Jesus—An Accessory to Murder?

Mike Huckabee said lack of school prayer caused the shooting. What does that say about his idea of God?

Yesterday, the world watched in horror as children screamed and ran from a monster out to kill them. We were heartbroken as we saw their trembling faces, disgusted as we saw the media thrusting cameras in those same faces, and we were left confused and angry and, most of all, sad.

It is in these moments. These moments of madness and misery that Christians have something redemptive to offer. Church folks need not recite turn-or-burn scripts or reflections on the afterlife of these innocents; they can, but it’s likely the last thing parents and communities want to hear.

BUT, there are those among Church folks with shoulders made for mothers to cry on and ears fit for listening to lament. There are those that have passion and are willing to move into the fray and speak out on the fact that, as President Obama said yesterday, we’ve been through this too many times before.

And so it’s never fun for me to see a face of Christianity waste it all away.

Mike Huckabee, the former pastor, former presidential candidate and now TV personality, claimed he knew what went wrong. It was not the number of bullets that could be fired from the magazine clip. It was not the fact that the murderer suffered from mental illness. There was nothing we could have done what.so.ever.

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But it was because of those damn liberals taking prayer out of public schools.

Come again?

Okay. Let’s forget the constitutional arguments, even though they sit soundly on the side of separation of Church and State. Let’s thrust past the theological arguments, where Jesus clearly states prayer is a private affair (Sermon on the Mount, people—Matthew 6:6-7). Let’s not even delve into Huckabee’s past statements; they’re there if you want to find them.

Let’s look at the claim he made about Jesus.

Let’s look at the logic (or lack thereof). What Huckabee said, in effect, was that, because school sponsored prayer was deemed unconstitutional decades ago, Jesus got really pissed off last Friday—

—so pissed that he played accessory to the murder of 20 children and 7 adults… Because how else are we to understand that if you do not support state-sponsored prayer, Jesus will kill your kids? It is an obvious divine reminder that God is not just the father of the prodigal son—he is the father of wrath and hate as well. Nothing is sacred, not even the life of a child.

This is the God out to get us.

Herein lies the problem of Mike Huckabee and others like him. When you slap a cross on any cause, it becomes untouchable. The reasons you cite cannot be proven or tested, because they are of the divine. Unseen. God’s invisible hands. So when folks start to call out your political positions (in this case gun rights), the public prayer card works because you need no basis to make your claim. Simply state that you believe God is punishing us for taking prayer out of school.

This isn’t intended as an argument. It’s intended as a prophecy…or at least, to appear as a prophecy.

Despite Jesus making it incredibly clear that public pressure of prayer is the exact opposite of the point of prayer, folks like Huck continue to pin all of our societal evils on the removal of prayer from the public arena. They say these schools sit in Godless grounds.

Really?

Cause I sure remember praying in school. I prayed for my friend when he got hurt during recess. I interceded for my bawling teacher when she received the news her dog had died. I came to God for the usual things of a child, loved ones and Christmas presents. And yes, I prayed I would win the spelling bee.

I prayed secretly and I loved it. I didn’t have to worry about eyes watching my lips as they silently move or be tempted to peek to see if anyone else wasn’t closing their eyes. No, it was my personal place of rest. There were times when the classroom setting was the stage for my most holy and intimate moments with Christ. To me that is a much more authentic form of prayer. I would choose to come to God with my worries and joys, fears and hopes, and I developed an honest relationship with Christ my savior.

And that savior is not one to arbitrarily load guns and put parents in a lifetime of hell.

He is not so concerned with the fact that prayer pressure no longer exists in schools. He is concerned with the fact that his followers aren’t responding to the sick man next door that needs protection from himself. He is upset that we are more comfortable with a sword in our hands than the unwell’s snot on our sleeve.

He is frustrated that it is still easier to acquire a weapon than a therapist.

He is saddened by the fact that Christians write on the internet that this man will burn in hell. He is brokenhearted over our self-righteousness and our clenched hands unwilling to offer grace. And he mourns Christians confusing our failure to respond with love and mercy and grace with an angry God behind a divine machine-gun.

