Blood and gore still stained the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, when an explosion of insults and ridicule of the 27 victims and their fellow believers across America darkened the country’s social media.
It takes a singular callousness to tweet or post mockery of the public officials, media figures, religious leaders, entertainment celebrities and regular everyday people encouraging prayer for those murdered by a deranged gunman, their families and a nation shocked and saddened yet again by the senseless killing of innocents.
As Dr. Michael Brown paraphrased it, the basic message of the onslaught was this: “Where was your God, you stupid Christians? A lot of good your praying did! Go ahead and stick your head in the sand some more and keep praying to your imaginary deity. You deserve each other!”
Typical among those in a roundup on Huffington Post was this tweet from actress Marina Sirtis: “To all those asking for thoughts and prayers for the victims in #churchshooting, it seems that your direct line to God is not working.”
Sirtis’ Twitter profile, by the way, admonishes “Please let’s try to keep things civil.”
There was also Ira Madison III, who offered this tweet: “Prayers? What the f–k do you think they were doing in church, playing Connect Four?” Similarly, actor Wil Wheaton replied to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s appeal for prayer, tweeting “The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they’d still be alive, you worthless sack of sh-t.”
The rhetorical civility that once was the (mostly) governing standard of American public discourse has been gone for decades. Liberals claim George Bush’s Willie Horton spot against Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis started the decline in 1988.
Conservatives point to LBJ’s “Daisy” spot against Sen. Barry Goldwater in 1964 and Fact Magazine’s headline a few weeks before that election, which screamed “1,189 Psychiatrists Say Goldwater Is Psychologically Unfit to Be President!”
In fact, vicious libels masquerading as political rhetoric are nothing new in this country or any other with an even remotely free public debate. But open mockery and ridicule of God and Christians in the wake of a mass murder in an American church is unprecedented.
Nothing remotely like the invective after the Sutherland Springs massacre followed the horrendous June 17, 2015, murder of nine black parishioners by a raging white supremacist teenager during a Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
What changed between 2015 and 2017? It’s wasn’t the election of President Donald Trump even though the ocean of liberal outrage that followed that seminal 2016 upset continues uninterrupted today and shows no signs of abating any time soon.
This is different because, as Brown explained, it’s “more than heartless and tactless. It is intentional and quite focused: Faith in God is to be mocked, in particular Christian faith, and when Christians are slaughtered during a church service, that is the perfect time to pile on.”
A militantly intolerant spirit increasingly animates the secular humanism that decades ago became the dominant creed among the elite denizens of America’s cosmopolitan coasts and urban islands. By comparison, most heartland Americans remain at least outwardly religious. Four to five times as many people attend church on the typical Sunday as watch NFL football games.
In the final analysis, Jesus is the “problem” here. Mention Buddha, Confucius, Muhammed or Vishnu and hardly anybody in a newsroom, on a campus or among corporate leaders gets bent out of shape. Mention the resurrected Jesus, however, and odds are the reaction will be anything but civil or welcoming.
Rather than the traditional Judeo-Christian values and democratic liberty that informally distinguished the American republic for most of its history, the secular liberal elite’s culture now sets the dominant public tone and direction. Welcome to post-Christian America (HT to Wretched Radio’s Todd Friel).
Maybe the elitists running things today should ask themselves what is it about Jesus that so often sends them to Meltdown City?
Author’s Note: This is the last installment of FAITH FILE with the Daily Caller. This column in its brief existence has occasioned many spirited conversations among believers and atheist/agnostics. I hope all of you enjoyed and learned from our exchanges as much as I have.
Mark Tapscott is executive editor of the Daily Caller News Foundation and chief of its Investigative Group. Follow Mark on Twitter.
Views expressed in op-eds are not the views of The Daily Caller.