Disgraceful Reactions to a Tragedy

December 14, 2012

This morning, at least two dozen people — most of them young children — were killed in a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. While we are still in the process of learning details regarding this tragedy, two religious figures already claim to know its cause: separation of church and state. 

Seriously. 

On his radio program this afternoon, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association said the following:

“You know, the question’s going to come up, ‘Where was God? I thought God cared about the little children? God protected the little children? Where was God when all this went down?’ And here’s the bottom line: God is not gonna go where he’s not wanted. … We’ve kicked God out of our public school system. And I think God would say to us, ‘Hey, I’ll be glad to protect your children, but you gotta invite me back into your world first. I’m not gonna go where I’m not wanted. I am a gentleman.'”

Soon after, FOX News anchor and ordained Southern Baptist minister Mike Huckabee — appearing on, well, FOX News — had this to say

“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. … Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

Enlightening and empathetic remarks, wouldn’t you say? More like absolutely disgraceful and utterly deplorable. Instead of focusing on extending their condolences to all those involved, and perhaps providing a religious perspective on dealing with a tragedy (with which I might disagree, but would be understandable), Fischer and Huckabee decided to use their time on air to make clear their hatred for secular, religiously neutral government, and threaten that the United States must become a Christian theocracy or else continue to experience school shootings (gun control, anyone?). This is despicable behavior and should be widely condemned.

There are obvious legal responses to this madness, but quite honestly I think my friend Rob Boston has registered the most powerful and poignant response imaginable (which he later expanded on here).

“A god who allows innocent children to die because he’s in a snit over his alleged expulsion from public schools is not worthy of our worship. If this is the god of the Religious Right, they can have him. I have no interest in spending eternity with such an unethical and evil being.”

By the way: there’s no information yet on the religious views of the suspect, who reportedly committed suicide at the scene.

Addendum: this morning I awoke to learn that there are actually more offensive reactions out there. What is the matter with these people?