The left's disdain for prayer

  • 8 November 2017
  • NormanL

In the wake of the Texas church shootings over the weekend, a number of people took to social media to express their shock, horror, and to offer both thoughts and prayers to those affected. But almost as quickly as though offerings of prayer were published, the denunciations began. To call some "ugly" doesn't do them justice. But the Wall Street Journal's William McGurn took a look at the vileness that erupted over prayers, and wrote:

Here’s one of the more charming: “The murdered victims were in a church,” tweeted actor Wil Wheaton to Mr. Ryan. “If prayers did anything, they’d still be alive, you worthless sack of [expletive].”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren chose less inflammatory wording for her own tweet. “Thoughts & prayers are not enough, GOP,” wrote the Massachusetts Democrat. “We must end this violence. We must stop these tragedies. People are dying while you wait.” In short, if you are a Republican praying instead of passing gun control, you’ve got blood on your hands.

And it gets worse:

Here’s how these new theologians put it. Keith Olbermann: “ ‘Thoughts and prayers’ again, @realDonaldTrump, idiot? These people were in CHURCH. They WERE praying.” Actress Marina Sirtis: “To all those asking for thoughts and prayers for the victims in #churchshooting, it seems that your direct line to God is not working.” Or MSNBC’s Joy Reid: “Remember when Jesus of Nazareth came upon thousands of hungry people, and rather than feeding them, thought and prayed?”

Putting aside Ms. Reid's blistering ignorance of the Gospel for a moment, these responses, and countless more, expose a profound difference between the supposedly enlightened left, and everyone else:

The smugness is illuminating in three important ways. First and most obvious, progressives simply cannot contain their distaste toward symbols and beliefs important to ordinary Americans. Until Sunday this columnist thought it impossible to match the obtuseness of millionaire athletes showing disrespect for the national anthem and the fans who pay their salaries. But give credit where it’s due: the thoughts-and-prayers police make the NFL protesters look like Gandhis.

Second, those doing the taunting apparently have no idea how childish their understanding of prayer is. As the families that come each week to the First Baptist Church appreciate, prayer is not a magic talisman against suffering. In a faith that commands its adherents to pick up their crosses, prayer is a way to praise the Almighty and, when necessary, ask for courage and resolve to do the right thing.

Finally, isn’t it curious how the same folks who blasted Mr. Trump for politicizing the recent attack in Manhattan by an Islamic terrorist are now denouncing prayer because of a political preference?

They believe the answer is federal gun control, and this is their right. But it’s hard not to notice they believe this with an absolute faith that seems immune to reason or evidence to the contrary—a secular faith even the most fervent Christian might envy. Or that in their disdain for prayer they ironically appear to have more in common with the shooter than his victims.

Surely it is possible to make the case for gun control without mocking prayer. But as with Mrs. Clinton and her infamous remarks about Trump voters—not only deplorable but irredeemable—those denouncing Messrs. Trump and Ryan’s offer of prayers don’t really want an argument. They want to express their feelings of moral superiority.

When one has placed all of one's faith in the power of the state, then all other faith's are heresy. They must be shouted down, mocked, and ultimately extinguished in the defense of the truth faith -- the state.

In the process, they transcend smugness, and become, rather, a breed of noxious inquisitors constantly on the lookout for heretics. It leaves them hollow, and very angry. We will keep them in our prayers.