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Vice President Mike Pence Mocked for Praying with Coronavirus Task Force

  • Michael Foust Crosswalk Headlines Contributor
  • Published Mar 02, 2020
Vice President Mike Pence Mocked for Praying with Coronavirus Task Force

A White House photo of Vice President Mike Pence praying with his coronavirus task force team has sparked a heated debate on social media about religion, politics and the efficacy of prayer.

The simple photo shows Pence sitting in a chair and bowing in prayer as more than 15 others in the room also pray.

RELATED COMMENTARY: How Dare the Vice President Pray?

“Mike Pence and his coronavirus emergency team praying for a solution. We are so screwed,” tweeted Thomas Chatterton Williams, a writer for New York Magazine and Harper’s Magazine. His tweet attracted 4,300 retweets and 1,300 likes and helped start the debate.

Others agreed with Williams.

“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,” Matt Novak, an editor for Gizmodo, tweeted.

Novelist Irvine Welsh also commented on Twitter: “Look at these utterly useless c***s praying for the #coronavirus to go.”

Many others, though, defended Pence.

Evangelist Franklin Graham tweeted, “A touching & powerful photo of @VP @Mike_Pence & the President’s Coronavirus Taskforce praying when they met last week in his office. 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.”

Writer Jonathan Merritt tweeted, “Criticize Mike Pence all you want for being inept in his strategy to dealing with this. But mocking him for praying – like 79 percent of Americans have done in the past 3 months – is why so many regular Americans despise wine-and-cheese liberals.”

Princeton professor Robert P. George said the debate over the picture is illustrative of America’s political divide.

“I don't know anything about Mr. Williams, but this photograph and his comment perfectly illustrate the profound division in our culture,” George tweeted. “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.”

Photo courtesy: White House/Public Domain

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.