#Prayforparis debate steers away from the real issues

Browsing through the familiar blue-lined Facebook icon, I perused the daily newsfeed on my iPhone. There, I observed a new trend that was littered throughout the daily feed: dueling hashtags of #prayforparis and #dontprayforparis were scattered in the comment section of Pray for Paris’s Facebook page, leaving a bitter taste in my mouth. Rather than banding together in the face of a terrible tragedy, the internet is chock full of outrage over the religious element of Pray for Paris.

In moments of tragedy, we should unite instead of dividing over our religious opinions. Personally, I will be praying for Paris. Let me rephrase that: I will be praying for the monumental number of people grieving the loss of their loved ones who were taken away so abruptly.

Instead of talking about the horrible tragedy that took so many innocent lives, people are debating whether or not others should be influenced to pray. The amount of hate and discord over people’s religious expression is astounding.

Twitter is also filled with arguments about Pray for Paris, with some saying that religion is responsible for the mayhem and that the word pray isn’t politically correct. French cartoonist Joann Sfar asked social media users to not let Pray for Paris define the city with his hashtag #parisisaboutlife, which advocates for people’s thoughts to go toward music, champagne and kisses instead.

Wasting time and text on these arguments are disrespectful to the lives lost. Yes, I understand our constitutional freedoms of religion and expression, but come on — more than 100 people were murdered in a deplorable massacre Friday. We need to show respect and discuss the larger issues instead of picking petty fights.

There has been dreadful carnage in Paris, which has resulted in precious lives lost. Our thoughts and prayers, if wishing to partake in prayers, should go out to the families and victims affected.