How Praying for Gun Victims Backfired for a Texas Congressman


A devastating mass shooting occurred on Saturday, May 6, 2023, at a mall in Allen, Texas. The tragic incident claimed the lives of nine individuals, including children, and left seven others injured. The perpetrator, a 24-year-old male with a history of mental illness and domestic violence, was subsequently killed by the police.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, numerous individuals expressed their grief, anger, and frustration over the loss of innocent lives and the lack of effective measures to prevent such incidents. Among them was Rep. Keith Self, a staunch Republican congressman who represents Allen. Known for his unwavering support of gun rights and religious freedom, his response stirred outrage and ignited a passionate debate.

How Praying for Gun Victims Backfired for a Texas Congressman

During an interview with CNN, they Self-proclaimed prayer as the “powerful” solution for the affected families and communities, suggesting that those who believed otherwise lacked faith in an almighty God who completely controls our lives.

His statement triggered a backlash from many who accused him of insensitivity, ignorance, and irresponsibility. Critics argued that prayer alone cannot address the complex and systemic factors contributing to gun violence, such as mental health issues, domestic abuse, poverty, racism, and lenient gun laws. Some questioned his understanding of faith and the role of God in human affairs.

This blog will delve into the congressman’s response, examining its implications for the ongoing debate on gun violence and religion in America.


Representing Texas’s 3rd congressional district, which encompasses Allen and parts of Collin County, Rep. Keith Self is a four-term congressman. He aligns himself with the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative Republicans advocating for limited government, fiscal responsibility, and individual liberty.

Self is a devout Christian who firmly believes in the foundation of the United States on Judeo-Christian principles and recognizes the significance of religious freedom for a democratic society. He has been vocal about his opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage, transgender rights, and other social issues that he considers contrary to biblical values.

As a strong defender of the Second Amendment, Self has received an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA), the largest gun rights lobby group in the country. He has consistently voted against bills aiming to expand background checks, ban assault weapons, and restrict high-capacity magazines. His stance asserts that law-abiding citizens possess the right to own and carry firearms for self-defense and recreational purposes, arguing that stricter gun control measures would not prevent criminals or terrorists from illegally obtaining weapons.

Additionally, Self supports the idea of arming teachers and school staff as a deterrent against potential shooters. In 2022, he co-sponsored a bill proposing federal grants for states that permit school employees to carry concealed weapons on campus.


Rep. Self’s response to the Allen shooting reflects his deep-rooted convictions regarding God and guns. However, it also unveils certain flaws and challenges associated with his position.

Firstly, his response implies that prayer is the sole or superior method of addressing gun violence, suggesting that those who disagree are either lacking in genuine faith or distrustful of God’s control over our lives. This dichotomy fails to acknowledge the diverse and intricate religious perspectives and experiences held by Americans.

How Praying for Gun Victims Backfired for a Texas Congressman

Many individuals who pray also believe that God expects them to take action and assume responsibility for their own lives and society. They perceive prayer not as a substitute for policy or prevention, but as a complement or catalyst. Furthermore, they recognize that prayer can assume various forms and expressions depending on one’s faith tradition, and personal preference.

Moreover, numerous individuals who do not pray or hold beliefs in God still deeply care about the issue of gun violence and its victims. They draw guidance or motivation from alternative sources, such as humanism

Moreover, numerous individuals who do not pray or hold beliefs in God still deeply care about the issue of gun violence and its victims. They draw guidance or motivation from alternative sources, such as humanism, secularism, or spirituality. They may also employ other methods of coping or healing, such as therapy, meditation, or activism.

Secondly, Self’s response suggests that he subscribes to a deterministic or fatalistic view of God’s will and role in human affairs. He appears to believe that every occurrence is part of God’s plan and purpose, leaving humans with little or no influence or choice over their own destiny.

This viewpoint raises theological and ethical questions. For instance:

  • If God is in control of everything, why does He allow the existence of evil and suffering?
  • If God has a plan for everything, what purpose do human free will and agency serve?
  • If God expects us to pray for His intervention or guidance, why are prayers not always answered or His will made clear?
  • If God loves us unconditionally, why does He judge us based on our beliefs or actions?

Thirdly, Self’s response indicates a narrow or selective understanding of the causes and solutions to gun violence. He appears to overlook or dismiss the multifaceted and interconnected factors that contribute to the problem, such as mental health issues, domestic abuse, poverty, racism, and lenient gun laws. Additionally, he fails to acknowledge or reject the evidence and expertise that support the notion that stricter gun control measures can reduce the frequency and severity of mass shootings and other forms of gun violence.

This limited perspective inhibits his ability to comprehensively and effectively address the issue. It also hinders constructive dialogue and collaboration with individuals who hold different perspectives or propose alternative solutions. Furthermore, it alienates many of his constituents and fellow Americans who seek more substantive actions from their leaders, rather than solely relying on prayers.


In conclusion, Rep. Keith Self’s faith-based response to the Allen shooting not only sparked controversy and insensitivity but also revealed flaws and inadequacies in his position. While his statement shed light on his beliefs concerning God and guns, it also exposed weaknesses and challenges in his approach. Consequently, his response incited outrage and stimulated debates among the public and other politicians, highlighting the imperative for greater understanding and action regarding the intersections of gun violence and religion in America.

As a congressman, Self bears the responsibility to represent and serve his district and country, transcending personal or partisan interests. He also possesses an opportunity to learn from and listen to individuals with diverse perspectives and experiences, collaborating to find common ground and effective solutions.

As a Christian, he has a duty to emulate the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ, who espoused love, compassion, justice, and peace. This includes praying for and standing in solidarity with those who are suffering or struggling, demonstrating God’s grace and mercy.

As a human being, the Self retains the power to change and grow, to acknowledge mistakes and improve actions. He possesses a voice to advocate and speak out, apologize, or engage in constructive dialogue.

The question of what he and we will do next remains unanswered, awaiting our collective choices and actions.

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