Yesterday, the world watched in horror as children screamed and ran from a mentally ill 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 with shoulders made for mothers to cry on and there are others with ears to simply listen of their 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.
But it was because of those damn liberals taking prayer out of public schools.
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. 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.
In effect what Huckabee said was that because school sponsored prayer was deemed unconstitutional decades ago, Jesus got really pissed off yesterday.
So pissed was God 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 the father of the prodigal son, he is the father of wrath and hate. 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.
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.