Is God Dead?  Ask the Cuomos

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It sounded like the makings of a wonderful speech, calling Americans to come together and build.

“If you believe in one another and if you do the right thing for yourself and your community, things will get better in this country.”

Chris Cuomo, CNN personality, was on a roll. Maybe he can never match the eloquence of his late father, former New York governor Mario Cuomo, but Chris knows how to package his words – much like his older brother Andrew Cuomo, the current New York governor.

But then Chris Cuomo followed the above, inspirational sentence with this:

“You don’t need help from above.”

What was his point?

This was no case of mis-speaking. Cuomo understands the words he uses, and this was his scripted monologue.

Why bring up “above”?

Cuomo’s call for doing the right thing could have been just another fine, secular speech.

But Cuomo kept talking and his message turned from cheerleading for the community to something else:  You don’t need God.

Again:  What was his point? That a media personality dismisses the need for God in his own life is not surprising. But then to tell others, on your national platform, that they don’t need “help from above” takes another step.

A step from the divine, and toward … where?

He is not the first Cuomo to build his own Tower of Babel, so to speak, and “make a name for ourselves.”

Andrew Cuomo has also become somewhat of a media star with his televised briefings on the coronavirus. On April 13, when the number of COVID-19 cases were in decline in New York, Governor Cuomo said:

“The number is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Fate did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that.”

This pandemic has caused a lot of pain and suffering, and real heroes are on the frontlines of this battle. Cuomo was right to recognize that. But why the need to dismiss God?

Governor Cuomo was recently admonished, along with New York City mayor Bill De Blasio, for restricting church attendance while allowing massive crowds for racial-equality protests. Federal judge Gary Sharpe said they sent out “simultaneous pro-protest/anti-religious gathering messages” and “actively encouraged participation in protests and openly discourages religious gatherings and threatened religious worshipers.”

That Cuomo would follow trends (protests) and ignore religion is not a shock. Cuomo easily separates faith from action. While he often brings up his Catholic credentials as a former altar boy and student in parochial schools, Cuomo uses religion when it’s convenient, but dismisses it when it gets in the way. Last year, Cuomo pushed for an extreme abortion bill, allowing for the taking of a human life right until birth. Cuomo celebrated the passage of the bill by lighting up the One World Trade Center in pink. Cuomo falsely declared abortion – which is a choice between life and death – as only a religious issue, declaring:

“I do not believe that religious values should drive political positions. The country cannot function if religious officials are dictating policy to elected officials.”

With that, Andrew reflected the beliefs of his father. Mario Cuomo was a big believer in not forcing his religion on others:

“The Catholic public official lives the political truth most Catholics through most of American history have accepted and insisted on:  the truth that to assure our freedom we must allow others the same freedom, even if occasionally it produces conduct by them which we would hold to be sinful.”

Mario Cuomo was also a backer of abortion and seemed to think the issue only fell under other Church teachings, like mandatory attendance on Sunday – which is deceiving. But it is also convenient when you want to put God aside.

Mario Cuomo, however, never directly dismissed God publicly, like his sons have.

A 1966 Time Magazine cover asked:  “Is God Dead?” In their words, the Cuomo brothers have given their answer.

Far be it for me to judge them, and the splinters in their eyes, while ignoring my wooden beam. The basis of Christianity is that we mess up and need Jesus Christ. St. Paul, a fallible man who accomplished greatness, speaks often of his failure (see Romans). Paul also said:

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”

Translation: You need God.


Kevin Thomas is a writer and teacher, living with his wife and children in Standish, Maine.