Watch: Stephen Colbert explains why 'thoughts and prayers' matter

On Monday's "Late Show," host Stephen Colbert spoke on what many considered "prayer shaming" after recent tragedies.

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  • When "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert returned from a week-long break Monday, he had a lot of catching up to do.

  • "I'm not exactly sure how to do this tonal shift right now, but I do want to take a second to start off tonight by trying to catch up on the terrible events that happened over the last 10 days and offer my thoughts and prayers to the people of Colorado Springs and San Bernardino in the wake of these tragic terrorist attacks," Colbert told his audience.

  • But Colbert acknowledged that these days, even "thoughts and prayers" are controversial.

  • My colleague Herb Scribner reported on backlash both politicians and social media users have faced for calling for prayer after recent tragedies — also called prayer shaming.

  • Eventually, anger was "not toward the perpetrator or perpetrators, whose identities [were] still unknown, but at those who offered their prayers," Scribner quoted The Atlantic as indicating.

  • For Colbert, "thoughts and prayers" are something worth defending, though, Jesse Carey wrote for Relevant.

  • "The reason you keep people in your thoughts and prayers is admittedly not to fix the problem but to try to find some small way to share the burden of grief," Colbert said.

  • Colbert then went on to say those who prayer shamed are right in that we can't stop at sending best wishes to those affected by the attacks, but that prayer is a good start, according to Laura Bradley of Slate.

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  • And I reported last month on Colbert's ability to discuss religion-based topics without coming of as self-righteous, a trait that makes people of all faiths adore him.

  • "As a person of faith he's been able to avoid the self-righteous and rigid tone that has unfortunately characterized today's American evangelical celebrity culture," Josh Valley wrote for ChristianWeek. "Perhaps that's why he's so admired by people everywhere, including Christians of every stripe.

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Payton Davis is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

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