Dear Mr. Huckabee,
If kicking God out of our public school system is what lead to this atrocity, as you claim, then why did a similar atrocity happen in an Amish school in 2006? The Amish can't exactly be accused of pushing God out of their lives, yet God still let this tragedy happen in their community. How do you explain this?
I really do wish the world was the way that you believe it is. I wish the world was predictable and systematic, and that we could be assured that if we just did the right things that horrible and tragic things wouldn't happen to us. I would love to have that kind of control. I would love to live in a world where my children's safety could be guaranteed if I just acknowledged God enough.
But the world is not this way, and to keep insisting that it is does a great deal of harm. Think about it. You are telling the world that there is a God who is apparently so insecure and irritable that if his name isn't mentioned in public schools he decides to teach us a lesson by allowing children to be slaughtered.
Mr. Huckabee, from what I have seen of you, you strike me as a good-hearted and very likable person. But you seem much more benevolent than the God you claim to believe in.
I understand that you are now claiming that you were misunderstood, and that what you really meant by your comments was that:
"... we have as a culture decided that we don't want to have values, that we don't want to say that some things are always right, some things are always wrong. When we divorce ourselves from a basic sense of what we would call, I would say, collective morality where we agree on certain principles to be true always, then we create a culture -- not that it specifically creates this crime. It doesn't. But it creates an atmosphere in which evil and violence are removed from our sense of responsibility."
This makes no sense either. We may not all agree on how to define marriage in our society, for example, but we all agree that murdering children is absolutely wrong. People do not commit atrocities like this because they have been influenced by a pluralistic culture that doesn't take strong enough moral positions. People do things like this because of some combination of evil, sickness, and perversity that is simply not rationally explainable.
Your explanations sound very similar to that of Job's friends, who simply couldn't understand a world where the righteous tragically suffer. As a Baptist preacher, I am sure you have read this book, and you'll recall that when God shows up, Job's friends are silenced and told that they are wrong. I really wish God would speak to you from a whirlwind so you would stop saying this stupid stuff and giving Christians a bad name. You're trying to help, I know, but it isn't working.
Sometimes really horrible things happen- things that should never happen- even to the very best of people. To pretend otherwise is not only to ignore empirical reality, it is to deny the heart of the Christian faith you claim to represent. Jesus didn't systematically push God out of his life. Jesus fully and completely welcomed the presence of God in his life, more so than any other human being ever, and he was tortured and murdered.
Evil doesn't just happen in God's apparent absence, as you seem to believe. The Jesus story shows us that horrible evil even happens to God's presence.
According to our faith, God raised Jesus from the dead. When children are murdered, our message that we have to offer the world (when it comes time to speak) is that God will refuse to let tragedy have the last word in their lives. We believe in a God of Easter who can ultimately wipe away all tears. The Jesus who welcomed children into his arms in this world will do so in a world without end.
Our faith doesn't allow us to explain tragedy; it allows us, through groans and tears, to hope in the midst of it.
So, Mr. Huckabee, please stop using tragedies like this as a platform for espousing your particular political vision of church-state relations. The problem isn't that our public culture isn't Christian enough; the problem is that your theology isn't Christian enough.