Just this morning I had vowed not to blog until I finished my grading.
Then I heard about the horrific mass shooting at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
And then I heard Mike Hukabee suggest that the shooting could somehow be explained by the fact that God is being “systematically removed” from public schools. While on Fox News Huckabee declared: “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have 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 don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means…” (You can watch Huckabee here: http://youtu.be/bc1k-Zi8w2M.)
This is a wonderful summary illustration of the kind of alternate universe that religious conservatives like Mike Huckabee live in. It is a universe in which Bible thumping pastor-politicians like Huckabee court the NRA by calling themselves “a gun-clinger and a God-clinger” as if Jesus came to set us free to pack heat without government restriction. It is a universe in which the Bible is read to justify the stoning of misbehaving children and the slaughter and sacrifice of misbehaving societies. And it is a universe in which any gun violence is then blamed on the removal of the Bible from schools.
I live in a country that is much more secular than the United States. (Heck, in terms of secular ethos Canada might as well be bordering Scandanavia.) Thirty years ago I heard the Bible read every morning in my public elementary school. The Bible was removed long ago, and interestingly we didn’t see a spike in gun violence as a result. What I do see when I visit my daughter’s elementary school is an institution that is much more aware — and intolerant — of bullying and racism than my Bible reading school was thirty years ago.
Will some rabid secularist suggest that schools like my daughter’s are better because they removed the Bible? Perhaps some might. But few people are that simple-minded. Well the narrative that gun violence is traced to the elimination of school Bible reading, prayer and creches is just as simple-minded. And simple-mindedness on an issue this serious is not only lamentable, it’s dangerous.