An old adage proclaims that “a picture is worth a thousand words” – and in this case, it’s an official White House photo that’s triggered some rather nasty comments about prayer.
After a photo of Vice President Mike Pence praying with his coronavirus task force went public, waves of criticism mocking the United States’ second-in-command struck social media. In the White House photo (right), Pence is seen seated in a circle with the task force as they bowed their heads in prayer, with the others remaining in the room standing while bowing their heads – 17 in all.
Attack on prayer
With Twitter and other platforms taking issue with the vice president – a self-described evangelical Christian – his latest prayer has “sparked a heated debate on social media about religion, politics and the efficacy of prayer,” according to Christian Headlines.
A writer for New York Magazine and Harper’s Magazine, Thomas Chatterton Williams, headed up one wave of derision over the photo on social media channels, generating nearly 10K comments, 5.5K retweets and 20K likes.
“Mike Pence and his coronavirus emergency team praying for a solution. We are so screwed,” Williams colorfully tweeted Sunday as a caption to the photo.
Another journalist implied that prayer is not and should not be welcomed or permitted in the White House – especially concerning urgent issues.
“Mike Pence can pray whenever he likes, but I do find it odd to see him leading a prayer during a meeting of the coronavirus task force with people like the head of the CDC and Dr. [Anthony S.] Fauci,” editor for Gizmodo, Matt Novak, tweeted Sunday.
Wordsmith Irvine Welsh – a bestselling novelist, playwright and short story writer – resorted to profanity to express his anti-Christian sentiment over Pence praying with officials for God to put an early end to the epidemic.
“Look at these utterly useless [expletive] praying for the #coronavirus to go,” Welsh wrote on Twitter alongside the photo.
On the other hand, Princeton University professor Robert P. George – a legal scholar and political philosopher – struck middle ground and took to Twitter to proclaim that attacks like Williams’ are indicative of polarization of American politics.
“I don’t know anything about Mr. Williams, but this photograph and his comment perfectly illustrate the profound division in our culture,” George tweeted Monday. “It’s ‘obvious’ to some of us that one of the things you do in a crisis is pray. It’s ‘obvious’ to others that praying is (worse than) foolish.
“I appreciate Mr. Williams’ candor, and I don’t condemn him for it. He says what a great many of his fellow secular progressives think, but are careful not to say out loud. It’s much better for all of us if we are clear on where we stand.”
Standing by prayer
Author Jonathan Merritt noted how anti-Christian attacks such as the one waged against Pence’s latest prayer are the reason why there is so much disdain in America for academia’s elitists and other atheists on the far left.
“Criticize Mike Pence all you want for being inept in his strategy to dealing with this, but mocking him for praying – like 79% of Americans have done in the past 3 months – is why so many regular Americans despise wine-and-cheese liberals,” Merritt tweeted Monday.
One conservative reporter commented on the spreading intolerance and bashing of Christians – in lieu of Williams’ jab at Pence.
“Imagine saying this about any other religion,” Christian journalist Jessica Fletcher tweeted Sunday. “It’s so vogue to mock Christianity though.”
American humorist and motivational speaker Chad Prather also chimed in to let Williams know he’s not speaking for him.
“Maybe you’re screwed,” Prather commented on Williams’ tweet Monday. “I’m praying with them.”
Rev. Franklin Graham – president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Samaritan’s Purse – commended Pence for calling upon God’s protection for America.
“A touching & powerful photo of @VP @MikePence & the President’s Coronavirus Taskforce praying when they met last week in his office,” Graham tweeted Monday. “Thank you, VP Pence, and each one who is serving. Let’s join them in asking God for His wisdom, direction & help in the response to this virus.”
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.