This is difficult to write about, but even harder to ignore, because the evil that manifested this past Friday in Newtown, Connecticut has gripped the attention of our nation. All other news stories seem to fade into the background as the information from this fresh tragedy unfolds.
Early last Friday morning Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother Nancy in their home. He then took three of her guns and drove her car to Sandy Hook Elementary School where he shot and killed twenty students and six adults before turning one of the weapons on himself.
This murderous act is made more profoundly senseless when one considers Adam did not leave a note of explanation, and according to witnesses, did not utter a word as he walked into the school and opened fire. At present, his motives are a mystery. In the aftermath we try and understand and we ask ourselves why? The answer to such a question will not alleviate our sense of loss and grief. Knowledge is a sorry comforter.
A relative said Adam was “obviously not well.” That seems to be an understatement in the wake of the death and destruction he dealt out last Friday. This leads us to another question, why is it we seem to have no shortage of suicidal psychos bent on taking as many people with them as they can get in their sights?
Last Friday evening Neil Cavuto of Fox News interviewed former Arkansas governor and ordained minister Mike Huckabee about the shootings in Newtown. Cavuto said a tragedy like this one causes some to ask, “How could God let this happen?” Huckabee replied, “We ask why there’s violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools have become a place of carnage?” That was a bad answer.
The deadliest school massacre in the history of the United States occurred on, May 18, 1927. For the previous year farmer and school board treasurer of the Bath School District, Michigan, Andrew Kehoe had deposited hundreds of pounds of pyrotol, an explosive incendiary, and dynamite in the basement of the Bath Consolidated School. On that morning, he beat his wife Nellie to death and firebombed his farm buildings. A detonator ignited the dynamite and pyrotol in the basement and the north wing of the school exploded. A similar bomb in the south wing of the school failed to detonate. Arriving at the school Kehoe called the school superintendent over and detonated a bomb inside his vehicle piled high with scrap metal. In all fifty-eight people were injured and forty-five were killed, including thirty-eight school children ages 7-11.
Since most believers think the systematic removal of God from our schools began in 1963 with the Supreme Court of the United States ruling in Abington School District v. Schempp, when the Lord’s Prayer and Bible reading were supposedly removed from the public schools, I guess God was still there in 1927. That is using Huckabee’s logic.
First, the SCOTUS ruling in 1963 prevents an agent of the state (i.e., a school teacher) from leading school children in Bible reading and prayer. There is nothing in the United States Constitution or any judicial ruling that prevents a teacher or student from bringing a Bible to school to read or praying during their free time, or saying grace over their meals, etcetera. It is silly to think we can banish God from anywhere.
Second, God has permitted mankind to exercise their free will to do good or evil since Adam and Eve, and when Cain killed Abel. Every human is created in the image of God, but that image is marred by our inherited sin nature. Ergo, every individual is capable of great evil and great good. God is not responsible for the choices we make, we are. And we will give an account for our actions, because His “eyes are in every place, watching the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3).”
Finally, Gail Hoxie of Winsted, Connecticut summed it up when she commented on those children who died. She wrote, “There is that consolation that they are on their way to a beautiful place without pain and with joy and light.” I don’t think Adam Lanza is headed for the same destination, because God was watching.