The nation is weeping at the sad tragedy of the lives lost in Newtown, Connecticut at the hand of another maniac with a gun.
Oh no. My fingers typed maniac, but my heart disagrees. Sure, a large part of me burns with anger and rage at the cowardice in shooting up innocent children and teachers in an elementary school. And yet, another side sees a broken man unaware of his value and worth to the God of love above.
You’ve read several Newtown articles, I’m sure. That’s fine. You don’t have to read this one. In fact, this blog is probably more for me than you anyway. It took a couple days to process. I feel sad for the families impacted, for the loss of precious life and the ripping of families. I hurt for the brave, courageous teachers whose actions saved lives. But, something else, a deeper insinuation ate at me more than anything else.
Before I get to that, I’d like to address a few of the “Christian” responses I’ve read so far in the media.
Huckabee and Prayer in Schools
Former Arkansas governor and presidential nominee Mike Huckabee claims we as a nation can look to the our removal of prayer from school as the culprit for such violent acts in our public schools. Huffington Post delivers the article and there are some 30,000+ comments in response to it. In the article, Huckabee is quoted saying, “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” and goes on to say “We don’t have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem.”
At least I partially agree. I respect Huckabee for the stand he is taking, and am sure he means well, but prayer in schools cannot be stopped. As we all know, prayer does not need a governmental endorsement. In fact, prayer can be (and for many cases, already is) present in schools in direct relation to how Christian parents teach their children to pray “without ceasing.” Which, as it turns out, is not a governmental issue in the way Huckabee suggests, but rather a personal, spiritual one. So while the line of argument sounds rather Christiany, I’ll have to say his comments do not help the situation. In fact, I’m sad he ever mentioned them.
Westboro, Connecticut, and Homosexuality
On a far more despicable note, the Westboro Baptist Church decided something else was to blame. Westboro’s cultic fanatics will stand in celebration of the event… yes, in celebration… as they perceive God has exacted his justice to Connecticut’s sinful allowance of homosexual marriages.
To quote them, “Westboro will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment.”
The “glory of his work”? Are they serious? Not much really needs to be said here, except that, frankly, I’m sick and tired of these Westboro maniacs (ugh, there’s that word again) playing “bad apple” to the church’s response to homosexuality. Something needs to be done about those folks. Seriously.
At the end of the day, I find the crime and incident deeply troubling. But unlike Huckabee, I don’t think prayer in schools is the answer (or maybe not in the way he does). I certainly am not blaming gay marriage laws for the crime either.
As I worked through my feeling, I wondered about God’s perspective. How does it look to him? I’m afraid the answer is that it looks no different than any other day.
Have you ever considered that everyday God gets a news report about thousands of senseless deaths? Every day. Sure, an event like this gets our attention because the crimes are concentrated in one place. But that doesn’t change the fact that hundreds of kids are dying across the nation, the world even, in like manner.
It’s great that we can rally around an event like this to remember and care for those effected. But it’s interesting, and maybe a bit sad, to think that it takes such an event to bring us to action. Daily, not only are kids senselessly murdered, but so are fathers and mothers. Huckabee is right. The problem is sin. And we are the people with a solution to that problem. Christ!
So what are we doing with that answer. Westboro and their loonies are wrong as two left shoes, but at least they are willing to participate in what they believe. What are we doing? Can we match their passion?
Newtown is a reminder to us that we have much more work to do. Sure, we should be ready to respond to the immediate need, but scenes like this should ignite something deep inside us. It should embolden to speak the gospel to that person at work. It should make us want to reach out to our neighbor to speak God’s love to their life. It should fire us up to be brighter lights in an ever-growing dark world.
Truth is, Christ is the only real solution to this mess.
So as I’m reading the articles and responses, and as I hear all the name calling and finger-pointing, I say B.S. As a Christian, I know who is to blame for such atrocities, and he’s staring back at me with sad eyes, from the mirror.