In the aftermath of the tragic shooting last week at a synagogue near San Diego, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) — a self-proclaiming woman of faith — called for “no more thoughts and prayers,” a frequent gripe from many on the left.
Instead, she argued, “Love is the answer.” Omar also said there should be “less gun.”
Earlier on Saturday, Omar said her heart “is breaking” after a gunman opened fire in the Chobad of Poway synagogue about 20 miles north of San Diego. The shooting left one dead and three others injured.
We have frequently written at Faithwire about this nearly universal aversion from many on the left to faith-based responses to deadly attacks around the country.
Following a deadly shooting last November at a bar in Southern California, CNN host Chris Cuomo claimed those who offer to pray after an attack are “mock[ing] those who lost loved ones.” And in March, after the mosque shooting in New Zealand, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) asked, “What good are thoughts and prayers when they don’t even keep the pews safe?”
Like Omar, the 29-year-old New York lawmaker is also a professing woman of faith. Omar is Muslim and Ocasio-Cortez is Catholic.
Despite their own religious convictions, neither Omar nor Ocasio-Cortez seem to view prayer as a mechanism of faith. Instead, the lawmakers jump to politicize the practice. Ocasio-Cortez even described “thoughts and prayers” as a “phrase” used by the National Rifle Association “to deflect conversation away from policy change during tragedies.”
But as women of faith, they should understand prayer as something much more powerful than political posturing. Not only is prayer apolitical; it’s the most powerful tool at our disposal.
The Bible speaks often about the power of prayer. For those who have found salvation in Jesus:
- God promises to hear us in prayer (1 John 5:15)
- God promises to forgive us and heal us in prayer (2 Chronicles 7:14)
- God promises to strengthen us in prayer (Matthew 26:41)
- God promises to draw close to us in prayer (Psalm 145:18)
- God promises to purify us in prayer (1 John 1:9)
- God promises to protect us in prayer (Romans 8:6)
- God promises his Holy Spirit will advocate for us in prayer (Romans 8:26-27)
Last year, a survivor of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado told Faithwire that the “thoughts and prayers” of others around the country “helped me through those tough times.”
“Knowing that … there are people who are thinking about you and praying for you is empowering and motivating and uplifting,” Evan Todd said.
Prayer is undoubtedly powerful. Like Christian singer Mandisa said last year, other actions can certainly accompany prayer, but politicians like Ocasio-Cortez and Omar shouldn’t dismiss its value.