Australian bushfire season, PM Morrison and other government officials extended their "thoughts and prayers" to the victims; the phrase was criticized for how it was used to deflect attention away from how climate change and government policy may have affected the duration and intensity of the fire season. Also, PM Morrison was singled out for failing to provide support to fire victims. Earlier, in October 2019 PM Morrison had announced he would work to stymie protesters and activists from discouraging businesses from working with the coal mining industry. After the fires prompted him to cut short a vacation to Hawaii in late December, PM Morrison stated he had "always acknowledged the connection between these weather events and these broader fire events and the impact globally of climate change" and defended the government's actions to mitigate climate change, saying "we'll do it without economy wrecking or job destroying. We'll do it with sensible targets that get the balance right."
Deputy PM Michael McCormack dismissed the link between climate change and the bushfires as "ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital-city greenies", despite the federal National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework report, published in 2018, explicitly tying climate change to natural disasters: "Many natural hazards are becoming more frequent and more intense, driven by Australia's changing climate. ... There is growing potential for cumulative or concurrent, large-scale natural hazards to occur.":5 In addition, the State of the Climate 2018 report warned "There has been an associated increase in the length of the fire weather season. Climate change, including increasing temperatures, is contributing to these changes," and added "The drying in recent decades across southern Australia is the most sustained large-scale change in rainfall since national records began in 1900.":5;7 Adam Bandt called DPM McCormack "a dangerous fool" and added "[t]houghts and prayers are not enough, we need science and action too" in calling for a change in government policy. David Littleproud, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, stated he did not "want to weaponise [climate change policy] in the middle of someone's misery", stating it was "not the time" to discuss the government's policy. Deputy Premier of New South Wales John Barilaro called those who would link climate change to the bushfires a "bloody disgrace" for politicising the tragedy.
Cumulatively, the comments brought forward theories that Australian Greens policies were partially responsible for the intensity of the bushfires by stopping hazard reduction efforts and shifted the debate from the effect of climate change to whether a debate about climate change was appropriate. Although hazard reduction policies have been criticized after previous catastrophic bushfires, the claims that Greens policies have prevented backburning were called "very tired and very old conspiracy theories ... an obvious attempt to deflect the conversation away from climate change" by Professor Ross Bradstock; the hotter conditions leading to elevated forest fire danger indices for a longer time period instead were blamed for reduced preventative burning.
After an estimated 20,000 marched in December 2019 through the smoky streets of Sydney to protest the government's inaction on climate change, DPM McCormack acknowledged that climate change was "a factor" in the bushfires but added "it is important to note that most of these fires have been caused by 'Little Lucifers'", alluding to the possibility of arson. Arsonists have been responsible for bushfires in the past, and it was estimated that up to half of all bushfires are the result of arson or suspected arson per year. However, arson is suspected to have caused a small minority of the bushfires in the 2019–20 season.
In his third stand up special "Thoughts and Prayers", comedian Anthony Jeselnik skewers people who tweet out "thoughts and prayers" on the day of a tragedy, calling it a way for those people to garner attention in the face of a tragedy and saying that tweeting thoughts and prayers is so useless that it achieves "less than nothing".
In 2016, a web-based video game, Thoughts and Prayers: The Game, was published to argue that thoughts and prayers have had no effect on saving lives in the context of mass shootings.
The fifth episode of the fourth season of animated series BoJack Horseman, titled "Thoughts and Prayers", presents a real-life shooting that delays the opening of a new movie featuring gun violence.
Ironic sympathy for the NRAEdit
In early August 2018, after court documents were made public showing the National Rifle Association was having financial issues, satirical tweets were made offering thoughts and prayers for the NRA's troubles. Thoughts and prayers were again directed to the NRA in November 2018 after news broke that free coffee at the headquarters was being discontinued amid a sharp drop in revenue and again in December 2018 after suspected spy Maria Butina pleaded guilty to using her connections with the NRA as a way to infiltrate American conservative groups.
After the state of New York announced it would investigate the tax-exempt status of the NRA in April 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he would remember the organization in his thoughts and prayers. In June 2019, after the NRA discontinued live programming that had been carried on NRATV, "thoughts and prayers" were sent via social media.
