The Religious Right's Shameful Exploitation of the Newtown Massacre
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 01:45:33 PM EST
It's commonplace for Religious Right leaders to blame the godlessness of Americans for hurricanes, tornadoes, the 911 attack, and the gay rights movement. And, as someone who regularly monitors and writes about the Religious Right's activities, I am seldom surprised by the events its leaders ascribe to godlessness. Nevertheless, even I was shocked by the comments of two nationally prominent conservative religious leaders in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school murders.

Two of the most shameful observations about the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which killed 26 people, including 20 children, came from Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor, Fox Television Channel news contributor, and host of a Saturday night Fox television program, and Joel Rosenberg, the best-selling author of apocalyptic novels.

On Friday, the day of the massacre, Huckabee, who often comes across as affable and occasionally sensible, responded to the shootings by saying that the incident was no surprise because we have "systematically removed God" from public schools.

"We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools," Huckabee said on Fox News. "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."

Huckabee was echoing a similar stance he took in late-July following the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shootings. At the time, Huckabee said that "We don't have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem. And since we've ordered god out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn't act so surprised... when all hell breaks loose."

Joel Rosenberg is not nearly as well-known a public figure as Mike Huckabee, but he is nevertheless a formidable figure on the Religious Right as an author of several best-selling apocalyptic novels and several non-fiction works on the Middle East.

His Flash Traffic post titled "Implosion Update: The Demons of Violence are on the Loose in America. But Why? And Where Do We Go From Here?" pointed out that "It's not just "the economy, stupid." We are, in many respects, in a moral and spiritual freefall in our country, and we are paying a terrible price."

Rosenberg maintained that "The demons of violence and lawlessness are the loose all across America ... . [and] the further we turn away from God in our nation -- the further we drive Him out of our society, our of our schools and courts, and out of our media and out of our homes, or the more we give mere lip service to religion, the more men are "holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power" (2 Timothy 3:5) -- the worse things are getting."

Rosenberg asked readers to "Consider the cultural war against Jesus and Christmas that has been waged just in the last few days," and he went on to cite several recent headlines:

  • Fox News headline: "Holiday message: Atheists dub Jesus a `myth' on Times Square billboard"
  • CNN column, "Have yourself a merry atheist Christmas"
  • AP article about the "War on Christmas"
  • Fox News story about a rapper singing about a "Gangbanger Jesus"
  • KTVA-TV (Alaska) story: "Atheists Wage War on Christmas in Anchorage: Anti-religion signs on People Mover buses"
  • Comedy Central's Jon Stewart wages war on Christmas and mocks those who thinks he's wrong

He added: "The Lord God Almighty is a gentleman. He won't force us to accept His great love and many blessings. If a nation tells Him to leave, He will leave. But what are we reaping as a result of a society that increasingly ignores God and hates or dismisses Jesus Christ? We are witnessing a horrifying explosion of murder. We are witnessing a gruesome crime wave unprecedented in American history. And there appears to be no end in sight. In recent years, we've seen brutal mass murders in high schools, on college campuses, and in small towns all across America (a recent FBI report says the murder rate soared 18.3% in small towns in America last year alone)."

Rosenberg cautioned that "there is a point of no return - a point at which God removes His hand of grace and mercy and turns to the judgment of America."

In a piece that runs for hundreds of words, Rosenberg never once mentions the word gun (he uses the word "gunman"  twice, and the phrase "gunned down" once). He never advocates for responsible or sensible gun control, never acknowledges the epidemic of guns in this country. Not once. Never ever.

We can no longer afford to stay silent. It is the moral imperative of our leaders -- secular and religious -- to respond to this latest tragedy as a call to action. And Huckabee, Rosenberg and their brethren, should be ashamed of their callous response to the pain of others.




Display:
are those which state that, because abortion is legal, we have no right to grieve over real, living children who are murdered. This is less than a step away from Westboro. I actually expect them to start massacring children to prove their point.

by Rey Mohammed on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 03:03:36 PM EST
There are many things we can say about the Christian right and antiabortion leaders in particular, but this kind of absurd hyperbole is not helpful, Rey Mohammed.  Please refrain.

