Although I believe some interesting questions could be raised about liability in a legal sense, I am focusing on the moral sort of liability here. By covering prayer in the way they do, is the news media implicitly promoting it as a viable coping strategy? If so, do they not share some of the responsibility for the injuries and loss of life that often happen next?
I started thinking about this question after reading a recent post by Stardust at God is for Suckers! The post referenced an article from MSNBC on Hurricane Ike. Stardust calls on the news media to "STOP THIS PRAYER BULLCRAP and encourage people to follow evacuation orders to get the hell out of the storm’s path."
I agree. By describing case after case of people resorting to prayer instead of effective coping skills, the news media is indeed promoting prayer. In doing so, they are endangering people. Prayer is far from harmless, especially as an alternative to action.
For similar stories, see the following:
- Man Refuses to Leave New Orleans Because "God Won't Let That Happen Again"
- God to Punish Houston For Accepting Katrina Refugees
- Houstonians try to pray away Ike
- Christians in Texas Command Hurricane Ike to Stop