In August 2020, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the NRA, seeking to dissolve it for illegal conduct. The NRA is registered in the state of New York as a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation, and the suit charges the NRA and four named defendants with failure to fulfill their fiduciary duty, resulting in a loss of $64 million in three years. The March for Our Lives organization responded by sarcastically offering 'thoughts and prayers' to the NRA via Twitter.
A song entitled "Thoughts and Prayers" appears on the 2018 album My American Dream by singer-songwriter Will Hoge, who wrote it after the Sutherland Springs church shooting. Hoge told Rolling Stone writer Jonathan Bernstein "I know that phrase can be a kind and thoughtful way to express sympathy when there is no other way to help, but after these shootings, using that stock response from these cowards on Capitol Hill is incredibly insulting. They have all the opportunities in the world to make a difference, but they do nothing. Then to just send out a phrase like 'thoughts and prayers,' as if we don’t all know that there is something they could do? It's shameful."
After the Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland, Florida, Canadian-American musician grandson wrote and released the song "thoughts & prayers" on March 23, 2018, which also criticizes politicians who resist "any attempt at meaningful gun reform".
The heavy metal band Motionless in White released a song entitled "Thoughts & Prayers" on June 2, 2019, the first single from their album Disguise. According to Chris "Motionless" Cerulli, "It's my commentary on the very evil ways that [religion is] used".
The Raconteurs also released their album Help Us Stranger in June 2019; the closing track is entitled "Thoughts and Prayers". When asked about that song, Jack White stated "That phrase has become meaningless. It's a thoughtless phrase. Basically an insult."
The punk group Good Riddance released an album entitled Thoughts and Prayers in August 2019. According to Russ Rankin, "I'm sick of hearing that [phrase], especially when there's a mass shooting in New Zealand and the nation takes steps to outlaw semi-automatic weapons in the same week. Meanwhile, here in America, we're dealing with hundreds and hundreds of mass shootings and not doing anything about it."
The Drive-By Truckers publicized their song "Thoughts and Prayers" from the studio album The Unraveling in January 2020. In his review of the album for Rolling Stone, Jonathan Bernstein characterizes the song as taking aim at the phrase he called "phony right-wing piety".
Filter released "Thoughts and Prayers" ahead of their album Murica in June 2020. Vocalist Richard Patrick called for action in lieu of the phrase: "'Thoughts and Prayers' has become a meaningless catchphrase that gets thrown out every time something bad happens. Usually a mass murder etc. It's an empty gesture. It's time for more than thoughts and prayers."
- Scribner, Herb (21 September 2017). "Celebrities share thoughts and prayers for Mexico and Puerto Rico victims". Deseret News. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- "Mark Kelly: 'Thoughts and prayers' from politicians 'aren't going to stop the next shooting'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
- Carter, Brandon (2 October 2017). "Dem rips colleagues for offering 'thoughts and prayers': 'Your cowardice to act cannot be whitewashed'". TheHill. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
- Telnaes, Ann (2 October 2017). "Opinion | Thoughts and prayers, again". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
- Martinelli, Marissa (2 October 2017). "BoJack Horseman's Mass Shooting Episode Reminds Us That "Thoughts and Prayers" Won't Stop Gun Violence". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
- Murray, Douglas (23 March 2017). "Pray for London, for Antwerp, for Nice: this is Europe's new normal". The Spectator. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- Brigham, Bob (2 October 2017). "'Enough BS': Ex-Bush ethics lawyer derides politicians offering 'thoughts and prayers' after Las Vegas massacre". RawStory. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- Bort, Ryan (2 October 2017). "Thoughts and prayers and not much more: Politicians react to Las Vegas shooting". Newsweek. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- "A Message to Individuals Impacted by Hurricane Katrina" (Press release). Walmart. 2 September 2005. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- Clinton, Bill (2 September 2005). "Statement: Hurricane Katrina Relief" (Press release). Clinton Foundation. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- "Thoughts, prayers and love". Stuff.
- "Our Thoughts & Prayers Go Out to the People of New Zealand - FEMA.gov". www.fema.gov.
- "Archdiocese of Wellington – Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Christchurch". www.wn.catholic.org.nz.
- "Stars send prayers to Christchurch quake victims". 22 February 2011 – via www.newshub.co.nz.
