A growing chorus is proclaiming "prayer" is not enough for our moral crises in America.
Is it a complete dismissal of Christianity, or "merely" a dismissal of the most sacred right of Christians to talk to God?
Could it be a dismissal of God Himself?
US Representative Chris Murphy (D-Conn) has expressed his thoughts about "thoughts, prayers and sympathies"---they are "wholly insufficient."
President Obama is singing in the same "holiday" choir---perhaps he is conducting---telling Oregon, the nation and the world, "our thoughts and prayers are not enough" and again last week, "We can't pray with a clean conscience" unless we pass stricter gun laws.
Penny Noonan, a former writer for Ronald Reagan, wrote Friday in the Wall Street Journal, "A person named Chris Murphy, who is a US senator representing Connecticut, sent out what struck me as the most manipulative message of recent political history."
US Rep. Chris Murphy said Friday, "I know that thoughts and prayers...are important to San Bernardino. But right now, these thoughts and prayers and sympathies have become a mask for inaction, and they are wholly insufficient."
He admitted on MSNBC he is angry, and maybe "I shouldn't Tweet in anger" but explained he is angry "because we are not doing anything to stop this."
"Anything" excludes prayer in his mind. So what does he think we "should be doing" now that we have dismissed prayer?
President Obama, singing from the same page, explains.
Following the October shooting at the community college in Oregon, the president said, "Our thoughts and prayers are not enough, voters should demand changes to the nation's gun laws."
USA Today characterized the president as "visibly frustrated." The president promised that each time a shooting like this occurs, he is going to remind the nation that "we can actually do something about this," underscoring that clearly prayers don't actually do anything.
Following the shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, the president went a step further. Not only do prayers not "actually" do anything, "We can't pray with a clean conscience" until we enact his gun laws---whatever they are.
He said, "This is not normal. We can't let it become normal. If we're going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience..." then we must pass his gun laws.
This is deeply troubling---particularly in a nation that was birthed by Christians out of their desire to escape tyranny and create a place that acknowledges God, and the inalienable rights He has given us, including religious freedom and freedom of religious expression.
I'm not the only one who finds this troubling.
Peggy Noonon, writing in the Wall Street Journal Friday, began: "Jumping on anyone who publicly expressed a religious feeling after the San Bernardino massacre. Where are they heading?"
She notes, "You can see a coarsening in how we respond and react on social media. No one feels ashamed to exploit the tragedy for political purposes 'even while it's happening'."
As soon as the story broke Wednesday afternoon, she writes, "There were accusations and bitter words flung all over the Internet. The weirdest argument came almost immediately. A person named Chris Murphy, who is a US senator representing Connecticut, sent out what struck me as the most manipulative message of recent political history."
Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and others had expressed their deeply held sympathy and prayers to the families who had lost loved ones, and to those who had been injured.
Noonan notes, "The progressive Left's response was, 'You can take your prayers and stuff 'em'."
While Noonan does not mention it, there was also an element of blame in the press toward Christians, and in this case a Messianic Jew, and their freedom to share their faith.
One of the people killed in the San Bernardino slayings was a Messianic Jew---a Jew who had accepted Jesus Christ as his Messiah, his Savior. And he often shared his transforming faith with people.
The height of lunacy, idiocy and "coarsening," as Noonon puts it, came when CNN was interviewing the widow of the slain Jewish Christian.
Gary Tuchman, with CNN, gave us what was perhaps the most awful, galling moment of the progressive Left's performance.
Referring to her husband who had been dead only a few hours, Tuchman wondered to the widow if her husband's outspoken faith could have had anything to do with the terrorists slaying all the people at the Christmas party.
Clearly CNN and their operatives ("journalists") were attempting to create a path to affirming this was somehow "workplace violence." While giving Christians another stab in the back with their pen that is said to be mightier than a sword.
Now days later, with many more facts out in the public, CNN's attempt to make it something other than terror, because it can't be terror, appears to be nothing less than pathetic.
Noonon writes it wasn't only CNN. Another reporter, she says wrote, "Your thoughts and prayers don't mean a damn thing" and she says, "A reporter at the Huffington Post was damning public officials" over "useless thoughts and prayers."
Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos wrote: "How many dead people did those thoughts and prayers bring back to life."
This sentiment about prayer has been so prevalent in recent days it now has a name---"prayer shaming."
Noonon makes an excellent point: "What is actually irritating about politicians saying they're sending thoughts and prayers is the suspicion you sometimes have that they're not, actually, thinking or praying."
She says maybe "someone could ask Jeb Bush if he really prayed."
Nonoon says she believes Americans are growing weary of being told what they can and cannot publicly say, proclaim and think.
She says, "We all know what's going on at the colleges." There are those who telling students and professors what they can and cannot say or do. This is not just little kids acting out, "it's a real censorship movement backed by an ideology that is hostile to the First Amendment to the US Constitution. It is led by students, though they have managed to get into the greatest universities in the country, seem never to have been taught to love the little amendment that guarantees free speech and free religious observance, the two pillars without which America collapses. And too bad, because when you don't love something you lose it."
She, in her article, is calling for someone---a candidate, to give an in depth and impassioned speech about the life and death importance of the First Amendment.
She says, "I pray someone will address it. Literally, I just did."
I pray so as well.
From the birth of this great nation, a call to prayer---or actually offering prayer has been a given. General Washington knelt in prayer when it seemed there was no path to victory for the Continental Army. Ben Franklin called the Constitutional Convention to prayer when it seemed this new nation conceived in liberty was about to be still born because of dissension and disagreement among the representatives.
Both the prayers of Washington and Franklin's call for prayer have been dismissed by secular progressives seeking to revise history. Lincoln defined his times, and in doing so, defined our own:
"But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!"
Be Informed. Be Bold. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful.