Hallelujah, Mike Huckabee, Hallelujah
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Dec 16, 2014 at 11:11:31 PM EST
Fox News personality Mike Huckabee had a defining moment in the wake of the Newtown massacre. One that as we enter the 2016 presidential season, we should not forget. Its too bad that the original of the video at the end of this post is no longer available, but I found another. In any case, I think the rest of this re-post says what needs to be said. -- FC

When I was considering writing this post, at first I thought that too much had already been said about Mike Huckabee's comments on the Newtown massacre. But I now think that maybe there has been nowhere near enough.  

The horror affected most of us profoundly and all of us differently. Many of us, on reflection, encountered eternal questions about the meaning of life and death, and particularly, how such evil can happen.

The religious among us come from  many different traditions. But even the most orthodox among us know that whatever revelations God (or gods) may have provided us; and whatever our understanding of ancient texts may be, mysteries remain.  Many of us are not part of a religious tradition.  And those of us who look to science for answers may find that nothing we know, or think we know, explains everything. Especially about Newtown.  

And then there was Huckabee.

The Fox News pundit not only sought to blame the Newtown massacre on how we navigate matters of religion in the public schools, but to head off future school shootings, he suggested that people who think like him be deployed to hector school children about learning to fear "a holy God in judgment."  

Bill Berkowitz reported:

"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 forgets, or knows and does not care, that we are a nation of individuals and of many faiths. And that was surely reflected in the elementary classrooms of Sandy Hook.

Our country has wisely taken the step that we no longer use government employees as de facto priests and religious instructors in the public schools. Our teachers are there for broader and different educational purposes. The kind of omniscient God in the Christian tradition, the Creator of all things, can't be removed from anywhere, let alone the heads and hearts of believers. And surely such a God does not require that we hire government employees to hector our children about Huckabee's notion of his eternal wrath. Good grief.

Let's be clear about this. We don't need Christians leading non-Christians and non-believers in Christian prayers. And we need not insult the varieties of orthodox Christian with watered down ecumenical or interfaith prayers that mean nothing to them. Nor do we need anyone to teach the Word According to Huckabee as a condition of employment. (But if we did, what would the criteria be and who would get to decide?)  

It is not easy navigating a religiously plural society. And there have always been Huckabees around who stand in opposition. But pluralism is what we have and I wish we would do a better job in all parts of our society to develop the knowledge and skill set that goes with it.

OK. For those of you who have been wondering about the title of this post, your patience is about to be rewarded.

I read that the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah" was intended to be sung as "melancholic, fragile, uplifting [or] joyous" depending on what the performer wanted it to be.  It is a remarkable song of spiritual significance for many, and it is often sung with great reverence.

And so it was fitting that on the Monday after the mass murder in Newtown, the cast of the NBC TV singing show The Voice offered a moving tribute before the entertainment began.  They sang "Hallelujah", and each held a sign with the name and age of a victim.  One of the young singers later said that rehearsal was difficult because they were all breaking down in tears.  

It takes time and effort to get things right. The mournful anthem. Respect for religious and non-religious differences. (It has taken us centuries to get to where we are, and we are still working on it.) It will take time and effort for us to reduce the scale and number of events that give horrific new meanings to the names of towns like Aurora, Columbine and Newtown. And there will be more tears along the way.

But we we are not without options as the new national conversation about gun control and school safety shows.  And among the things we can do is ask Mike Huckabee to renounce cheap demagoguery; and we can also learn how to better answer claims like his.  

Hallelujah.




Display:
and wonderful post Fred. Thanks for the info re Leonard Cohen. Well done.

by Bill Berkowitz on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 11:08:32 AM EST
I should probably also have mentioned that Cohen mightily struggled writing "Hallelujah" and at one point found himself banging his head on a hotel room floor.  Or so the story goes. (There is a pretty good Wikipedia article about the song.)  

I believe that episode of The Voice was the top-rated show that night, giving the Newtown tribute version of Hallelujah what must have been by far the largest audience ever for a performance of Hallelujah -- and one of lasting meaning for many.  

