On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo — a man who once said that “extreme conservatives” aren’t welcome in his state — lashed out at anyone who isn’t a professional member of the clergy but deigned to pray for the victims of a mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. He tweeted:
This is deeply insulting and deeply ignorant.
It’s insulting because the suggestion here seems to be that prayer in the absence of legislative action Cuomo likes amounts to nothing. We can judge your sincerity and efficacy before God by determining whether you back Cuomo’s gun control policies. Did you pour your heart out before your Creator in sympathy with the slain children, and pledge charity or blood? Not enough. You didn’t “do something” in the way Cuomo would have you do it. Did you decide to cherish your family more because the horror showed you that you have failed to properly appreciate your own children? Not enough, says Cuomo — support a government gun-grab, or be accused of doing nothing.
It’s ignorant because Cuomo and many other Leftists who complain about prayer seem to misunderstand how prayer works. Religious people believe that God responds to prayer — that as we change ourselves, God responds to that change. Our change can include thought and action. Yes, we have an obligation to act to correct mistakes. But we can also act to change hearts — how many people destined to commit evil acts have been saved by prayer? How many have joined churches and synagogues and mosques, and put aside their evil? Treating prayer as a throwaway gift card just demonstrates that for the Left, that’s what prayer is: mouthing some old slogans to a forgotten Sky God. That’s not how religious people think of prayer, and it’s not even an accurate take on what prayer represents. That’s certainly not what the people who died praying in church thought about what they were doing.
But you wouldn’t expect Cuomo to know that. After all, he’s one of the members of the Left who obviously believes that religious thought and practice should be restricted to a professional class. No wonder conservatives don’t trust people like Cuomo with religious freedom issues.