A Bizarre Explanation of Newtown

By Jeffrey Page

Not since Jerry Falwell looked into a TV camera 12 days after 9/11 and blamed the attack on lesbians, the ACLU and People for the American Way (among others) has an American politician uttered the vicious outrages Mike Huckabee has spewed in the days after the mass killings in Newtown, Conn.

Soon after the bloodshed, Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister who has expressed presidential ambitions, was asked by Fox News how God could have allowed the massacre of 20 little children and six adults. His response defines the word “cruel” and displays a breathless lack of humanity.

It was all our faults.

At a time when the people of Newtown and another 300 million people of the United States needed comfort and a kind word, Huckabee decided to browbeat us by declaring that the shootings were the result of a lack of prayer in the public schools.

We have to be responsible for where our arguments lead us. I follow Huckabee’s reasoning like this: Whose fault is it that there is no compulsory prayer in the schools? I could compose a list of names, but the shorthand answer is the Supreme Court. And who sits there? Nine men and women appointed by a president. And who picks the president?

That would be us.

And among “us” are residents of Newtown, a place where it is unlikely that townspeople never marched on a school board meeting to demand a restoration of school prayer.

I don’t think God works this way; making little girls and boys pay for the inaction of the older people in town.

“It’s an interesting thing,” Huckabee said on Fox News. “We ask why there’s violence in our schools but we’ve systematically removed God from our schools.”


Huckabee doesn’t get it. Making school violence an “interesting” subject reduces the Connecticut tragedy – parents facing the incomprehensible truth of life without their children – to about the level of urgency and importance as trying to do the crossword puzzle in the Sunday Times. A new movie is “interesting.” The murder of babies is not “interesting.”

And “systematically removing” God from classrooms?

In fact we have done no such thing.

Some students pray in school whenever they wish, maybe before an algebra exam, maybe to thank God for another day, or for a dad’s recovery from illness, or for a date for the prom. But these are personal entreaties made by individuals, maybe in a whisper, maybe in silence. The First Amendment may rule against organized prayer in public institutions but prevent praying in schools? Kick God out? Never happened. Never could.

Most ministers understand that no one is powerful enough or, for that matter, stupid enough, to try to remove God from the schools. It can’t be done because, the clergy will tell you, God is with everyone all the time – even in school. Does Huckabee think that a mere schoolhouse door is going to keep the lord out?

Huckabee, continuing with the grace and mercy of a stampeding buffalo as Newtown parents arranged for the funerals of their babies, said, “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

Of course we should be so surprised, and maybe a little astonished that someone with a public persona could be so insensitive to the misery and pain that has overcome Newtown.

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7 Responses to “A Bizarre Explanation of Newtown”

  1. Geoff Howard Says:

    If ever anyone were deserving of the Trumanesque phrase “give ’em hell” – and in Huckabee’s case, very literally – it’s Mike Huckabee. You’ve made a dent.

  2. Anita Manley Says:

    If “God” has been removed from our schools, how come He allowed children to be molested by priests in churches?? Where was God then?

  3. Emily Theroux Says:

    Huckabee says God didn’t stop the Connecticut school massacre because we kicked? prayer out of the schools. If that’s true, why didn’t God protect the Amish children who died in a school shooting a few years ago? Why, as Anita asks, didn’t he protect the children molested by priests? Why didn’t he protect the four young girls who died in that terrible church bombing in Birmingham in the ’60s?

    It’s hard to fathom how a supposed Christian and “man of the cloth” could be so heartless (as Jeff expressed far better than I could), when the parents of those poor children hadn’t even been given a decent interval to bury them and begin to face the unbearable enormity of their anguish and their loss.

    Mike Huckabee’s “God” is a vengeful, fearsome god indeed if he punishes innocent children for perceived societal “sins” he ascribes to their equally blameless parents – and allows Huckabee to abuse the airwaves by casting vile aspersions on the memories of such unsullied little souls.

  4. KeLeMi Says:

    Huckabee also believes that the bible passage reads, “Blessed are the Kooks, for they shall inherit the earth”.

  5. r.c.taplin Says:

    good essay Page. makes me proud to call you a friend.

  6. Jo Galante Cicale Says:

    i was shocked by these comments as well. these fools are not christian at all; they are just faux christian trying to control and pervert all of us. may god have mercy on their souls.

  7. Jean Webster Says:

    Thanks for saying what so many of us have been thinking, and saying it so well.

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