Author and self-help guru Marianne Williamson is far from Christian, but she’s certainly in alignment with believers in rebuking what she describes as the “secularized left” for dismissing the value and power of prayerfulness.
As some in the progressive left continue to claim — within the context of gun violence — prayers “are not enough,” Williamson is encouraging the practice, though she might not appropriately understand why it’s so powerful.
Prayer, of course, is not powerful because humans are somehow concentrating their energies toward one purpose, as Williamson is wont to believe. Rather, prayer is powerful because it is a direct line of communication between the Creator and his creation, human beings, who were designed in his likeness.
Regardless, Williamson is spot on in her criticism of the left on this issue.
Democrats are less inclined to believe in God than Republicans or independent voters — and it’s been trending that way for some time. For a little context, in 1978, only 9 percent of Democrats identified as having “no religion.” By 2018, 28 percent of Democrats described themselves as religiously unaffiliated. In fact, the percentage of Democrats identifying themselves with any category of Christianity — evangelical, mainline, black Protestant, and Catholic — has steadily declined over the years.
Williamson argued during an interview last month with The New York Times that part of the problem is Democrats — at least those in the highest echelons of power — have seemingly suggested faith is, in some ways, primitive.
“Some people seem to think if you’re coming from a spiritual perspective, you’re less sophisticated,” she told the Times. “I respectfully disagree. I think you’re more sophisticated. I think people who have a deeper understanding and commitment to love tend to have a greater recognition of the power of evil.”
As for those who would say Williamson is painting the Democratic Party with too broad a brush, consider the progressive senators who have repeatedly called into question the religious convictions of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, attacked Russell Vought in 2017 for his remarks about Christian and Muslim theology.
Vought, who was Trump’s nominee for deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, wrote in 2016 that the Islamic faith is theologically “deficient” because it dismisses the supremacy of Jesus. Sanders, eager to condemn Vought’s very commonplace perspective, suggested he was disqualified from serving in the U.S. government because his beliefs are “Islamophobic.”
Last December, progressive Sens. Kamala Harris of California — who is also running for the Democratic presidential nomination — and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii called into question now-District Court Judge Brian Buescher’s ability to rule fairly and impartially because of his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a nearly 140-year-old charitable Catholic organization.
And in February of this year, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who is, you guessed it, also running for president, attempted to shame now-District Court Judge Neomi Rao on her views on same-sex marriage. At one point, Booker asked Rao if he’s had any LGBTQ staff members.
“To be honest,” she told the lawmaker, “I don’t know the sexual orientation of my staff. I take people as they come, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation.”
So if Democrats aren’t hostile toward mainstream Christian beliefs, they’re doing a pretty good impression of people who are.
Williamson noted Democrats haven’t always been that way and is urging them to stop it with the incessant attacks on religion (it’s worth noting the majority of condemnation from the left is of Christianity in particular).
“This is an aberration in my mind, and I’m enough of a student of American history to know that,” she said. “Franklin Roosevelt said a prayer on the radio as soon as the D-Day invasion began. Look at the Second Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln. He contextualized the entire Civil War in terms of what it represented spiritually and his quoting from the Bible and so forth.”
Williamson’s request is a noble one. Only time will tell if her progressive colleagues will be all that interested in listening.