In the wake of the shooting of 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, people are searching for answers about how and why this tragedy happened. Some prominent Christian conservatives are blaming the massacre on the lack of religion in schools and the secularization of America more generally.
In an appearance on Fox News former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said, “We ask why there's 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?” He later clarified that he did not think that prayer in school could have directly prevented the shooting.
Bryan Fischer, a spokesperson for the American Family Association, a non-profit that promotes conservative fundamentalist Christian values, echoed Governor Huckabee’s sentiments. He said, “Here’s the bottom line: God is not gonna go where he’s not wanted…We have spent 50 years telling God to get lost, telling God, we do not want you in our schools, we don’t want to pray to you in our schools, we don’t want to pray to you before football games, we don’t want to pray to you at graduation, we don’t want anyone talking about you in a graduation speech. We’ve kicked God out of our public school system. And I think God would say to us, ‘Hey I’ll be glad to protect your children, but you’ve gotta invite me back into your world first. I’m not gonna go where I’m not wanted. I am a gentleman.’”
David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) wrote an online column defending Huckabee and Fischer. Brody asserted, “Guess what folks? Huckabee and Fischer are not alone. There are millions of evangelicals who believe the same thing. This is not heartless. It’s based on the biblical principle of reaping and sowing. Not that these little children sowed anything but are our schools left unprotected because of the past actions of our nation when it comes to removing God from our public schools? The conversation is now all about banning guns but should the conversation really be about allowing God back into public schools?” Joseph Farrah, the editor of World Net Daily, and William J. Murray, the Head of the Religious Freedom Network, made similar statements blaming the shootings on the lack of religion in schools.
Former head of Focus on the Family James Dobson, citing statistics on the number of abortions in America and the acceptance of same sex marriage, said on his radio show, “Somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that's what's going on.” Operation Save America, an anti-abortion group that also opposes homosexuality, similarly claimed that “we are losing our kids because we are ignoring God's Law.”