- Robinson, Marilyn; Obmascik, Mark; Lowe, Peggy (24 April 1999). "Official: Bombs planted during prom party?". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
- S.Res. 313 at Congress.gov
- Chan, Melissa (12 June 2016). "U.S. Political Leaders React to Pulse Nightclub Shooting in Orlando". Time. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
- Levitz, Eric (2 October 2017). "Trump Sticks to Thoughts and Prayers in Speech on Las Vegas Shooting". New York. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
- Jackson, Angie (11 July 2016). "Donald Trump offers 'thoughts and prayers' to victims in Michigan courthouse shooting". mlive.com. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
- Searles, Kaylin (29 November 2016). "President-elect Donald Trump's 'thoughts and prayers' with TN amid wildfires". Fox 17 News Nashville. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
- Schouten, Fredreka (27 August 2016). "Don Cheadle unleashes Twitter storm on Donald Trump". USA Today. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
- Wigglesworth, Alex (15 June 2017). "Trump's message for the Congressional Baseball Game". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
- Serna, Joseph (6 December 2017). "Trump tweets 'thoughts and prayers' to Californians affected by wildfire". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
- Cummings, William (24 March 2018). "Trump tweets 'thoughts and prayers' for victims of attack in France". USA Today. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
- Garofoli, Joe (3 April 2018). "Trump tweets 'thoughts and prayers' for YouTube shooting victims". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
- Wagner, Meg; Rocha, Veronica; Ries, Brian (29 June 2018). "Deadly shooting at Maryland Newspaper". CNN. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
- Graham, Ruth (15 February 2018). "Republicans Have Finally Stopped Using the Phrase 'Thoughts and Prayers'". Slate. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
- Trump, Donald J. (14 February 2018). "My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school". Twitter. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
- Morrison, Scott (8 November 2019). "Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been so directly and horribly impacted by these fires". Twitter. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- "Is climate change to blame for Australia's bushfires?". BBC News. 11 November 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- Rigby, Sam (2 October 2017). "Beyond thoughts and prayers: People line up at blood banks to help the victims of the Las Vegas shooting". Quartz. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- Kristofferson, Kirk; White, Katherine; Peloza, John (April 2014). "The Nature of Slacktivism: How the Social Observability of an Initial Act of Token Support Affects Subsequent Prosocial Action". Journal of Consumer Research. 40 (6): 1149–66. doi:10.1086/674137.
- Merritt, Anna C.; Effron, Daniel A.; Monin, Benoit (5 May 2010). "Moral Self-Licensing: When Being Good Frees Us to Be Bad". Social and Personality Psychology Compass. 4 (5): 344–357. doi:10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00263.x.
- Jordan, Jennifer; Mullen, Elizabeth; Murninghan, J. Keith (14 March 2011). "Striving for the Moral Self: The Effects of Recalling Past Moral Actions on Future Moral Behavior". Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 37 (5): 701–713. doi:10.1177/0146167211400208. PMID 21402752. S2CID 13098510.
- Zamzow, Jen (12 August 2019). "Offering Thoughts, Prayers Can Make You Less Likely to Act". Ethics Daily. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Willingham, AJ (20 February 2018). "How 'thoughts and prayers' went from common condolence to cynical meme". CNN. Cable News Network. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
- Foiles, Jonathan. "Thoughts and Prayers: Taking a deeper look at a popular yet polarizing phrase". The Thing With Feathers [blog]. Psychology Today. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- vanden Heuvel, Katrina (16 April 2007). "Beyond Thoughts and Prayers". The Nation. Archived from the original on 28 April 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- Helmke, Paul (16 April 2007). "Nation Again Grieves Over A Tragedy "Of Monumental Proportions" (Press release). Brady Campaign. Archived from the original on 2 May 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- "Statement by the President on the Shootings at Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, Oregon". Obama White House Archives. White House Office of the Press Secretary. 1 October 2015.
- "Daily Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest, 10/5/2015". whitehouse.gov. 5 October 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015 – via National Archives.
