Picture for a moment, a 7 year-old girl waking up and going downstairs wearing a pretty dress that her mother laid out for her the night before. She eats her favorite breakfast–pancakes with little smiley faces on them. Her mother walks her to the school bus. They hold hands. They discuss plans for after school; a walk through town, maybe a visit to the library. The little girl looks up at her mother and smiles, her eyes filled with unconditional love. A gesture that is second nature to her. The bus comes, she hugs her mother and climbs aboard the bus with other excited school children. She quickly slides across her seat, not wanting to miss a second of her mother’s face as they drive off. She presses her cheek against the cold glass of the window and waves with childlike abandon. Her mother returns the love with equally excited waves. The little girl doesn’t know yet that it will be the last time she ever sees her mother. Her mother doesn’t know it will be the last time she will see her daughter.
Now picture that little girl getting off the bus and lining up to go into her classroom. She is joyfully talking with her friends. They laugh about a silly song a friend made up and they get excited when they enter their room and see their teacher–an authority figure they look up to, someone they feel safe with. Their day is just about to begin.
Then a ‘popping’ sound echoes through the hallway. Then another and another. The sound is getting closer accompanied by screams and wailing. Suddenly, the door to their classroom bursts open. Standing in the doorway is an imposing man, dressed in black. A long, weapon of death within his white-knuckled grip. The little girl, along with the other students rush to the side of the teacher. The children begin to cry. The teacher tries to protect them but the man aims and begins shooting. The little girl sees her best friend’s body explode from a bullet. Her friend’s body falls to the ground, lifeless. The teacher is trembling, the students feel her fear and panic. The little 7 year old girl cries out for her mommy. She keeps calling for her but her mommy never comes. The children one by one fall to the ground. The teacher is hit and finally the little girl feels the pain of a bullet enter her. For what feels like a lifetime, she sees in her minds eye that last wave from her mother. She can feel the cold glass from the bus window on her cheek. It is this memory she holds on to before she slips away.
This is a fictional account but it could easily been the experience of any of the 20 victims of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre. Why did this happen? Where was God?
Any god who would allow children to be hunted down and murdered in such a horrific and terrifying manner and to have their parents suffer unimaginable grief either can do nothing about it or doesn’t care to. He is either powerless or evil.
After the event took place it wasn’t long till my Facebook page blew up with posts from the religious right claiming that the reason God did not save these children is because he is not allowed in public schools. This was a popular post.
This reasoning is morally reprehensible. It is obscene. The idea that God needs an invitation in order to intervene is absurd. Apparently God has the same restrictions placed upon him as vampires do. Unless invited, a vampire can not enter your home. And although I think vampires and god are both fictitious, the wackos who spread this nonsense think God is not only real but he watched children die and the only reason he didn’t step in to do anything was because our constitution prohibits religous teaching in public schools. This psychopathic reasoning fails to explain the following:
- On April 4th, 2012, 7 people were killed and 3 injured when a gunman opened fire at a Christian university in Oakland, CA
- October, 2006, a gunman opened fire in an Amish school killing 5 children.
- Only a few days before the Newtown shooting, a man opened fire in an Oregon mall, killing three people. Surely, God has not been told to stay out of malls.
- In Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight screening of the recent Batman film, 12 people were killed and 58 injured when James Holmes opened fire. Was God also banned from movie theaters?
- May, 1927. Bath, Michigan. 38 elementary students killed. Two teachers killed. Four other adults killed. 58 injured. This all from a madman blowing up the school. In 1927, prayer had not yet be taken out of school. That wouldn’t happen until 1963.
- All the child abuse perpetrated by the Catholic Church.
Clearly, God was not present in schools where he was welcome nor was he anywhere to be found in public places. Of course, the deluded religious folk will either say that God is mysterious, or that this is all part of his plan or that he gave us free will and that is why he doesn’t interfere. If he gave us free will than please cut out all the prayers. All I have been hearing is that we need to pray for the victims and their families. What a waste of time. Because he either isn’t listening or, because of free will, he won’t do anything anyway. So stop praying and start doing things that matter.
The debates are abundant; gun control, mental health care, school security… they are all valid arguments and we need to look at all of the evidence and use reason to make our country safer. I don’t have the answers but together, with reason and evidence, we can come up with some.
But I can tell you for certain that putting God back into public schools is not the answer. And praying is a waste of time. How many of the parents of those who died do you think prayed for the safety of their children. I’m sure any that were religious certainly prayed for the well being of their children. What do we tell the parents? “I’m sorry, God heard your prayers but you decided to give them a public education so they were killed. You understand don’t you?” And what about those who gave their children religious studies outside of public school, like CCD. Isn’t that sufficient? And even if god was welcomed into public schools, the pricks pushing for this are of the Christian persuasion. Any Jewish, Hindu or Muslim child killed in this attack would be suffering eternal hellfire torment according to Christian teaching because they were born into the wrong faith.
These events clearly show that Christians and the religous are sick, deluded people. Social networking is putting a magnifying glass on their lunacy. This is why the atheist community continues to grow as people leave the church in droves. Any group of people who care so little about the suffering of other human beings will ultimately lose in the end. Reason will prevail, hopefully sooner than later so that we may prevent future tragedies like the one in Newtown.
I will return to the 12 Myths of Christmas tomorrow.