12/23/2012 09:35 am ET Updated Feb 20, 2013

God and gun violence

On December 14, 2012, twenty students and six adults were slain at the hands of Adam Lanza. This euphemism is misleading--if Adam Lanza had been forced to use his hands, the death toll would have been dramatically lower. Let me restate, twenty six people were killed when Adam Lanza wrapped his fingers around a gun and squeezed. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." But Lanza's guns, to which he had very easy access, made it a lot easier to kill a lot of people. People kill people and, with the aid of guns, a lot more people.

I have been shocked and dismayed to learn that neither guns nor people really killed those people--if you listen closely, you can hear in this tragedy the still small voice of God. You can hear not only God's voice; if you look closely and with the eyes of faith, you can see the hand of God in this tragedy.

Brian Fischer, on his radio program on American Family Radio, blamed the Sandyhook shooting on lack of prayer in public schools. He proclaimed:

"You know the question's gonna come up, where was God? I thought God cared about the little children, God protected the little children. Where was God when all this went down? And here's the bottom line: God is not gonna go where he's not wanted. Now we have spent, since 1962, this, we're 50 years into this now, we have spent 50 years telling God to get lost. Telling God, we do not want you in our schools, we don't want to pray to you in our schools, we don't want to pray to you before football games, we don't want to pray to you at graduation, we don't want anyone talking about you in a graduation speech."

And he's not done yet. He goes on:

"We've kicked God out of our public school system. And I think God would say to us, 'Hey I'll be glad to protect your children, but you've gotta invite me back into your world first. I'm not gonna go where I'm not wanted. I am a gentleman.'"

Evidently God could have stopped the senseless death of twenty innocent schoolchildren but (a) they weren't really all that innocent and (b) God didn't want to.

One formerly elected official agrees with this theological analysis of the tragedy. On Fox News, Mike Huckabee, who, according to his website, stands at the corner of conservatism and common sense, said:

"We ask why there's violence in the schools, but we've systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage? Because we've made it a place where we do not want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability. That we're not going to have to be accountable to the police, if they catch us, but we stand one day before a holy God in judgment."

Joel Rosenberg, author of the NY Times best-selling, Inside the Revolution, concurs with Huckabee and Fischer. While he offers words of solace, he writes of God's complicity in the event:

"The answer is as painful as it is simple: the further we turn away from God in our nation -- the further we drive Him out of our society, out 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."

He notes that God is not averse to exercising his judgment. Of God's judgment of the godless city Nineveh, the Bible says: "Woe to the bloody city....many slain, a mass of corpses, and countless dead bodies -- they stumble over the dead bodies....your shepherds are sleeping." (Nahum 3:1, 3, 18) And then he warns, this may be our Ninevah moment. If we don't repent, God will turn his hand of judgment against us. Sandyhook was simply a downpayment.

James Dobson, he of Focus on the Family Fame, does not attribute Sandyhook to lack of prayer in schools. The real causes of God's anger, he claims, are abortion and gay marriage. Hear Reverend Dobson:

"I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn't exist, or he's irrelevant to me, and we have killed fifty-four million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences too. And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that's what's going on."

Huckabee concurred with Dobson's explanation of the horrific evil: "Yep, gay marriage, that's it. "

Dobson and Huckabee are amateurs compared to the Westboro Baptist Church. While they all blame the mass shooting on Connecticut's support for same-sex marriage, only Westboro Baptist made plans to picket one of the funerals, and "sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment."

Evidently there is a groundswell of support for attributing the mass murder to divine judgment. Tennessee pastor Sam Morris condemned public schools because they teach "junk about evolution" and "how to be a homo." He offered practical advice as well: "No one's even thought about the fact that these shootings only happened at places where guns are banned."

These self-proclaimed followers of Jesus, he who blessed peacemakers, take more delight in judgment than in grace. They take very literally the claim that Jesus came not to bring peace but to bring a sword. Or, in Today's RevvedUp Version, Jesus came not to bring peace but to bring a constitutionally protected AK-47.

I'm appalled at these people who speak so glibly for God. If I were to give in to sarcasm, I'd think divine judgment might be heading our way because of self-proclaimed leaders' self-righteousness ("Thank God I'm not like other people, I pray, I tithe, I fast."), pride (in alleging to know the mind of God) and stomach for violence (mistaken for divine justice). But I won't.