- Diamond, Jeremy (3 December 2015). "Connecticut senator has had enough of 'thoughts' and 'prayers'". CNN. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
- Otis, Ginger Adams (3 December 2015). "Daily News cover calling out pols' empty rhetoric after San Bernardino shooting prompts strong responses". New York Daily News. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- "Florida shooting: 'Policy and change' not 'thoughts and prayers'". BBC Newsbeat. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- Elizabeth, De (18 February 2018). "Parkland Students Are Saying What Adult Politicians Won't". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- Kuruvilla, Carol (16 February 2018). "These Religious Leaders Are Fed Up With GOP's Thoughts and Prayers". Huffpost Politics. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- Wright, Jennifer (5 August 2019). "Why Politicians Offer Prayers After a Mass Shooting". Harper's Bazaar. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
- Burr, Thomas (4 August 2019). "Utah's congressional delegation calls for a national conversation about ways to reduce gun violence". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Powers, Kirsten (3 October 2017). "Acts of Faith: Why 'thoughts and prayers' is starting to sound so profane". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- DeBerry, Jarvis (2 October 2017). "Opinion: Your thoughts and prayers haven't stopped mass shootings". The Times-Picayune. New Orleans, Louisiana. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- James 2:14–2:16
- Lenartowick, Kerri (21 July 2013). "Always unite prayer and action, Pope Francis says". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- Dalai Lama (9 February 2018). "Tweet". Twitter. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- Matthew 6:5
- Buice, Josh (10 December 2015). "Thoughts on Thoughts and Prayers". Delivered by Grace [blog]. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Rasmussen, John (19 February 2018). "Some Thoughts About 'Thoughts and Prayers'". The Beggars Blog. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Coward, Laura (9 July 2016). "In Defense of Offering Our 'Thoughts and Prayers'". Huffpost. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- Ross, Kimberly (13 June 2016). "'Thoughts And Prayers' Are Always Needed After Terror Strikes". RedState. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- McLaughlin, Aidan (8 November 2017). "Fox & Friends Guest: Those Rejecting Thoughts and Prayers Have 'More in Common With The Shooter'". Mediaite. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- Beaty, Katelyn (6 October 2017). "The Case for 'Thoughts and Prayers'—Even If You Don't Believe in God". The Atlantic. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- Weigel, David (17 December 2012). "How the NRA Defeats National Tragedies". Slate. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- Wise, Justin (5 August 2019). "Mike Huckabee suggests 'lack of thought and prayers' behind mass shootings". The Hill.
- Benen, Steve (1 October 2015). "An angry president argues, 'Thoughts and prayers are not enough'". MSNBC. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- Obama, Barack (1 October 2015). Statement on Umpqua Community College Mass Shooting (Speech). Washington, D.C.
- Lopez, German (7 October 2015). "Obama is right. Inaction in the face of mass shootings is also a political act". Vox. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- Leibovich, Mark (13 October 2015). "Do Politicians' 'Thoughts and Prayers' Mean Anything?". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- Hesse, Monica (2 October 2017). "What we're really saying when we say 'Don't politicize tragedy'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- Harden, John D.; Iati, Marisa (20 April 2019). "How President Obama politicized the use of 'thoughts and prayers' after mass shootings". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- Yim, Noah (17 November 2019). "Opinion: 'Thoughts and prayers' a familiar part of the cycle of disaster". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- Henneberger, Melinda (8 November 2017). "Opinion: Thoughts, prayers and babies killed in church: Let's politicize the Texas shooting". Bangor Daily News. The Kansas City Star. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- Deitch, Charlie (6 August 2019). "Opinion: Thoughts And Prayers Following Recent Mass Shootings". Pittsburgh Current. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- Ingraham, Christopher (27 July 2015). "Why it's never 'the right time' to discuss gun control". The Washington Post. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- Zurcher, Anthony (21 March 2019). "US gun laws: Why it won't follow New Zealand's lead". BBC News. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Hodges, Dan (19 June 2015). "Tweet". Twitter. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- Trifunov, David (14 December 2012). "Obama, politicians react to Sandy Hook shooting with sadness, questions (VIDEO)". PRI. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- Cirilli, Kevin; Robillard, Kevin (14 December 2012). "Pols offer prayers". Politico. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- Siddiqui, Sabrina (17 April 2018). "'Shameful day in Washington': five years after gun reform failed, is change coming?". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- Plait, Phil (13 June 2016). "Orlando: What can you do in the Face of Another Senseless Gun Tragedy". Slate. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- Wickman, Forrest (12 June 2016). "GOP Congressmen Offer 'Thoughts and Prayers'. Here's How Much the NRA Gave Them to Offer Nothing More". Slate. