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Austin Cline

Mike Huckabee Blames School Shootings on Secularism

By December 17, 2012

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The most asinine and offensive reactions to the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, have come from conservative Republicans. Is anyone surprised? And it's not merely fringe elements of the Republican Party, but mainstream, leading conservatives - like for example Mike Huckabee, who blames the murders of little children on secularism.

Mike Huckabee, 2012
Mike Huckabee, 2012
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty

Not only is Mike Huckabee's reaction not surprising, it isn't even unique. Lots of other conservatives and Republican have historically blamed violence on secularism and atheism. This reaction is predictable because it's so common, but it takes on new levels of offensiveness when it's expressed immediately in the wake of such a horrific tragedy like that which occurred in Newtown.

Conservative Christians like Mike Huckabee never cite any actual evidence that would demonstrate any sort of link between secularism and violence. Then again, it's uncommon for them to cite hard evidence for any of their claims. They don't live in a world where evidence matters; they live in a world of faith and people are expected to believe their claims simply on faith.

HUCKABEE: Ultimately, you can take away every gun in America and somebody will use a bomb. When somebody has an intent to do incredible damage, they're going to find a way to do it... People will want to pass new laws, but unless you change people's hearts, they're our transition to the pastor side. This is a heart issue, it's not something, laws don't change this kind of thing.

CAVUTO: You know, invariably, people ask after tragedies like this, "How could God let this happen?"

HUCKABEE: Well, you know, it's an interesting thing. We ask why there is 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?

Because we've made it a place where we don't want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability -- that we're not just going to have be accountable to the police if they catch us, but one day we stand before, you know, a holy God in judgment. If we don't believe that, then we don't fear that.

And so I sometimes, when people say, why did God let it happen. You know, God wasn't armed. He didn't go to the school. But God will be there in the form of a lot people with hugs and with therapy and a whole lot of ways in which I think he will be involved in the aftermath. Maybe we ought to let him in on the front end and we wouldn't have to call him to show up when it's all said and done at the back end.

Source: Media Matters

Of course, no one has "removed God from our schools." All that's happened is that schools aren't allowed to promote any one religion -- including Mike Huckabee's religion. So what his real complaint is that schools are "a place of carnage" because government employees aren't allowed to promote Huckabee's religious beliefs to other people's children. Put so starkly, how can anyone not see just how asinine his position is?

But that's not all he has to say. He goes on to repeat a common attack made by conservative Christians against atheists: that we want to avoid accountability for our actions. It's a scurrilous lie and arguably defamatory, but I've already pointed out that Mike Huckabee doesn't care much about whether his statements are rooted in evidence from the real world.

In some ways, his very first comments above may be the most important, but I fear that many critics will miss that. Look at them again: he's saying that the answer to problems like this isn't to change or improve the law, but to change and improve people's hearts. He's denying that there could possibly be any sort of structural or systemic problem (like services for people suffering from mental illness or regulations for guns). He's basically arguing that social problems are a product of sin and thus can only be solved on a personal level.

This is a standard, basic premise from which conservative evangelicals commonly operate. It informs and even determines their positions on a wide variety of political, social, and economic issues. It is, for example, why they typically oppose any kind of affirmative action: if there is any sort of problem with racial disparities in an organization, then the solution is to address individual racism because there can't possibly be a systemic or structural problem.

Very often, this thinking is taken in the reverse direction as well: if there are no overtly racist policies and if the people are not overtly racist, then the outcomes can't really be racist (or sexist, or any other "ist") either. This is something you should watch carefully for -- you'll probably find evidence of it in more places than might expect.

Comments
December 17, 2012 at 6:45 pm
(1) Deucalion says:

Aaaaand here it goes:
Mike Huckabee is definetly a perfect example of a sub-human knuckle dragger. How anyone could speak or act with such disregard for the victims and families of the victims, and use this tragedy as a soapbox to stand up and enforce thier own personal religious agenda… It’s sickening, just disgraceful, and I for one would happily vote Huckabee out of the human race and let happen what may once his rights are no more.
“that we’re not just going to have be accountable to the police if they catch us, but one day we stand before, you know, a holy God in judgment. If we don’t believe that, then we don’t fear that. ”
Right here, this is the simplest form of control that has ever existed, threat of force and violence, in this case for eternity at the command of a somehow “all-loving” god. Nothing new, hells have existed in almost every religion with few exceptions. Some people, alas, are unafraid of pain and death, and so these all powerful boogeymen are loosed upon our minds to induce even greater fear for disobedience or independent thought.
He claims we’ve “Removed god from our schools” but I wonder how he would feel if, say, the schools introduced Odin, Zeus, Krishna, or any of the other gods he disagrees with. Because, of course, he means HIS god, not anyone else’s, and certainly not a god that might offend him with such messages like peace, love, charity, and brotherhood (all things Christianity SAYS it teaches but, given the behaviour of the followers of said, leaves one wondering if they arent actually evil pots calling good kettles black.)
In conclusion: Huckabee should really think before he speaks, which would likely make him the first “true christian” to do so in a long, long time.

December 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm
(2) Tom says:

Mike Huckabee has a point. If our society followed the biblical commandment “thou shalt not kill,” the recent school shooting spree wouldn’t have occurred. Because of secular ideas like the misinterpretation of the second ammendment, gratuitous gun shootings happen every day in the United States.

