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Memo: Hate won’t stop Christians from praying for victims of the San Bernardino shooting

By Joe Newby

Rampant Christophobia seemed to be the order of the day after Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., and other GOP presidential candidates announced they were praying for the victims of the tragic shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.

Liberals of all stripes went ballistic after Cruz made his announcement, and the hate flowed freely from all corners.  Members of the media, liberal politicians and even some “news” outlets engaged in some of the most shameful and over-the-top attacks against Christians in modern memory.

The New York Daily News, for example, tweeted this:

Newsbusters’ Kristine Marsh posted tweets issued by left-wing journalists and politicians, including one from Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten:

A trip into the dark underbelly of the left-wing Twitterverse revealed a number of angry tweets, many of which are simply too profane and obscene to quote here.  Reading the tweets, one can almost imagine the individuals involved pounding on spittle-flecked keyboards, their faces red, their teeth clenched in anger.

Two tweets issued by Mike Dickinson, a far-left wing politician who once sought the House seat formerly occupied by Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., read:

In 2014, Dickinson said he was okay with exterminating five million Americans.

Dan Savage, the gay sex columnist and “anti-bullying” activist who once told Bill Maher he wished all Republicans were “(expletive deleted) dead,” issued this:

I’ve seen the term “prayer shaming” thrown about, but this isn’t “shaming,” it’s hate – pure, unadulterated, blind, seething hate.  Personally, I’m not aware of a single Christian dissuaded from praying because a bunch of angry leftists hurl insults and profanities.  It’s more likely those Christians would be encouraged to pray even harder – specifically for those tossing the insults.

These messages of hatred, however, have done one thing – they’ve helped to ensure that the ever-widening gulf between liberals and conservatives will not be bridged any time soon.


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Eric Blauer

“Most @NRA terrorists should be institutionalized ”

Wait how many NRA members have contoured mass atrocities?


Any that argued against the laws that would have kept guns out of the hands of people who committed those tragedies. The blood is on the hands of the people not fighting against the evil as much as it is the shooters.

Brad Thompson

Totally missing the point. Non-Christians aren’t angry because we’re praying. Hell, they’re not even angry because we’re praying publicly (though Christ cautions against such shows of “piety”). What pisses so many of them (and many Christians as well) off is that whenever massive tragedy strikes, our leaders throw out insincere “thoughts and prayers” as a way of deflecting attention from their obligation to act, to address the problems that force us to live out the same crises over and over. They’re angry because “leaders” who are terrified of losing campaign dollars and votes dress up their short-sighted selfishness in the unassailable mantel of Christendom, and we pay the price of their choices in innocent blood by the gallon.

They’re pissed off–I’m pissed off–because I’m sick of politicians and public figures ducking responsibility for the diseased culture they perpetuate with insincere admonitions to pray. Praying is fine and dandy, but it’s no substitute for living out your faith, by building the blessed community of justice in this world.

Pastor Jan Shannon

Prayer is needed, but more than prayer. The Book of James says, “Faith without works is dead.” Action is needed. Action from both the GOP and Dem leadership. Gun control legislation is way past due. We look like fools in the eyes of the world, and the world’s bad guys will continue to take pot shots at us until we start acting like an adult country and curb our childish need for weapons.

Joe Newby

California has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. And besides, according to Sen. Barbara Boxer, California gun control laws are working…

Aaron Weidert

Who cares if they have the toughest gun laws? That line of argument is absurd. Making heroin illegal hasn’t stopped people from doing it, so should we lift all laws/bans on drugs? People still murder, so should we make that legal too? Show me the supporter of gun control who thinks a few more laws would magically fix the whole problem. Because that’s not what any of us are suggesting. We’re just frustrated at the right’s “hey, a few laws can’t make it all go away, so we shouldn’t have any” approach to this issue, and this issue only. It’s massively hypocritical and intellectually dishonest. Our culture’s growing rabid obsession with guns is completely out of control, and makes absolutely no sense.