And I mourn over that too.

RR

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A version of this was previously published on Registered Runaways.

—Photo theogeo/Flickr

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About Registered Runaway

The anonymous blogger behind Registered Runaways: his battle cry is for community. For keepers. For safe people to show up. He calls on his readers to roll up their sleeves, trade tales of their bruises, and deny the lie that we’re alone. You can follow him on Twitter at @registeredruna1.

Comments

  1. Thank you, RR, for pointing out what Jesus said regarding those who pray in public. His words seem quite clear to me, but I’ve met few Christians who pay any attention whatsoever to the gospels. As someone said, it’s like Jesus was born so he could be crucifed, and his life means nothing at all. He was pretty darn clear as well about what he thought of proselytizing.

  2. You can always count on some fanatical follower of Jesus, god of peace and love, to make atheism look good in times like this.

  3. I’m not gonna get on the God this and God that or lack of god thing.I’m not going to try to figure why this happen. I am mourning those who died and am filling my days with prayer. My heart goes out to those people. And I’m not going to tarnish their memory but instead, will continue to be prayerful.

  4. So who are you pissed-off at RR, Mike or Jesus? It seems really really clear to me that you don’t blame the murderer (lanza).

    I wish I could say who i fully blame.

  5. I find it very strange that people latch onto statements of men like huckabee as representative of an entire faith and run with it.He is an idiot fringe nut job. Even this author in his sideways article denigrates the immense power faith has over grief. From my own experience it brings comfort and peace to know the tragic loss of a loved one is not a loss forever. Instead they are in the very presence of God, free of pain and sickness in peace and joy. We will be reunited in due time. Who would strip anyone much less a family with a loss of a child, of this powerful faith that makes the unbearable weight of grief bearable? Now would be good time for Atheists to be respectful of the survivors and hold their words

    • Craig: Do not be so quick to judge. If you actually looked at this author’s blog, you would notice that this author is a heartfelt follower of Christ, and has actually written a beautiful set of posts for survivors. This post focuses on those that would seek to use that terrible event as a way to bludgeon others, which happens far too often in our culture, and despite what you may believe, there is sadly a large amount of Christians who say things like this — I have encountered far too many who do exactly what this post condemns. This message is solely needed, especially at a time like this, where we should be respectful of survivors. Christians – and really anyone – who isn’t needs to be called out, and it’s good that the author here did that.

  6. Althought I’m an atheist, for the lack of better termilogy: Amen to your article :) Religion is a always a private and personal choice, even if you have to hide it from hypocrites. No one can control your mind if you don’t let them. Thank you for your healthy views.

  7. I agree that Mike Huckabee’s statement was a tactless, knee-jerk return to ideology and bad theology. I do not have a great deal of sympathy for judgmental Christianity, on the other hand, in the spirit of not being judgmental, I would like to play devil’s advocate, as it were, and add a bit of nuance.

    When Mike Huckabee says that the reason these things happen is because of a lack of prayer in school, I am not sure he is saying that it is a manifestation of the wrath of God– like God sending a plague of locusts, having innocent children attacked as a sort message from above. (This is the kind of thing the Westboro Baptist Church preaches, but they are so out there they horrify even most Fundamentalists.)

    This could be what he means, but many Fundamentalist Evangelicals believe that there is a literal battle between good and evil with angels and devils vying for men’s souls. If Huckabee sees the world in this way, then he would be saying not that God approved of armed massacres but that the devil won out because the soul of the shooter had been lost because he was not given enough religious instruction.

    My suspicion is that Huckabee was decrying what he sees as a lack of moral instruction that he believes would prevent people from behaving in these ways. In other words, it is a lack of a religious foundation that makes our society ill. In a sense, his argument is similar to discussions of the culture of violence that leads people to see murder as the only option. How do we change our culture to make mass shootings unthinkable? I don’t agree with Huckabee’s recipe for a healthy society, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he was not saying Jesus wanted these children dead because he was sending a message.

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