Just hours after the tragic shooting in Newtown, Mike Huckabee drew a connection between the shooting and the removal of God from American society. At least, that is what most people interpreted his words to mean. Huckabee has tried to clarify his remarks by suggesting that he never claimed that more prayer in the public schools would have stopped the shooter.
Huckabee’s claim that he is a political victim in this tragedy is a distortion. He is not being honest with himself. A comparison of his words with what he said to what he is now describing that he said doesn’t mesh. Here is what Huckabee said on Friday, but keep in mind this is in direct response to the question, “How could God let this happen?”
“It’s an interesting thing, we ask why there’s violence in our schools but we’ve systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage? Because we’ve made it a place where we do not want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability. That we’re not just going to have to be accountable to the police, if they catch us, but we stand one day before a holy God in judgment.”
“If we don’t believe that, then we don’t fear that. When people say, ‘Why did god let it happen?’ You know, God wasn’t armed. He didn’t go to the school. But God will be there in the form of a lot people with hugs and therapy and a lot of ways in which he will be involved in the aftermath.”
“Maybe we ought to let him in on the front end and we would not have to call him to show up when it’s all said and done at the back end.”
Huckabee’s answer looks straightforward. The first two sentences he says after responding to a question on how God could allow this is that God has been “systematically removed…from our schools” and we shouldn’t be surprised at the carnage. That looks like a direct connection between the two.
A couple of days later, Huckabee explained that isn’t what he said at all. Nope. The liberals distorted it. From the Christian Post:
Later that night, Huckabee complained on his TV show, Fox News’ “Huckabee,” that liberals were accusing him of saying that the shooting would not have happened if the United States had prayer in schools. Arguing that he “said nothing of the sort,” Huckabee explained that he was talking about a broader cultural shift in which discussions about God, faith and morality are considered only appropriated in religious institutions, not the public square.
“It’s far more than just taking prayer or Bible reading out of the schools. It’s that fact that people sue a city so we’re not confronted with a manger scene or a Christmas carol, and lawsuits are filed to remove a cross that’s a memorial to fallen soldiers. Churches and Christian-owned businesses are told to surrender their values under the edict of government orders to provide tax funded abortion pills. We carefully and intentionally stop saying things are ‘sinful’ and we call them ‘disorders.’ Sometimes we even say they are normal. And, to get to where we have to abandon bedrock moral truths, then we are asked, well ‘where was God?’ And I respond that, as I see it, we’ve escorted Him right out of our culture and we’ve marched Him off the public square and then we express our surprise that a culture without Him actually reflects what it has become,” Huckabee said.
Oh, so Huckabee was talking about more than just the schools. He expanded his comments to mean that we must put God back into our lives, everywhere. Too bad that he didn’t say that instead of launching into the lack of God in the schools immediately after the question was raised. Then again, does that matter?
Even if we take Huckabee’s references to schools to mean public society at large, he is still claiming that if there was more religion then there would be less violence. Too bad history is filled with religious wars and violence. Otherwise, Huckabee could point to something to back up his comments.
Huckabee made a mistake with his comments. He knows that and is trying to back off. This isn’t a case of anyone distorting his words. He did fine making a fool of himself all by himself.
If Huckabee really thinks that calling this tragedy a “sin” instead of a “disorder” makes it better or prevents future ones, then he can enjoy his fascination with that concept. That will effectively remove him from the debate of real solutions. We are better off for that anyway.
The problem is not merely the absence of God in public affairs. It is not even just gun control. There is something much more difficult to solve than with prayers and laws. It is a problem with mental health and modern society. There were plenty of warning signs that Adam Lanza experienced severe mental illness, like Jared Loughner and most of the other mass shooters of recent years.
Unless Huckabee is proposing exorcisms to chase the devil from these sick individuals, more manger scenes is not going to do it on its own. Of course, exorcisms have never worked well either. That leaves Huckabee preaching to his flock of supporters in irrelevancy.
Gun control would limit the mass murders that people like Lanza are guilty. Yet, it remains a near political impossibility. In addition, there are so many guns out there that cleaning society of them or even some specific ones is a massive, intrusive and difficult undertaking. That still leaves unbalanced people like Lanza with a handgun, knife, club or some other weapon to act out their craziness. In that case, he might only kill a handful of people, not dozens. Calling that better is a distasteful word. It also doesn’t address the real problem: Lanza’s mental illness. More so than God or guns, that is the real problem. That’s what society has to find a way to address. There are no easy answers. And singing more Christmas carols is definitely not one of those solutions.