Most Americans pray. Most Americans believe in the power of prayer. They may not all pray to the same god, but they pray. On Wednesday afternoon, three gunmen went into a Christmas party in California and began killing people. They were Islamic radicals. Two were married and are now dead, leaving behind an orphan. The attack, according to the police, was not spontaneous, but was well planned and orchestrated.
As the attack was unfolding, various people on social media began offering up prayers for the fallen and those in harm’s way. Presidential candidates offered up prayers. This has happened in the past. Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and others have all responded in the same way in the past. But Wednesday was different.
As statements of prayers poured in, noted voices on the American political left began lashing out and shaming those doing so. Zack Ford of the liberal Think Progress tweeted, “Stop thinking. Stop praying. Look up Einstein’s definition of “insanity.” Start acting on gun violence prevention measures.” Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut tweeted, “Your ‘thoughts’ should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your ‘prayers’ should be for forgiveness if you do nothing – again.” The headline of the New York Daily News declared, “God Isn’t Fixing This.”
Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the liberal site DailyKos, first tweeted blaming Republicans for the shooting, writing, “Yo GOP, kinda hard to talk about ‘keeping people safe’ when your peeps are shooting up America.” Then, when it turned out not to be Republicans doing the shooting, he turned to mocking thoughts and prayers. Among several tweets was, “You know what won’t do s*** to stop mass shooting? ‘Praying’.” Gene Weingarten, a columnist for the Washington Post, joined in with, “Dear ‘thoughts and prayers’ people: Please shut up and slink away. You are the problem, and everyone knows it.”
On the other side of the nation from where I am, while these liberals were mocking people for praying, the victims and their families were praying and asking others for prayers. Emma Green, writing in The Atlantic on this new trend of “prayer shaming,” noted, “‘Pray for us,’ a woman texted her father from inside the Inland Regional Center, while she and her colleagues hid from the gunfire. Outside the building, evacuated workers bowed their heads and held hands. They prayed.”
What a juxtaposition. Another is this. As shootings like this happen in the United States, the tendency of the political right these days is to presume a mentally unstable person or an Islamic radical. The tendency of the political left is to always blame their political opponents. As the shooting reports broke last Friday in Colorado, before any facts were known, I was already getting emails from leftwing activists blaming Republicans. As the shootings began this Wednesday in Colorado, leftwing activists immediately concluded it was another rightwing Christian male.
The political left seems more and more comfortable with the idea that it is and always will be the majority in this country. They are a bit more free with their thoughts as a result. They ridicule those who pray and those who do not want to violate their faith and conscience. A friend noted in an email this morning, “America has many things to answer for, but I’ve never seen these people spit on God’s blessings during an actual catastrophe. That seems new.” God is not mocked without consequence. “How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.”
Prepared for the Macon Telegraph. Do not republish without that organization’s permission.