Eric Blauer

So what’s your plan Aaron?

Aaron Weidert

How about making guns even close to as well regulated as, say, a car? Or, since gun advocates seem to love invoking the Constitution in response to that argument, an abortion? It’s pretty disgusting to watch the same people who gleefully support the massive regulation and restriction of a woman’s right to choose (literally a Constitutionally protected right) sanctimoniously invoke the Constitution to defend their idea of unfettered access to firearms.

Joe Newby

You do realize that criminals haven’t been stopped by a single gun law, right? I mean, If “gun-free zones” and gun control worked, then Chicago and Detroit would be the safest places on earth.

Aaron Weidert

Okay, so, as I already asked you: why aren’t you against the laws banning things like drugs and murder? Because you do realize that drug addicts haven’t been stopped by a single drug law, right?

Also, I’m really sick of seeing the “Chicago/Detroit/New Orleans/etc.” argument. It’s completely illogical. Laws in a city against guns are severely undermined if you can drive an hour or less away and easily and legally get guns. If you want actual comparisons about gun laws, look at whole countries with strict gun laws, not just cities. And if you do, try not to just cherry pick one with strict gun laws and high violence. Because if you compare countries as similarly as possible in size, culture, etc., you’ll find that the countries with stronger gun control have massively lower rates of gun violence. They just do.

Joe Newby

You don’t know me from a brick, Aaron, so let me caution you against trying to assume what you think I support or oppose.

Meanwhile, British gun control laws were completely unable to stop this.


Have a good evening. I’m done for the night.

Aaron Weidert

Caution accepted, and you are absolutely correct. I would not be able to pick you out of a lineup of bricks. But what does that have to do with anything? I don’t even know what you’re referencing.

And again, I think I specifically requested intellectual honesty and an avoidance of cherry picking single details. What are the gun violence rates of Britain vs. America? Did their laws stop a particular attack? No, of course not. But what are their rates of gun deaths compared to ours every year?

Joe Newby

And apparently, you don’t know the meaning of “I’m done for the night.” That means, I’m done for the night, as in goodbye.

Since you’ve managed to deflect from the original story (which was on the left’s hatred of Christians engaging in prayer) to global gun crime comparisons, I’ll leave you with this link and you can take it from there. I won’t be responding further.


Again, good night, Aaron. I am done discussing this with you.

Aaron Weidert

Actually, I’m an English major. I’ve got a pretty good understanding of what words mean. And, “I’m done for the night” doesn’t ever mean “this conversation is over and you have to be done for the night too, neener neener.” You want to be done and go to bed and/or never respond again? Sweet, go for it. But don’t presume that you have the right to shut me down and silence me because you don’t like what I’m saying. But I’m very familiar with your “I am done discussing this with you” attitude. Because that’s what you do. You post inflammatory rhetoric complaining about the left, or comment on other posts with bombastic outrage, demanding apologies of people you think have wronged you somehow, and then try to shut down conversation when you don’t like someone’s comments. And I defy your online bullying, Joe. Because that’s all it is.

Joe Newby

Actually, I rarely comment, but since you want me to be blunt about it, yes, I’m done for the night. Too bad you just wanted to come on here to start a fight, and I’m glad you essentially admitted it.

Good night, I’m done with you and you can rant and rave to yourself all you want, I really don’t care.

Aaron Weidert

Of course. Because you use the strongest language you can think of about the “blind, seething hate” coming from the left. But when someone suggests, even mildly, that maybe there’s something about fundamentalist beliefs that encourages secrecy and helps hide abuse, you throw a giant tantrum and DEMAND apology. But where’s your argument DEMANDING That Trump apologize for saying that we should be targeting the families of terrorists? But yeah, shrug me off and call my arguments “rants and raves” so you don’t have to confront your own hypocrisy.


Okay, well if you’re done with Aaron, I’ll step in since that’s how the Internet works.

