“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live”.
— Deuteronomy 30:19
— John 11:35
When we lost our first son, there were many kind people–desperate to “fix us”–who said what amounted to well-meaning but altogether stupid shit. “It’s God’s will.” “Everything has a reason.” “God wanted your son to be with him.” …all platitudes that are severely damaging and not at all helpful.
I flatly consider politicians to be substantially less than well-meaning people. But the responses to the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, CT by a very un-presidential Huckabee and President Obama gave us examples of what is grossly inappropriate and appropriate.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee did his family and state a huge disservice when he offered his public response to the murder of innocent children and adults, stating they somehow deserved this because “we have systematically removed god from our schools” (Read Article Here). What a prick.
Both men are self-professed Christians. One harkens back to the Jewish scriptures where an Abrahamic god endorses the death of anyone who doesn’t obey him. The other a Christian god who weeps when those near to him suffer loss. By Huckabee’s example, we’re supposed to be “one nation under a Christian god or die.” By Obama’s example, we have suffered another senseless loss.
Everyone will have to come to their own rationalization in grieving for the losses of 20 more children and 7 more adults in yet another tragedy by still another shooter. People who take advantage of others loss to push their own spiritual or political perspective do nothing to contribute to their healing. Nothing. They have only given approval of the violence.
As Obama recapped in his weekly Saturday address, our appropriate response toward those who’ve suffered this loss is to “…remind them that we are there for them; that we are praying for them; and that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their own memories, but also in their community, and their country” (read here).
The people who most deeply contributed to our healing were those who sat with us, cried and protected our space to mourn in our own way. In the aftermath of this awful event, we all need a country free to feel our loss without the weight of religious blame.