Gervais calls out Twitter users for response to Oklahoma tornado

Published: Wednesday, May 22 2013 2:10 p.m. MDT

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In wake of the tornado that swept through Moore, Okla., on Monday, thousands of Twitter users have used the hashtag "#PrayForOklahoma" to pledge their support to the victims and those affected by the deadly storm.

While it may be a nice gesture, some think it's useless.

CNN's Daniel Burke reports that on Tuesday, comedian Ricky Gervais quoted a tweet by MTV News that read, "Beyonce, Rihanna & Katy Perry send prayers to #Oklahoma #PrayForOklahoma." He responded with, "I feel like an idiot now. ... I only sent money."

Gervais and others countered with a hashtag of their own, #ActuallyDoSomethingForOklahoma. Gervais, an outspoken opponent of organized religion, later tweeted that the best way to help the victims in Oklahoma was to donate directly to the Red Cross.

A text to the Red Cross donates $10 to the relief fund, while a prayer does not.

The tweet by Gervais sparked debate on the effectiveness of prayer in response to such a tragedy.

"If all people are doing is praying, it is worthless," said Hemant Mehta, an Illinois math teacher and blogger of the "Friendly Atheist." While speaking to CNN, she added, "If they are praying and donating to the Red Cross, that's more like it."

But believers have had input as well.

"God is still in control!" wrote Wilber Dugger, a commenter on CNN's Facebook page. "Everything (God) does is to get our attention. … My sympathy and prayers go out to those who get caught up in his demonstrations of (God) ruling the world.”

Editor's Note: The original version of this story posted on May 22, 2013, failed to properly attribute all source materials, which violates our editorial policies. The story was revised on Oct. 8, 2013 to link to original source material.

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