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- Leonhardt, David; Philbrick, Ian Prasad; Thompson, Stuart A. (4 October 2017). "OPINION: Thoughts and Prayers and N.R.A. Funding". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- MacGuill, Dan (15 February 2018). "Did Politicians Tweeting 'Thoughts and Prayers' Receive Millions of Dollars from the NRA?". Snopes. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- "CS/SB 7026: Public Safety". The Florida Senate. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- Klas, Mary Ellen; Bousquet, Steve; Mower, Lawrence (3 March 2018). "Florida Senate rejects ban on assault weapons as it advances school safety proposals". Miami Herald. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- Madan, Monique O. (5 March 2018). "Only 'thoughts and prayers' will stop evil behind shootings, Florida state senator says". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- Gajana, Mahita; Vesoulis, Abby (14 November 2019). "'It's Going to Be Hard to Forget,' Students Describe Chaos and Horror of Santa Clarita School Shooting". Time. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
- Khan, Mariam (14 November 2019). "'Don't stay silent': Democrats lash out as GOP blocks gun measure amid school shooting". ABC News. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
- Forestieri, Kevin (14 November 2019). "Pence tours NASA Ames, talks space exploration and mass shootings". Palo Alto online. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
- Moye, David (14 November 2019). "Mike Pence Vows To End School Shootings, But Twitter Users Seem Skeptical". Huffpost. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
- Clark, Andrew (26 April 2019). "Read Mike Pence's speech from the NRA convention in Indianapolis". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
- Barraclough, Breanna (15 March 2019). "Queen Elizabeth 'deeply saddened' by horrific terror attacks in Christchurch". Newshub New Zealand. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- Khan, Imran (14 March 2019). "Tweet". Twitter. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- "The Latest: Iranian minister says bigotry led to attack". AP News. AP. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- Schwartz, Matthew S. (10 April 2019). "New Zealand Passes Law Banning Most Semi-Automatic Weapons". NPR. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- "Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts): Amendment Act 2019". Parliamentary Counsel Office, New Zealand. 11 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- Editorial Board (18 March 2019). "Editorial: New Zealand response to massacre puts us to shame". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Kolirin, Lianne (19 March 2019). "New Zealand Prime Minister says, 'Our gun laws will change'". CNN World. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Bostock, Bill (21 March 2019). "People are mocking 'thoughts and prayers' messages after New Zealand announced new gun laws within 6 days of a mass shooting". Business Insider Australia. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Mervosh, Sarah (21 March 2019). "New Zealand Took 6 Days to Plan New Gun Laws. Here's How Other Countries Reacted to Shootings". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- Wilkinson, Peter (30 January 2013). "Dunblane: How UK school massacre led to tighter gun control". CNN. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- Beck, Katie (4 October 2017). "Would Australia's gun laws help the US?". BBC News. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Kirschbaum, Erik (15 June 2016). "After its own mass shootings, Germany beefed up gun control laws. The number of shootings dropped". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- "Norway set to ban semi-automatic guns from 2021, 10 years after Utoya shooting". The Guardian. AFP. 27 February 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- Hunter, Rosemary (16 February 2018). "We banned the guns that killed school children in Dunblane. Here's how". New Statesman. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Tony Abbott (25 October 2013). "Andrew Bolt tackles the PM on the big issues". Herald Sun (Interview). Interviewed by Andrew Bolt. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
- "Bushfire deaths appalling, army on stand-by: Rudd". ABC News. 7 February 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
- "Australia bushfires report calls for response changes". BBC News. 31 July 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
- Dempster, Quentin (20 February 2009). "The fires of climate change". ABC News. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
- Submission [to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission] (PDF) (Report). The Climate Institute of Australia. May 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