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 04:50:41 PM EST
Parent


Rosenberg, Dobson, Huckabee and Fischer show there is absolutely no low to which they won't sink to deliver their political message. They think of God in their image, small, petty-minded, and vindictive. I would doubt the families of the victims find any comfort in their messages.

by khughes1963 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:16:33 PM EST

Back in 199 during the horror of Columbine, Flip Benham, head of Operation Save America (offshoot or something of Operation Rescue) claimed the actions of the young men were because of abortion. At the moment he said that, Benham was trying to close a clinic where murdered doctor Bart Slepian had practiced. Benham was one of hundreds of anti-abortion zealots who either openly celebrated Bart's death or gave po-faced pretenses at sorrow while blaming Bart for his own demise. It is the religious right that has repeated the mantra for nearly 20 years that murder of someone with whom you deeply disagree is entirely "justifiable". THAT is what people learn and take to heart. Add in "stand your ground" and other faux Biblical "eye for an eye" assertions, and you will see why those who have a violent reaction to someone or something seem to have no qualms at all about killing the objects of their ire or even strangers who represent something to them. Mass murderers have no need to care about others or the consequences of their own actions. They've been told their anger and opposition is enough. And they learned this from the craven and despicable stand of very public religious right leaders. Why wouldn't shooters believe they have the same right to kill? They have it on very good authority.

by Churchlady on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 11:47:55 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


How The Election of Trump Made My Life Easier
I might be one of a select few who didn't vote for Donald but would have to say Trump's election made my life easier...I......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
The Bakke Plot To "Infiltrate" Secular Institutions
Back in 2012-2014 I did a lot of writing and research on The Gathering, the yearly meeting of elite evangelical right philanthropists who collectively......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
The Term "Alt-Right" is All Right
There is a misguided effort underway to not use the term "alt-right."  The effort, currently led by the Center for American Progress, claims that......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
Getting the Low Down on Dominionism
A refresher on dominionism will probably come in handy over the next little while. -- FC I am pleased to report that the task......
By Frederick Clarkson (10 comments)
The New Kochs: Anthology of DeVos Support, Funding of School Privatization and Religious Right
This post from 2-14 will be a helpful resource in the days ahead. -- FC Mother Jones' January/February issue includes an article titled "Meet......
By Rachel Tabachnick (1 comment)
Strategy for Privatizing Public Schools Spelled out by Dick DeVos in 2002 Heritage Foundation Speech
This post about the long term strategy for privatizing the public schools takes on fresh importance in light of the nomination of Betsy DeVos......
By Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (18 comments)
Did God Engineer Trump's Win?
Political analysts have postulated a number of theories to explain the victory of Donald J. Trump in the presidential election: Hillary Clinton failed to......
By Rob Boston (5 comments)
Some thoughts for a Sunday post-election reflection:
Emancipation, Reconstruction, Redemption, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow The struggles of the Civil Rights Movement took us two steps forward Now the "Second......
By Chip Berlet (0 comments)
On The Ridiculous Charge Of Clinton Anti-Catholicism
Julian Assange has been busy lately trying to sabotage Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's run for the Presidency. As part of his vendetta, he has......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
From Russia Without Love
It was less than two years ago but it now seems like a lifetime ago that I wrote about how Russia appeared to be......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Northwest Arkansas, A Hotbed for Anti-Semitism
Three organizations in Northwest Arkansas are deeply interwoven into the most rabid Anti-Semitic teachings in the nation.  Gerald Smith, buried at the base of......
By wilkyjr (5 comments)
Joseph Cella is Back - Taking the Opposite Tack from Pope Francis
Joseph J. Cella has had a change of heart since he joined with those conservative Catholic activists who signed a declaration during the Republican......
By Frank Cocozzelli (7 comments)
Radcliffe Sucker Punched by Right-Wing Propagandists
The prestigious Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard College will host a panel on Monday, Oct 17, titled "Righting the Record: Conservatism and......
By Chip Berlet (2 comments)
Celebrating Banned Books Week
Banned Books Week is the venerable annual celebration of the right to read and the highlighting of efforts by cultural vigilantes of various sorts......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)

"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (4 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (0 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (4 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (0 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (4 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (1 comment)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (1 comment)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (2 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (11 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.