After reading the concerning tweet that fellow actor and director Kevin Smith posted yesterday about surviving a near-fatal heart attack, Chris Pratt quickly took to Twitter in request of prayer from followers.
After the first show this evening, I had a massive heart attack. The Doctor who saved my life told me I had 100% blockage of my LAD artery (aka “the Widow-Maker”). If I hadn’t canceled show 2 to go to the hospital, I would’ve died tonight. But for now, I’m still above ground! pic.twitter.com/M5gSnW9E5h
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) February 26, 2018
“Kevin we don’t know each other too good,” wrote Pratt, “but I have loved you since Clerks and I’m praying my a** off for you cause I believe in the healing power of prayer. Can you please pray with me people!?”
Disappointingly, yet perhaps unsurprisingly in an era where everything generates offense, Twitter trolls instantly jumped at the opportunity to bash Pratt.
‘How dare you have the audacity to make a prayer request instead of relying on medicine alone?‘ seemed to be the common theme among critics.
Below are just a few of the cutting remarks:
The reactions echoed the response the openly Christian actor recevied in 2016 when he petitioned for prayer for 4-year-old fan Spencer Hodnett who was suffering from brain cancer:
Amidst the bitter division, thankfully director and screenwriter James Gunn hit back with some bold truth that was pretty hard to argue.
So I just read Chris Pratt’s tweet to Kevin Smith saying he would pray for him & made the mistake of reading the comments, many of which go off on Chris for saying he’d pray. I think people misunderstand the backlash against “thoughts & prayers.” (thread)
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) February 26, 2018
“So I just read Chris Pratt’s tweet to Kevin Smith saying he would pray for him & made the mistake of reading the comments,” he wrote. “Many of which go off on Chris for saying he’d pray. I think people misunderstand the backlash against ‘thoughts & prayers.'”
While Gunn’s faith background is unclear, he followed with several points regarding the role of prayer paired with action that gained a viral response. While admitting he wasn’t here to defnind Chris (as he’s a “big boy”), Gunn refused to remain silent about the nonsensical backlash surrounding the actor’s simple prayer request.
In a series of replies, the director laid out the following supporting arguments:
“2 There is nothing wrong with sending someone positive thoughts & prayers. But when this is coupled with inaction when action will benefit the situation, it’s empty.”
“3 If you’re offering Parkland shooting survivors prayers, but are unwilling to deal with the problems of gun violence in this country in a practical way, those prayers are empty.”
“4 And if you’re going to offer prayers to the folks suffering in Puerto Rico, you might consider adding a link for a donation or calling on your representatives to take action, in addition to those prayers. Prayers alone will not change the world.”
“5 But no one expects Chris Pratt to shoulder doctors out of the way and perform heart surgery on Kevin Smith. Nor does Kevin need Chris to pay his medical bills. So I think his prayers are appreciated, and about all he can do.”
“6 I’m not tweeting this to defend Chris – he’s a big boy and can take care of himself. But for me, personally, prayer and meditation are great boons to my life and help me navigate my way through this world, and I don’t want to dissuade others who find those things useful.”
“7 I honestly would not be doing what I’m doing in either my career, or in speaking out on political matters, if I wasn’t led there through prayers and meditation. I feel lucky to have these tools.”
“8 I don’t think that means YOU need to pray. I don’t. There are many ways to navigate this life. Mine is only one of them. Prayer isn’t for everyone but, in the face of helplessness, it’s often meant as an acknowledgement that one cares (and we all care about
“9 If I am ever sick I will gratefully accept any of your thoughts and prayers. And will not be as grateful for some random fan knocking down my doctor and performing his own brand of kick a** surgery on me. Love to you all. Have a great week.”
Surprisingly, Gunn’s levelheaded response was met with a resounding “Amen” from Christians and atheists alike.
While a few relentless trolls continued to argue, the director opened the floodgates for more people to respond with testaments to the importance and power of prayer:
In the words of one Twitter user, we unfortunately live in a world where people will figure out a way to get offended if somebody says “potato.”
I don’t know about you, but that makes me even more thankful for people like Pratt and Gunn who are willing to defend the evermore controversial word of “prayer” with boldness and class.