December 18, 2012 at 7:52 pm
(3) Austin Cline says:

Mike Huckabee has a point. If our society followed the biblical commandment “thou shalt not kill,” the recent school shooting spree wouldn’t have occurred.

So, a theocracy would be preferable?

Because of secular ideas like the misinterpretation of the second ammendment

Should the second amendment be interpreted in a religious manner?

gratuitous gun shootings happen every day in the United States.

So, gratuitous gun violence is a secular problem, even though more secular nations have less gun violence?

December 18, 2012 at 10:03 pm
(4) TJOzzie says:

I guess Mr. Huckabee didn’t really mean the oath he took to defend the Constitution when he became a Governor.

Beyond that, how does he explain the killings that happen in religious schools? I did a quick check, and found four since 2001. Then there was the Sikh Temple shooting earlier this year.

Sorry. Those pesky “facts” again.

December 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm
(5) Cousin Ricky says:

@Tom – The rule not to murder is universal. In case you haven’t noticed, murdering people is still illegal in Connecticut. Your religion shouldn’t get any special credit for issuing this commandment.

December 19, 2012 at 3:22 pm
(6) Anabanana says:

Well I have one thing to say and that’s this. Mike Huckabee is right. It blows me away that people want to pretend that there lives and and all there accomplishments are there own but as soon as something goes wrong there pride leads them to blame a higher power because in there eyes there to good to make there own mistakes. Our society needs to give God the glory and the honor in good times and bad. Our society has successfully attempted to remove God from gov., school, ect. Then they wanna ask why he could let something so terrible happen. My response is this. He didn’t let it happen we did when are arrogance told him we don’t need his help.

December 19, 2012 at 8:16 pm
(7) Austin Cline says:

Well I have one thing to say and that’s this. Mike Huckabee is right.

Can you show how?

It blows me away that people want to pretend that there lives and and all there accomplishments are there own

So, you don’t take credit for anything you do?

Our society needs to give God the glory and the honor in good times and bad.

So, God should be given the glory for the murder of children?

Our society has successfully attempted to remove God from gov., school, ect.

So, you believe that the government should endorse and promote your religion?

Then they wanna ask why he could let something so terrible happen. My response is this. He didn’t let it happen we did when are arrogance told him we don’t need his help.

So, why are there massacres at religious schools and institutions?

December 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm
(8) GnosticAtheist says:

Parochial schools have lower test scores, a higher crime rate, a higher mental illness rate, a higher drug abuse rate, a higher teen pregnancy rate, and a higher abortion rate than public schools. This, even though parochial schools are full of god. It must be from too much god. All of the school shooters have been Christian. They may also have all been on prescription psychiatric drugs. Christians have the perfect moral example of a god of infinite violence in hell and a mass murderer of the human race (flood). What could be as good as that? Huckabee talks as though the public school is the only place that people can learn about the Christian infinite torturer devil god.

December 22, 2012 at 10:24 am
(9) Gerald Vanderhoff says:

I wish religious types would make up their minds: Is their god the omnipotent creator of everything, or can it be thrown out of a place, like a drunk at closing time?

December 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm
(10) David says:

I can’t remember who said it ( Gandhi I think, Austin do you know ?)
” I like Jesus…it’s his fan club that scares me ”
Until the republicans remove the evangelist influence they will remain
a party of out of touch,elitist,racist,bigoted extremists.
A democracy NEEDS at least two viable political parties,
right now you only have one.
David

December 29, 2012 at 10:46 am
(11) Christopher says:

So, as Huckabee says, it was the absence of god that allowed the school shooting to happen. Makes perfect sense. Those 20 evil little six year old demon bastards were probably all satanic spawn of single, crack addicted mothers, destined to bring out the apocalypse through their heathenistic behavior. And it’s a good thing those 6 adults who were “indoctrinating them” ( like we really believe they were responsible teachers) were killed as well. I’m sure none of them, or the children, or the parents of those children, or any of their other family members, attended church or believed in god. They were asking for it by being in such as godless place as a public school. But don’t worry- god is there now: showing himself to be caring and loving through hugs and therapists. I’m sure that will be enough to relief the anguish and heartache the entire community is feeling. Isn’t god wonderful!?

January 1, 2013 at 11:28 am
(12) Barry says:

There’s a word to describe people who only stop themselves from doing something to harm others out of fear of reprisal, and it’s not a very complimentary one. In a way I suppose we should be glad that Huckabee believes in his special little book, Otherwise it sounds like he’d be running through the streets naked while masturbating vigorously and shooting his AK-47 at anyone who happens to cross his path.

January 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm
(13) nashka says:

Mike Huckabee is tainted with the disease called religion.

January 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm
(14) Grandpa In The East says:

Funny how “Glory” has so little use outside of war and religion.

Have another banana, ana.

Grandpa

June 15, 2013 at 7:01 pm
(15) Jeanne says:

I also heard similar remarks from professional crackpot, Pat Robertson.

Another excuse is “free will”. According to Christians, god HAS to allow such things because he gives us free will. So, the all-powerful creator of the universe HAS to do something a certain way? God HAS to allow one person to murder 20 children and 6 adults? If he had no other choice, then he is not all-powerful. If he had the choice and allowed those children to be murdered, then he can in no way be considered good.

Then, again, this is the same god that had 42 children torn to pieces for the horrible crime of being children and making fun of a man’s bald head.

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