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First, were the quick and despicable calls from the likes of Bryan Fischer and Mike Huckabee: that the sole cause of the carnage were the decades-old Supreme Court decisions that upheld the our Constitution's separation of church and state, ending the practice of mandatory, coercive sectarian prayer in public schools.
Fischer's statement displayed a particularly disturbing brand of theology:
"Fischer said that God could have protected the victims of this massacre, but didn't because 'God is not going to go where he is not wanted' and so if school administrators really want to protect students, they will start every school day with prayer."
So, to be clear, in Fischer's world, God is someone prone to insult over petty ego slights, for which the death of children is a just consequence. Heart-warming.
But what's more ridiculous about this theory, is the capricious way that its proponents claim the power - and the knowledge - to decide 1) what can be attributed to people, and what to God; 2) what God is thinking and feeling 3) when God decides whether to intervene in human affairs. After all, if God is so miffed about liberal activism, why are gun control activists, abortion rights activists, and liberal Supreme Court justices even allowed to exist? Why are their actions attributable to them alone, but the actions of a crazed killer are somehow the will of God? And who appointed Fisher and Huckabee to be God's press secretaries, anyhow? And why do they only speak up when some tragedy occurs, as when Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell blamed 9/11 on feminists and gay activists? Why isn't God present in the joy of gay marriages and adoptions, or the empowerment of women throughout the world?
The second absurdity in the wake of Newtown, is the rush - by gun control advocates! - to assure those who enjoy killing helpless animals for sport, that their effort to save children's lives won't interfere with the hunters' enjoyment of said sport. For instance, Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy feels the need to defend the call for gun control with:
"These are assault weapons. You don't hunt deer with these things."
Why is such assurance necessary? Would any parent in their right mind answer a proposal to save their child's life with "but will it interfere with my favorite sport?" What if gun control efforts did interfere with the pleasure of killing Bambi? Would that be so terrible?
The third development begins on a very positive note: I watched the beautiful interfaith service in memory of those lost at Newton, with a mix of awe and gratitude. I spent several years living in a town where the "interfaith" clergy council was only open to the Christian clergy in the town (and there were definitely non-Christian clergy around.) Seeing so many faiths represented, and watching them interact warmly afterward, was truly heart-warming. I remember remarking on how no one from the town seemed to object, but also thinking that others were sure to. It didn't take long. According to "Operation Save America:"
The "Interfaith" service was an affront to Almighty God. Those claiming to be His priests barely mentioned His Name --Jesus! After all, He is the only God there is!
Really? At a time of such unimaginable grief, it's quite remarkable that we're told that now is not the time to discuss policy solutions, but it sure is the time to insert petty religious turf wars.
I don't pretend to know what is in the mind of God. But perhaps the humility that is preached by so many faiths, would be a handy tool at a time like this.
Amy Fried is the author of "Escaping Dick Cheney's Stomach." She received her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior, and has been an advocate for church-state separation and other civil liberties issues. She writes on women's issues, media, veganism (more...)
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