I am a Christian.
I am a pastor.
I am a father.
As all three of these things, I apologize to the world (and to the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting), for Mike Huckabee and James Dobson.
This week these self-appointed representatives of American Christianity have done what they seem bent on doing and content to do in times of tragedy; they have stood on top of someone else’s pain and grief while preaching a message of dreadfully misplaced anger, fear-infused hatred, and horribly dangerous theology.
During a time when most people (both religious and non-religious), have rallied around terribly hurting people to express heartfelt condolences and great anguish; when they’ve sought ways to somehow bring hope and healing to a devastated nation, Huckabee and Dobson have chosen instead to blame the victims.
It’s your fault.
God is ticked-off at you.
Apparently, having a mentally unstable young man, whose childhood seems filled with dysfunction and oddness brutally murder his mother, grab an arsenal of her own weapons, break his way into an elementary school and mindlessly butcher classrooms full of first-graders and those caring for them— well this is all God’s way of protesting abortion and gay marriage and lack of prayer in schools.
God (according to Huckabee and Dobson), has been excluded by America, is deeply offended, and so He allowed the carnage of last Friday to unfold to prove a point.
So let’s try and wrap our minds around this. According to these supposed religious experts:
God, the all-knowing , all-powerful, Creator of all things is…
… one, able to be “kept out of schools” by rules about verbal prayer and front lawn Nativity scenes. He is that neutered of power and that insecure and benign, that He needs our consent to enter a building, like a door to door salesman or a visiting aunt.
… two, so upset by gay marriage and abortion that instead of perpetrating acts directly against those entities (surely the easier and clearer way of Him expressing this to a nation), instead creates random deadly hurricanes and mows down rooms of school kids, expecting His people in the middle of it all to somehow connect the dots between such disparate things. (Not only is God pissed off, but He wants to confuse us too as He lets us know).
… three, so thin-skinned, that He’s willing to destroy entire nations because some people in those nations disobey Him or do things that He doesn’t approve of. He’s a grudge-holder of “Biblical” proportions, punishing all for the sins of a few.
The thoughts seemingly never occurred to them:
That God gives people free will and that free will, enables some to make catastrophic choices, such as the one a young man-made last Friday. Some things (as incomprehensible as they are) are exactly what they are; not veiled signs of something else needing interpretation by religious experts.
That God is not in the “nation” business, but the people business; that Jesus came to create a People; a new community defined not by a border or government or continent, but by faith in Him. There is only one nation in the eyes of God, and He builds and disciplines it one person at a time.
That God is made of Grace, and that Jesus tells us that because of this, He comes with a relentless, pursuing, extravagant love, with a heart for the lost, broken, and wayward. His very mission is redemption.
It would take me months and months, and millions of words to adequately illustrate the lack of sensitivity, the perverting of Scripture, and the overall ignorance Huckabee and Dobson and others exhibit when using horror like the senseless disaster in Newtown to somehow give ammo to their agenda and credence to their cause.
For now, let me just say to every victim, every grieving family member, every frightened classmate, every terrified parent, every scarred first-responder, and every questioning, hurting, hopeless person across this nation seeking healing comfort from religious leaders and finding only contempt:
I’m so very sorry.