Fine. A man with a machete terrorized London. England has a lot of violent crime. Nobody sane is making the argument that if guns were highly regulated across the board that violent crime would go away. How many people did the Machete Man kill? None. He injured three people. And he was stopped with a taser.

How many children were shot to death in Newtown? 20.

Why would you argue for the side that thinks dead children are a right of the American people, Joe?


Unless you have evidence to show that not one single criminal in the history of time has not once been stopped by any gun law written in any book anywhere, then no, I don’t think anyone realizes that.

And it’s categorically false, since Australia’s homicide rate dropped 27% (even though their population grew 20%) since the gun laws were enacted in 1997. http://www.snopes.com/crime/statistics/ausguns.asp

You’re also ignoring (or not realizing) that Chicago and Detroit are notorious for their corrupt political and legal systems (or, in the case of Detroit, near absent political and legal systems). The fact that two places are hotbeds for criminal activity might say more about how well a place is able to enforce the laws that are on the books. You’re right in thinking that laws don’t stop criminals. You can’t, as the saying goes, legislate morality. Just because something is illegal does in no way mean that people will suddenly stop doing it. But, if those laws are enforced sternly, and if that enforcement of those laws reduce the pandemic of violent gun related deaths, then perhaps they’re better for the society as a whole.

Brad Thompson

So no one has ever been arrested attempting to illegally purchase a firearm?

The truth is that laws do make a difference, albeit an imprefect one. But conservatives insist that no law will make any difference ever, that a willingness to violate the law manifests as a kind of superpower, giving the scofflaw unfettered access to means not available to the rest of us. You’re being absurd.

Eric Blauer

CA has everything most anti-gun people want in gun legislation.


But the states surrounding it don’t, necessarily.

And we aren’t necessarily “anti-gun”, we’re anti-‘HOLY SHIT EVERYBODY IS BEING MURDERED’.

Neal Schindler

I really appreciate this comment thread. I also wonder why so many people find Brad’s points so hard to grasp.

Neal Schindler

Also, I could cherry pick the wackiest right wing comments about the tragedy as well, but what would be the point of that? Isn’t this story part of what polarizes us?

Liv Larson Andrews

There is a moving scene in the film Fried Green Tomatoes in which a mother confesses, regarding her abusive, estranged husband who has attempted to take her child, “If he comes back, I won’t pray. I’ll break his neck.”
The scene challenged me as a teenager. I sympathized with the character’s frustration and fear. And I was also a person who trusted that God hears prayers. I still am.
I think the lament (which is a kind of prayer…) going up regarding the tweets of politicians comes from a place we all know: pain. It is painful and sad to witness death. Pain is compounded when it seems that no one else is watching or listening. These lamenting voices so frustrated over their leaders’ prayer-without-action recall the biblical figure of Rachel who “refuses to be consoled.”
I believe the Christian response to such lament is not to mis-label it as hateful, though it may be strongly worded, such as that magazine cover. Our response need not be defensive. The Christian response to pain is to listen, to hear the cries of the hurting and to ask how we might need to change so that the hurt can stop.
I don’t believe in breaking anyone’s neck as the movie character says. I do believe Christians have a duty to hear the cries of pain, as well as the anger and rage, that is caused by Christian hypocrisy. And most certainly we have a duty to be changed by God’s grace through prayer, sent into the world with actions of love and mercy.

Eric Blauer

Yet none of that’s happening in this attack on people praying.

Liv Larson Andrews

I guess I’m saying I wish Joe’s post was less reactive/defensive and more open to hearing the lament. And I’m also saying there’s no attack on people praying; rather, there is frustration about prayer severed from meaningful action. Jesus himself had no patience for prayer-without-action (Mark 12).

Eric Blauer

A “news”-paper that follows up with a piece that lumps the NRA president with the terrorist mass murderers and the Messianic Jewish CA murdered victim as an inconsequential victim, isn’t pushing for the Jesus ethic.

