Fellow Christians… it is time to stop using the “don’t be surprised when tragedies like this happen because God isn’t allowed in schools” line.
It may sound like a witty remark to make at the time but in no way is this attitude or perception even remotely Christ-like. Are we so small-minded to think that just because government schools can’t show a preference for a particular faith that God has somehow been “systematically” removed from the schools? That certainly isn’t the God I know. The God I know is so much bigger and greater than anything on this planet that no human policy could ever “keep him out”.
God was not only in Sandy Hook, but God was and is in every school. Public, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, schools in North America, schools in Africa, schools in Europe, and yes, schools run by the Taliban. God is everywhere. God loves everyone. He can never be “removed”.
If you claim to be Christian but have those kind of sentiments – how do you explain the shooting on that Amish school in 2006? Wasn’t God extremely present in that school? How do you explain the fact that several victims of Sandy Hook were Christian and came from active church-going God-loving families? God wasn’t “systematically removed” from schools. Let’s not kid ourselves by thinking we have that kind of power.
But besides that… having the “don’t be surprised when tragedies like this happen because God isn’t allowed in schools” attitude is un-Christian because, well, that’s just so NOT what Jesus would say. If the gospel has revealed anything about Jesus it is that he was the most loving and NON-self-righteous being in the entire cosmos. Jesus would have rushed to the victims side and asked “My heart breaks with yours! What can I do!?” not exclaim “See what happens when you don’t invite me over?”
Furthermore, I don’t remember a single story about Jesus’ life where he was concerned about changing the policies of the secular Roman government and education institutions. As far as I recall he spent the great majority of his ministry demonstrating unbridled love to the sick, poor, and social outcasts. He was far more concerned about restoring humankind’s relationship with God than making sure the Roman government and religiously pious all agreed with him.
The bottom line is this… God doesn’t “allow” these things to happen. God gave us a free choice – and free choice involves good, not-so-good, and downright evil options. When evil entered the world, the world became broken, justice became broken. And because justice is broken, innocent people tragically pay the price for other people’s evil actions. It will be like this for as long as this world exists. It is awful, it is unfair, and it absolutely breaks God’s heart. But amidst such terrible pain, he is still with us. He will never leave us.
So I beg you, if you claim to be a Christian, start being Christ-like. Lose the smug “Tsk tsk. Isn’t it awful what happens when God isn’t ‘allowed’ in schools, and NOW they hold prayer vigils?” attitude and start extending actions and feelings of nothing less than raw compassion and love. Stop wasting energy trying to convince secular governments and schools that they need to “let God back in” and start spending time actually outside of our churches talking and doing things for people who need love. We are not supposed to be concerned with kingdoms on earth. We are here to show love and compassion. It’s what Jesus would do.
PS – Mike Huckabee I’m talking to you