Tuesday, December 18, 2012

God made him do it, and other fails.

My friend Kandi tagged me on Facebook in a video of Fox News host Mike Huckabee discussing the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. Here it is:

Mike Huckabee's Incredible Response to Newtown Shooting - Where was God? from anberlin_fan on GodTube.

Hmm... I agree with parts of what he said. Yup, this country has rapidly grown more secular in the past few decades. Yes, there are a number of laws and rules and such kicking religiosity out of the public sphere, especially when said religiosity is of the Christian flavor.

But, and this is a huge but here, I cringe at the linking of children's murders to America's increasing secularization. Besides seeming incredibly heartless (yeah, way to comfort the grieving parents and siblings... your kid is gone because of the sins of millions of others...), it just doesn't make sense. By all accounts, western Europe's godlessness could totally whip our godlessness, yet we still have had far more Columbines.

Yesterday I read a post at Reason about bad responses to the tragedy, and Huckabee's made the top of the list:

I don't doubt the governor's sincerity, but among other things, he might want to think about the declining rate of school violence. According to data compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics, schools have been getting safer and less violent at least over the past couple of decades - despite what Huckabee would doubtless consider a period of rising godlessness. During the school year of 1992-93, for instance, the number of on-location murders of students and staff at K-12 public schools was 47 (out of population of millions). In 2009-2010 (the latest year for which data is listed), the number was 25. Over the same period, the rate on victimizations per 1,000 students for theft dropped from 101 to 18. For violent crimes, the rate dropped from 53 to 14. And for "serious violent" crimes, the rate dropped from 8 to 4.

So it just doesn't follow through. Sorry. Numbers aside, this theme is quite popular among Evangelical Christians right now. Karen Spears Zacharias writes:

What shames me is that in claiming the name of Jesus I immediately become associated with some of the most judgmental people: Evangelicals in the hands of an angry God.

People like Fred Phelps and his Westboro clan.

Or James Dobson, who said the Newtown, CT., massacre is the result of Americans turning their backs on God.  Pay back for gay marriage as it were.

 I think we have turned our back on the scripture and on God almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that’s what’s going on, Dobson said. 

And Dobson isn’t the only Evangelical acting like God’s loudmouth.

Bryan Fischer, host of American Family Association radio show, said God did not protect the Sandy Hook’s victims because prayer was removed from the schools. Former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Americans should not be surprised at the tragedy because “we have systematically removed God from our schools.”

And Tennessee Pastor Sam Morris stood before his congregation and told them the following about the murders in Newtown:

- We ought to “string Adam Lanza up in public and set his body on fire and leave it out there to let the birds pick his bones.”
“We get all up in arms about 20 children being shot in a day care but we don’t give one good-glory rip about the 4,000 that were removed violently from the wombs of their mothers [in abortion procedures] the same day,” he explained. “I believe they use children and Christmas and all that to pull on our heart strings about gun control. That’s what it’s all about.”
-“What’s behind this shooting that we saw on Dec. 14 in Newtown, Connecticut and the other one’s like it? What’s going on. Well, number one, deception… I got news for you, when you kicked God out of schools, you’re going to be judged for that.”

Poor God. Do you think he ever ashamed to be associated with the likes of us Evangelicals?

I don't know the mind of God, but Lord have mercy, I'm embarrassed, and I'm not even Evangelical. Do I think there's some truth in those quotes? Yeah, sure, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

With the recent loss of my sister, I've been experiencing my own pain. It sucks. One day Jos was here, the next, her husband came home to her body. I'm not sure if it's possible for me to ever truly understand it.

One thing I do, though, is meditate on my Uncle Curtis' eulogy, about how horrible, unexplainable tragedies occur, not as God's vengeful wrath, but as part of this broken world.

 Me in bed... tre sexy?

I know this won't sit right in the minds of so many. We like to think, if I'm a good Christian, pay my tithes, don't cheat, read my Bible, well then, I'll be blessed, tenfold even. The consummate overachieving, straight "A", middle child that I was, I believed it, too. But life happened. I have health issues, ones so bad I had to leave my job. And now I'm broker than 18 year old me (and I was hella broke then making $5.50/hr.). If it weren't for K... Did my godlessness bring about my sorry state of affairs? Nah... turning back to Karen's post:

When will Evangelicals ever learn that we are not sinners in the hands of an angry God, but dear ones grasped by the nail-scarred hands of Christ?


John Henry said...

So sorry to hear about your sister. God bless you and your family. I'm going through a lot myself these days, and your posts are helping. This one no less than the others. Thank you.

Alisha De Freitas said...

Awww, John, I'm so sorry to hear that. It seems so many people are going through trials. I'll pray for you, and thank you for the kind words. :-)

Jesus-in-the-city said...

The human heart is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is.

Alisha De Freitas said...

I don't want to know, ever.

Russ said...

Thanks for highlighting this, Li... it's one of my "soapbox" issues as well.

Armchair pharisees who pontificate about our societal ills, as if their pronouncements will magically correct the problems, and then hide behind God's supposed judgments when things don't improve, only serve to reinforce the image that we followers of Christ are a useless bunch of religious nuts with nothing real to offer in the way of solutions.

(Did I mention this is a "soapbox" issue for me?)

When I hear people invoking God's judgments for calamity, or especially, blaming Him for not stopping it, my response now is, "Well, who did He leave in charge?"

I realize that question opens up a huge can of worms for some folks, but honestly it's a meal long overdue in some circles.

Love you Li... keep up the excellent work!

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