Liberals have realized that mass tragedy creates opportunity if for nothing else than to belittle prayer and score cheap political points.  The cheap points thing has become par for their coarse but deriding expressions of faith and sympathy is a new low.

In case you missed it, since the last two perverted mass shootings, liberals have decided that the phrase “thoughts and prayers” is pointless, even insulting to victims.  They are offended by the outpouring of verbalized emotional and spiritual expressions by various political leaders and conservative notables.  Apparently, horrendous crime begs for raging gun control over and above the crying needs of the victims suffering in the moments of nationally traumatizing events.

One analysis (“How to respond to people who think ‘thoughts and prayers'”) sums up the most popular four allegations:   1. Expressing such sentiments is now passive because “We elect politicians to fix public policy problems, not pray for miraculous solutions.”  2. Speaking condolences is evasive because it is used as “a shield protecting politicians and policy makers from shouldering blame”.  3. Offering emotional and spiritual support is fatalistic because it represents mass murder as the “inevitable price we pay for our Second Amendment” and that “it is out of the government’s control”.  Instead, it is in the control of a higher power that cruelly takes the lives of …Americans.  4. When important leaders reach out publicly to the hurting, they are really just blame-shifting because “thoughts and prayers let the blame fall on…a cruel twist of fate – and not on the elected officials, the NRA, or the Big Gun industry”.

It would be easy to take the gun control bait – that is what their disgust is really about – but their arrogant dismissiveness toward efforts to support victims in the midst of trauma and at a depth that politics cannot fathom, is truly disgusting.  Their selective outrage is as much a platitude as their attacks on expressions of faith.  On the other hand, this is a golden, if difficult, opportunity to gain some insight.

In all of the rhetoric, an understanding or even a modicum of respect for the suffering or any sense of appropriate timing is sourly missing.  When the worst moments, minutes, or even days of a wound happens, the shock can be almost debilitating.  The last thing victims need is political pontificating.  They need unconditional support.  But even after that initial shock, when the reality of the situation begins to become real, the turmoil and struggle to make sense of it all can last for a long time and so does, as liberal pundits seem to understand, a victim’s vulnerability.  The choice from those around the wounded is simple, outsiders can swoop in to harness the power of grief for a cause or they can suspend their crusade long enough to let victims’ souls and minds do their hard work with God, loved ones, and themselves.  Here is an idea.  When a victim eventually reaches their point of a new normal, let them enlist in your crusade.

There is no small amount of judgment involved in the intolerance toward those who would dare offer “thoughts and prayers”.  It is difficult to conceive of anyone targeted by evil who would prefer public apathy over the knowledge that there is someone out there who sees them and their pain.  That’s why spontaneous memorials happen and are treasured.

But that is not the most important lesson here.  By denouncing “thoughts and prayers” as one package, faultfinders demonstrate an act of judgment over prayer.  The assumption is offerings of prayer in that context are hollow and trite because the speakers do so for the sake of image and public expectations from a hypocritical heart.  This is judgmentalism at its worst.

As someone has pointed out, prayer still remains one of our most unifying experiences in times of national trial.  Somehow it manages to help us focus away from ourselves to others and brings Americans of all stripes together to acknowledge important fundamentals again.

The act of prayer is the one human experience that is able to unite the inner man and the outer man into moments personal reflection and meaning.  In those moments, the challenges of hard realities and hard truths meet and are wrestled with.

But more than anything else, whether the naysayers want to agree or not, prayer is exactly the most important, most powerful thing any one person can do no matter what their position in society.  See, no one in this universe has more authority than God, the One from whom presidents, governors, and legislators draw both their authority and their breath of life.  No one but the Creator of consciences can change the intentions of the heart.  It is the appointed function of prayer to move His heart and in answer to prayer that He, in turn, moves human hearts.

How incredible that as a commemoration of the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ begins, there should be those who scream for the power of government to change violent hearts rather than the God who made them.  As for me, I offer my warmest thoughts and prayers for a blessed Christmas!