 

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 12:37:47 PM EST
Parent



For a while, it was looking like Huckabee was going to be one of the "good ones". But long ago he sort of retrenched into this rather extremist posturing that plays to the "values voters".

by razajac on Mon Dec 22, 2014 at 03:34:34 AM EST

A very sad subject that even now started to bring me to tears. Senseless and complex and coming from the darkest depths of the human psyche it comes. Guns just make it easier for the evil to do their dirty work. Only species with such complex brains as we have can do such things outside the need for survival.

I am all for people being armed. However they must prove yearly that for each weapon they have the same licensing as any police officer. Instead you can buy a gun first then maybe learn how to shoot it. Totally backwards. Also swords, nunchuckas, pepper box pistols etc. We are a gun society with little training in them. And even so not that many have guns or shoot them here. So we have a gun enthusiast society.

by Nightgaunt on Mon Dec 22, 2014 at 06:20:31 PM EST


Huckabee's comments are just offensive as well as demagogic. I'm not sure that I want to know the answer about how low he and his fellow pols can go with their demagoguery.

by khughes1963 on Sat Dec 27, 2014 at 02:33:41 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


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 (1 comment)
Birthers, Birchers and Lee Harvey Oswald
"It would be more accurate to say that Oswald was his own agent, that he was moved to act by dint of his own......
By wilkyjr (5 comments)
Are Civil Rights and Religious Liberty Mutually Exclusive?
The question posed in the title might seem merely rhetorical:  but its not.  All sides, not to mention the media, often frame contemporary controversies......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
The Final Repudiation Of Phyllis Schlafly
Monday night around 9:40 I received an email with a curious subject line. "The Greatest American Woman, R.I.P.," it read. "Who could that be?"......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Is This the Dawning of the Age of Vulgar Demagoguery?
Before the end of GOP primaries, I wrote about how Catholic neo-conservatives couldn't bring themselves to support Donald Trump. Even now that he is......
By Frank Cocozzelli (5 comments)
Getting the Low Down on Dominionism
I am pleased to report that the task of getting the low down on dominionism may be becoming easier for scholars, journalists and activists.......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Dominionism Hiding in Plain Sight
Dominionism has been an evolving movement for a half century. Fed by two main streams, it has becoming a roaring current, tearing through American......
By Frederick Clarkson (9 comments)
Chancy Combo: Why The Founders Were Not Fans Of Preacher-Politicians
Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump has vowed to repeal a federal law that bars houses of worship (and other tax-exempt non-profits) from endorsing......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Beware The Gender Unicorn: Franklin Graham Takes Aim At The Transgender Community
Part of my job involves monitoring the activities of Religious Right groups, which means every day my email box receives messages from groups like......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
The Politics of Fear
Joseph Ellsworth McWilliams was born on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma.  He moved to New York City and became a Communist.  Later on he......
By wilkyjr (3 comments)
Persecution-Free Park: Religious Freedom Still Not Under Attack In America
I just got back from a week-long vacation with my wife and son. We were in Acadia National Park in Maine.On our second day......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Mike Pence and The Roots of the Right-Wing "Political Correctness" Conspiracy Theory
The term "Political Correctness" was hijacked by right-wing ideologues in the late 1980s to trivialize and disparage concern for basic human rights for people......
By Chip Berlet (4 comments)
Mike Pence in 2006 spearheaded a mean-spirited plan to deport all undocumented immigrants
Many of us know Indiana Governor Mike Pence as a nasty homophobe with a carefully-crafted respectable demeanor. But did you know that In 2006,......
By Chip Berlet (5 comments)
What's Past is Prologue: Dominionism is Still Rising
For a half century, a theocratic political movement has been rising in the U.S.  Like any large, successful movement in history, it has a......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
For Salon.com readers - On Donald Trump and William S. Lind
For readers clicking on the first link in Paul Rosenberg's Salon.com interview with Bruce Wilson, here is a link to my recent report (first......
By Bruce Wilson (3 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 (1 comment)
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 (4 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 (1 comment)
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 (2 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 (2 comments)
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 (3 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 (10 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)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (10 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (2 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.