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Church Of England Denies Trolling Richard Dawkins On Twitter

#PrayForDawkins

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After learning that staunch atheist Professor Richard Dawkins had suffered a stroke, an official Twitter account for the Church of England tweeted that they were praying for him.

Prayers for Prof Dawkins and his family https://t.co/KxBBkBrECk

The 74-year-old academic became ill last week during a tour of Australia and New Zealand.

He is said to be making a full recovery after suffering what was described as a "minor stroke", but was forced to cancel appearances on the tour.

Given Dawkins' stance, some people on Twitter have accused the church of trolling.

Richard Dawkins had a stroke. The church of England released a prayer for him TheChurchOfTroll

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Next-level trolling https://t.co/VnXcoiaxvV

🔥🔥⛪️💅

This feels like the iciest of ice burns. Damn, COE. https://t.co/yczoJ5qUSQ

Or at least just taking the piss...

Feel they're taking the piss. https://t.co/usDvUJ2pxc

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They described it as "a genuine tweet offering prayer for a public person who was unwell," and said that those who had responded with sarcasm or trolling simply didn't understand what prayer was meant to be.

The church took the opportunity to explain how one might weave prayer into everyday life as well as providing this handy SoundCloud for prayer guidance.

w.soundcloud.com

The spokesperson for the church said that while they didn't agree with Dawkins' view on prayer, "there is a danger of reducing him to a one trick pony".

"His views are more nuanced that both supporters and detractors would usually acknowledge," the spokesperson said, adding that former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams had admired his "swashbuckling spirit".

"I wish Professor Dawkins well. I hope he makes swift and full recovery and wish him the best of health. I will pray for him too. It is the very least I can do," the statement concluded.

The church started the hashtag, #PrayForDawkins, which inevitably, people are trolling.

sorry but L 👏 M 👏 A 👏 O 👏 #prayforDawkins

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Get well soon Mr @RichardDawkins - and don't worry. I won't #prayfordawkins

"I'm very grateful to everybody who has been sending me good wishes from all around the world," Dawkins meanwhile said in an audio statement on his website.

👹🙏

Laura Silver is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Laura Silver at laura.silver@buzzfeed.com.

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