Asserting The Absurd

“We’ve systematically removed God from our schools.  Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

That is the question Mike Huckabee posed Friday, even as the country was learning about the carnage in Connecticut.  Yes, he did continue with, “God wasn’t armed. He didn’t go to the school, but God will be there in the form of a lot of people with hugs and therapy and a whole lot of ways in which he will be involved in the aftermath.”  Maybe he should have led with what he finished with.

I am all for God.  I’m a big fan.  But I also believe that God has a place, and that place is not in our schools.  There is a separation of church and state for a reason.  If you choose to attend church and worship and pray there, that is spectacular.  If you choose to worship and pray in the privacy of your home, that is also spectacular.  Where the waters become muddy is when there is what amounts to state-sponsored prayer in school.  No, I am not talking about forced prayer.

Let’s say, for example, that it was decided that prayer would be allowed and encouraged in public schools.  What would that look like?  Would students be allowed to pray in a Christian-like fashion?  Would the Muslim student be allowed to lay out his prayer rug multiple times each day for prayer?

Here is what I think the answers to those questions are.  The God that so many people want to “be allowed” in school is the one recognized by Christian faiths.  And I doubt that people would be ok with the Muslim student laying out his prayer mat several times each day.

I may be completely off base in my thinking, but I doubt it.  What Mike Huckabee was asserting was that the God he knows, and the God I know, is the one that should be allowed in schools.  That, to me, is asserting something that is absurd.  Mike Huckabee was not saying that we should allow Muslim prayer in schools, he was asserting that Christian prayer be allowed in school.

I don’t think that Mr. Huckabee was saying that students should be forced to pray in school.  Not at all.  At least I hope he was not saying that forced prayer should be allowed.  Doing so would ostracize those who do not believe at all, and we are a country founded both on religious freedom and freedom from religion.

I also disagree with Mr. Huckabee that not having God and prayer in school was the cause of the shooting.  I believe that the murderer would have shot all of those people regardless if the students were allowed to pray in school.  Asserting otherwise is to assert that the wrath of God was brought down on those 26 innocent people because they were not encouraged to pray in school.  Likewise, I disagree with James Dobson of Focus on the Family when he says, “I mean, millions of people have decided that God doesn’t exist or he’s irrelevant to me, and we have killed 54 million babies, and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences, too.”  He is asserting, again, that those who were killed were somehow deserving of God’s wrath because of political policy.  That is absurd.

I might be mistaken here, but I do not know of any student who has been taken to the office or otherwise disciplined if they chose to take a moment to pray in school.  Just because there is not someone leading the school in prayer over the intercom does not mean that students are not taking time for silent prayer.  It is not that God is not allowed, or that prayer is not allowed, it is that our public schools are just that–they are public.  And in our country, that means being inclusive of people no matter of their religious beliefs, so having someone leading a daily prayer over the intercom would exclude people of different faiths or those who do not practice religion at all.  For all of the cries to keep the government out of our lives, you would think that Mike Huckabee and James Dobson would be all for the government imposing yet another mandate on us, but what they really want is to be the ones imposing mandates.

Before we look to blame political policy or separation of church and state for what happened at Sandy Hook last week, let’s first place the blame where is squarely belongs.  The blame goes to the person who carried out 27 murders last Friday.  It was not lack of prayer, the abortion policy of the United States, or autism spectrum disorder that caused those murders.  It was the actions of someone who had no regard for human life and the ease of access he had to a military-style weapon.

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