The junior U.S. Senator from Connecticut, Chris Murphy, responded horribly to the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California on Wednesday when he tweeted this response to people offering their prayers for the victims:

Your “thoughts” should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your “prayers” should be for forgiveness if you do nothing – again.

In a front page article today The Hartford Courant quotes me thus:

But the idea that praying is a meaningless response to a tragedy left some people uneasy. “There’s a phrase that’s been coined in the last 24 hours — prayer-shaming,” said Peter Wolfgang, president of Family Institute of Connecticut, and a practicing Catholic. “That’s what’s going on on the surface with Chris Murphy’s tweets … he’s creating this false dichotomy that’s highly offense to people of faith: that prayer is an excuse for inaction.”

When a tragedy occurs, it is natural for people of faith to turn to God, Wolfgang said. “We have to go to God at moments like this, but God acts through us,” he said. “Prayer and action are not opposed to each other, they’re two halves of the same coin.”

But that is not the only reason Sen. Murphy’s tweet–and similar comments from the Left–are so offensive. They are not merely saying that prayer by itself is not enough–something we can all agree on. No, what Sen. Murphy and friends are saying is that unless you support their preferred public policy remedy–gun control–your prayers are meaningless platitudes and you are complicit in the murders that are committed.  Such assertions are disgusting.

The larger issue at play here–and in Gov. Malloy’s similarly offensive comments this week at a Planned Parenthood–is that public officials will exploit every tragedy that occurs in order to serve a pre-existing agenda instead of bringing the country together. These public officials would have you believe that any American who has a different viewpoint is not just mistaken but evil.

Neither Sen. Murphy nor Gov. Malloy will come to terms with what it is they are doing or change course as long as it is politically advantageous to them. And we know the mainstream media will not hold them to account–indeed, it will applaud them and ape their rhetoric. But that is what is really happening here.