It was stunning — and revealing.
Immediately following the massacre of 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif. on Wednesday by a Muslim terrorist couple, progressives unleashed a torrent of contempt for prayer in response to God-centered tweets from Republican presidential candidates.
The once-conservative tabloid New York Daily News ran a cover piece titled “God Isn’t Fixing This,” festooned with photos of the candidates and their tweets asking for prayer for the victims and their families.
The subhead: “As the latest batch of Americans are left lying in pools of blood, cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes.” Catch that? Prayer is a meaningless platitude.
And, by the way, pay no attention to the jihadists themselves, especially while President Obama is bent on expanding immigration from the Middle East.
The News editorialized that the latest slaughter, as with all mass shootings, was caused by politicians who oppose more gun control and who salute the flag of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“As long as they remain in thrall to this flag, ever more Americans will arm themselves, and ever more Americans will die,” the editorialists thundered. Somehow, they neglected to call for a ban on pipe bombs, a dozen of which were found in the shooters’ home and another at the site of the killings.
People can disagree about the effectiveness of gun laws or the efficacy of prayer, but the vitriol is unprecedented. I don’t recall any time in American history in which public voices felt so free to ridicule asking for divine intervention.
Sen. Christopher Murphy, Connecticut Democrat, openly mocked the Republican candidates’ appeals to heaven when he tweeted, “Your ‘thoughts’ should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your ‘prayers’ should be for forgiveness if you do nothing — again.”
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley didn’t make fun of prayer but he did blame the NRA, which, for the record, has long supported tougher penalties for gun-wielding criminals.
“Enough is enough: it’s time to stand up to the @NRA and enact meaningful gun safety laws,” Mr. O’Malley tweeted. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton also tweeted support for more gun control, as if seizing weapons from law-abiding Americans would solve the nightmare of mass shootings and terror threats.
Meanwhile, The New York Times managed to find a priceless Christian angle in last month’s Planned Parenthood clinic shooting in Colorado Springs, piling on the blame assigned to videos that exposed Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of aborted babies’ organs.
The shooter, Robert L. Dear Jr., a serial adulterer, possible rapist and all-around weirdo, was, according to a relative, “very religious.” The relative said that Dear and his live-in companion, Stephanie Bragg, “read the Bible often and are always talking about Scripture.”
The Times added that, “The relative, who spoke with Ms. Bragg in recent days, also said that before the shooting, Mr. Dear reportedly ‘wasn’t sleeping at all,’ and had ‘been talking about the Devil getting in his head and such.’”
Somehow, I don’t think the Times will hold the devil accountable for any of this.
As the Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway has observed, the rush to disparage prayer and embrace new government solutions is evidence of religious fervor of a different sort — faith in government:
“Progressives tend to believe that man can be perfected … through government action,” she wrote. “These almost cartoonish denunciations of prayer we saw yesterday, combined with the implicit praises of government action, are best understood as a sort of primitive religious reaction to the problem that growth of the state still hasn’t fixed the problem of evil in the world.”
America’s enemies in Iran and other hotbeds of jihadi sentiment are no doubt thrilled that leaders and scribes of one of the country’s major parties are so openly contemptuous of the power of prayer.
The more that America drifts toward unbelief, the less formidable we will be against an energized opponent. What are we fighting for, anyway? Transgender bathrooms in every school?
History has shown that you cannot beat something with nothing. If the West continues to descend into moral chaos, we will not have the faith-based resolve that spared Europe from Muslim conquest in the Middle Ages, or from the godless Communists and pagan-inspired Nazis in the 20th century.
Progressives are working like termites in Europe and America to turn us away from God and toward a secular, sensate culture with rising anti-Semitism and open hostility toward Christianity. Meanwhile, Islamic militants, delighted by the West’s suicidal impulse, are waging worldwide jihad to impose Shariah law.
Instead of worrying that murderous incidents like the shootings at Fort Hood or San Bernardino will appall moderate Muslims, Islamic terrorists believe that more Muslims will become radicalized and join what they perceive as the winning side. After all, in the wake of massive beheadings and rapes of Christians and moderate Muslims in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State keeps gaining converts.
For years, progressives have gotten away with pretending to respect America’s founding faith lest they alert voters to their radical, anti-God agenda. In speech after speech, they distort biblical morality and revile anyone opposing their “solutions.” Then, they finish with “God bless America.”
Well, at least we now know where they find divine inspiration: in government power.
That god should not be confused with the One who handed Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai or Who turned water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana.
• Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a Washington Times contributor.