HUNT COLUMN: Prayer Warriors vs. Keyboard Warriors

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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There’s been a whole lot of praying in our community the last few days – more than usual I would guess.

Last Thursday, two different accidents caused injuries, some critical, to several of our high school seniors. I’ve just received word that the parents of one had to make the crushing decision to let her go.

And we’ve been praying for these girls. We prayed at the school board meeting Thursday evening. We prayed at my church, St. Mark’s, Sunday morning. On Sunday evening we prayed at the service when our choir sang with the choir at First Presbyterian for a joint Pentecost service. I’m sure special prayers were being said at churches and in homes across Troup County.

Prayer warriors are hard at work. But it’s not really work. It’s love. It’s compassion. Prayer warriors are people committed to interceding for others. They fight battles – their own and others’ — through a dedicated prayer life.

Amid this concerted effort, some different warriors didn’t even take a pause. I’m talking about keyboard warriors. These are people who sit in relative safety in front of their computer screens and frequently pound the keys to spew accusatory and demeaning comments about others, usually people they’ve never met. Or they take what little they know about any given situation and formulate some self-righteous indignation or conspiracy theory which they then broadcast across social media as if it were the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Some of the stuff I read on Facebook this weekend I can’t bring myself to address here because it was so despicable. But here’s one example of something that absolutely astounded me. After the announcement at last week’s board work session that starting next school year every single student in our system would be receiving free lunch and breakfast, some of our local keyboard warriors went wild. “So my property taxes are going up again because we’re giving away more free stuff to kids of worthless parents!” was the gist.

I’ll respond to that here. First, this funding won’t affect anybody’s school taxes. It’s coming from the federal government. “Okay,” the naysayer will continue, “but I pay taxes to them as well!” Yes, but consider the fact that they’re going to give that school meal money to someone, so why would we not accept it to make our families’ lives easier? You can continue your beef (pun intended) with the feds, but leave the TCSS out of it. And here’s something you probably don’t realize: more than one of our high schools last year had thousands of dollars in food debt because of allowing students to eat lunch on credit rather than go hungry. Despite some generous donations, much of that debt goes uncollected. But the system must pay our food contractor, so where does that money come from? The system’s budget, that you pay taxes toward. Let’s face it; this is good news for our kids, parents, and bottom line.

“The pen is mightier than the sword” is an old adage that encapsulates the lasting (rather than sudden, violent) power of the written word to effect change — for the better or the worse. Today, writing with keyboards is faster and easier than writing in longhand, and audiences are much more quickly reached. The inefficiency of the pen was probably a good thing though, in that the writer had much more time to consider the import of their words before “posting.”

In any case, the vitriol published on social media will never stand up to the living-proof power of love and compassion. Lord, help us tune out the noise and concentrate on what really matters – loving, helping, and praying for our neighbors. I’ll take a prayer warrior over a keyboard warrior any day.