I see much backlash against the idea of prayer for the victims of the Japan earthquake. Out of context, this backlash is at best insensitive, at worst bigoted, right?
The problem, I suspect, is precisely the context. Praying is indeed harmless and not only it doesn’t hurt anybody but it gives people hope. However, at the other side of the spectrum we have a whole bunch of people who have not only been alienated but attacked in very concrete ways by some folks who make prayer not just a lifestyle choice, but an entire ideology. So, can we blame those who now get up in arms any time the words “prayer” or “faith” or “God” are mentioned?
Sometimes it is difficult to separate the few extremists from the well intentioned, especially when people have been hurt by some of these ideas.