Aaron Weidert

Are you suggesting that the newspaper is responsible for pushing the Jesus ethic? Or that Christians are off the hook for pushing the Jesus ethic as long as the secular world gives it up first? I guess I’m confused by what the point of that comment is.

Eric Blauer

I am saying that it’s a trash piece as well as an inflammatory set of follow up articles. The ugly comments that Joe included in his piece about the article reflect hatred more than concerned religious piety. This is ugly but such demeaning, all knowing pronouncements about someone else’s faith and practice is allowed when it comes to Christians. The comments here are about the content of Joe’s article not the supposed better views of others or a reinterpretation of what is meant. I get that it’s a politically charged issue, but I feel and think it’s hypocritical in light of how we bend over backwards to avoid anything that offends others, but…it’s ok to lampoon republicans. Are we going to lampoon democrats for their culpability in Obama’s drone wars and label them as hypocrite Christians too?

Aaron Weidert

I understand what you’re saying, and I get your frustration, but it’s equally frustrating to hear someone complain about that double standard repeatedly while simultaneously engaging in the exact same double standard. Repeatedly. Less than 3 months ago you criticized Blaine for calling out the anti-Islam armed protests here in Spokane. You said his post was full of divisive rhetoric, using language of violence to literally equate his words of frustration with the bringing of loaded weapons to an anti-Muslim rally, and then said he brought gasoline to fight a fire. Not only are you not making those kinds of comments here about Joe’s writing being divisive, you are actively defending it and arguing with someone who simply said she wished the article was less defensive and more open to hearing the pain.

Eric Blauer

That’s fair, I am defending Joe, from the standpoint of the content he posted. All the conclusions or assumptions are possible or maybe not. Maybe all those politicians don’t care, they do nothing to help, are hypocrites and windbags of opportunistic intent. But let’s not overlook the actual statements in the article to pull at the threads of the undergarment we perceive is under it all.

Aaron Weidert

And that’s the point: the actual statements Joe made in his article. You ought to take a look back at what you labeled as “molotov cocktails” that would “end dialogue” in Blaine’s article.

“display of hatred and vitriol from the crowd of anti-Muslim protesters”
“The ugly face of Islamophobia had reared its head in full force with the rally outside”
“pseudo-militia group members patrolled the rally with guns in tow, filming and deliberately intimidating Muslims”

And on and on. And now look back up at Joe’s description throughout the article. Almost the entire piece reads not just like that, but considerably more hostile and hyperbolic. The whole thing starts, continues, and finishes as a rant about “rampant Christophobia” where all kinds of liberals go “ballistic” in “some of the most shameful and over the top attacks against Christians in modern memory.” You get to take a look at the “dark underbelly of the left-wing Twitterverse” where we see liberals “pounding on spittle-flecked keyboards, their faces red, their teeth clenched in anger.” And then of course, in a jaw dropping finale, we get to see the “pure, unadulterated, blind, seething hate” being hurled by a “bunch of angry leftists,” followed IMMEDIATELY by the claim that all of the hate coming from the LEFT is what is going to guarantee that the widening gulf between left and right isn’t going to be bridged.

So, again, I ask you how any of us are supposed to take your frustrations with double standards seriously when you support a diatribe like this. No one could possibly ask for a better example of someone on the right doing EXACTLY what you felt compelled to accuse Blaine of doing, and yet here you are defending it.

Liv Larson Andrews

I’m not sure Republicans are getting lampooned (teased, mimicked). Harshly criticized, yes. And absolutely Democrats should be harshly criticized for drone use under Obama and the perpetual violence this nation uses to solve its problems. And members of either party who wish to act (ie. make changes to legislation and cultural norms) in accord with their prayers about gun deaths have my respect. Members of either party who speak of prayer and yet make no changes frustrates me. Plenty of those on the left are culpable for the way we simply swim in firearms in this country.
I suppose I need to look at my own hypocrisy as I pray each Sunday for an end to wars in all places but do not follow that up with much in the way of concrete action.

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