- Tyeson, Cam (11 November 2019). "While NSW Burns, The coalition Is Wasting Time Offering Prayers & Climate-Denying Bullshit". Pedestrian Daily. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- "Why Australia's PM is facing climate anger amid bushfires". BBC News. 20 December 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Scott, Jason (31 October 2019). "Australia's Pro-Coal Leader Signals War on Climate Activism". Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Brockett, Matthew (21 December 2019). "Australian PM Downplays Climate Change as Cause of Deadly Fires". Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Michael McCormack (11 November 2019). "Deputy PM slams 'raving inner city lunatics' for bushfire climate link". RN Breakfast (Interview). Interviewed by Cathy Van Extel. ABC. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- Crowe, David (11 November 2019). "Deputy PM slams people raising climate change in relation to NSW bushfires". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework (PDF) (Report). Commonwealth of Australia. 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- State of the Climate 2018 (PDF) (Report). Bureau of Meteorology, Commonwealth of Australia. 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Baker, Nick (11 November 2019). "NSW mayor slams deputy PM's 'insulting' climate change attack during bushfires". SBS News. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Smith, Alexandra; Crowe, David (11 November 2019). "Deputy Premier says climate change talk amid fire crisis a 'disgrace'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Remeikis, Amy (16 November 2019). "Australia's bushfire politics: the parties prevaricate while the country burns". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Devine, Miranda (13 January 2013). "Opinion: Let's tell the burning truth about bushfires and the ALP-Greens coalition". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
- Readfearn, Graham (12 November 2019). "Factcheck: Is there really a green conspiracy to stop bushfire hazard reduction?". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
- Mullins, Greg (11 November 2019). "Opinion: This is not normal: what's different about the NSW mega fires". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
- "Australia climate change: Thousands rally in Sydney amid bushfires". BBC News. 11 December 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- Foley, Meraiah (9 February 2009). "Australia Police Confirm Arson Role in Wildfires". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
- Mann, Alex (19 November 2017). "Why do people light bushfires? A convicted arsonist explains". ABC News. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
- Amos, Owen (14 November 2019). "Australian fires: Why do people start fires during fires?". BBC News. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
- Irfan, Umair (9 January 2020). "The viral false claim that nearly 200 arsonists are behind the Australia fires, explained". Vox. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- Kircher, Madison Malone (17 June 2016). "This Is Not Your Average Shooting Game". New York. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
- @NYGovCuomo (4 August 2018). "If the @NRA goes bankrupt because of the State of New York, they'll be in my thoughts and prayers.
I'll see you in court" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Pitofsky, Marina (4 August 2018). "Twitter users troll NRA for financial woes, calling for 'thoughts and prayers.'". USA Today. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
- Mazza, Ed (16 November 2018). "Twitter Users Taunt NRA With 'Thoughts And Prayers' Amid Reports Of Financial Struggles". Huffpost. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
- Woellert, Lorraine (27 November 2018). "NRA's fortunes fell as gun-control groups gained power". Politico. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
- Phifer, Donica (13 December 2018). "David Hogg sends 'thoughts and prayers' to NRA after Maria Butina pleads guilty". Newsweek. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
- Sameuls, Brett (29 April 2019). "Cuomo responds to Trump criticism: New York will remember NRA 'in our thoughts and prayers'". The Hill. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- Joyner, Alfred (26 June 2019). "People send 'thoughts and prayers' to Dana Loesch after NRATV cancelled". Newsweek. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- "Attorney General James Files Lawsuit to Dissolve NRA" (Press release). New York State Office of the Attorney General. 6 August 2020. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
- Gstalter, Morgan (6 August 2020). "March For Our Lives trolls NRA after NY lawsuit: 'Sending thoughts and prayers'". The Hill. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
- @AMarch4OurLives (6 August 2020). "Sending thoughts and prayers to the @NRA..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Bernstein, Jonathan (30 November 2017). "Hear Will Hoge Rip the NRA, Weak Politicians in New 'Thoughts & Prayers'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- Newman, Melinda (4 April 2018). "Grandson Signs With Fueled By Ramen Following His Powerful Post-Parkland Theme, 'Thoughts & Prayers'". Billboard. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- Browny (7 June 2019). "Chris Motionless Says 'Thoughts And Prayers' Takes Aim At The Evil Ways Religion Is Used Globally". Wall of Sound. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- Pollard, Alexandra (22 June 2019). "The Raconteurs' Jack White and Brendan Benson: 'Shockingly, it's still seen as a novelty when a woman plays an instrument'". Independent. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- Russ Rankin (25 July 2019). "A Continuance Of Momentum: Good Riddance On new Album". New Noise (Interview). Interviewed by Gen Handley. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
- Bernstein, Jonathan (31 January 2020). "Drive-By Truckers Channel Their Disgust With Trump's America on 'The Unraveling'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
- Childers, Chad (18 June 2020). "Filter Seek Action Over Words With 'Thoughts and Prayers' Song". Loudwire. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Thoughts and prayers.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Thoughts and prayers|
- Burton, Tara Isabella (3 October 2017). "10 faith leaders on 'thoughts and prayers' – and action – after tragedy". Vox. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- "Thoughts and Prayers". Google Trends.