- The Washington Times - Monday, February 26, 2018

A prayer request for director Kevin Smith by actor Chris Pratt sparked anger and derision early Monday among a throng of Twitter users.

The 47-year-old director of “Clerks” narrowly avoided death Sunday after a heart attack, but his Hollywood peers failed to escape a religious debate on prayer after wishing him a speedy recovery. Mr. Pratt tweeted a heartfelt message, but the anger it elicited prompted friend and “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn to intervene.

“Kevin we don’t know each other too good but I have loved you since Clerks and I’m praying my ass off for you cause I believe in the healing power of prayer,” Mr. Pratt, a Christian, began a series of tweets. “Can you please pray with me people!? Praying for you. I will continue to. You inspired me with Clerks when I was a senior HS. I’m tagging my Lb/rb football coach who showed me the movie cause he believed in me and knew I’d be inspired.”

Responses pertaining to “the great sky fairy,” the “alleged deity,” the “flying spaghetti monster,” and the inefficacy of prayer then prompted Mr. Gunn to weigh in.

“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,’” he wrote. “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. 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. … Prayers alone will not change the world.”

“But no one expects Chris Pratt to shoulder doctors out of the way and perform heart surgery on Kevin Smith,” Mr. Gunn continued. “Nor does Kevin need Chris to pay his medical bills. So I think his prayers are appreciated, and about all he can do. 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.

“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,” he wrote. “I feel lucky to have these tools.”

The director added that he would “gratefully” accept prayers in the future if he becomes sick.

Mr. Smith is recovering in California’s Glendale Adventist Hospital.

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