Whenever school shootings make the news, there’s always someone who claims the reason they happened is that we kicked God out of our schools.
It happens every time.
Just last week, on Valentine’s Day, of all days, a gunman opened fire in a Parkland, Florida high school, killing a total of 17.
It took almost no time for some overly-religious person, surely with the best of intentions, to issue a little passive-aggressive dig at our society.
The line of reasoning is that when we as a nation removed prayer from schools, we essentially kicked God out of the classroom.
Therefore, they seem to be suggesting, we shouldn’t be surprised that a shooting would happen in a school since we’ve pretty much barred the door to the Almighty. There’s something in their tone that’s almost celebratory about it…in a kind of “I told you so” way when they never, in fact, said anything.
Are we really supposed to believe that?
Here’s a portion of what I said last week:
If you think that the removal of a forced prayer is the equivalent of kicking God out of school, then your God is entirely too weak and limited.
The God I worship is all-powerful and all-seeing. He’s everywhere, whether you spend every waking moment of your life in a long, extended prayer or not.
I believe God was in that school with those victims and the survivors, just as I believe He’s everywhere else, too.
When I was in school, even after there was no group prayer, I still managed to pray at school once in a while. I prayed when I faced a struggle or when I learned someone close to me was going through a rough time.
Fortunately, we never had a shooting at any school I attended, but you can bet that if I’d ever been through something like that, I’d have prayed then, too.
And because I’m a Christian, I believe God would have heard me just fine, thank you.
But if you’re going to subscribe to the absurd point of view that “kicking God out” of schools is what causes school shootings, perhaps you can explain Southerland Springs. It’s the small town in Texas where a gunman opened fire on November 5, 2017, killing 26 people inside a church.
And while you’re at it, maybe you can explain Antioch, Tennessee, where, on September 24, 2017, a gunman killed one and injured several others at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ.
Then, since I live in Charleston, I’d really love to hear you explain who kicked God out of Mother Emanuel AME Church on the night of June 17, 2015, when a gunman sat through a Bible study, then opened fire, killing nine of the church’s members, including its lead pastor.
Sorry, that argument makes absolutely no sense.
No one said figuring out a solution to the problem would be easy, and there’s no single cause.
But you can’t kick God out of a place just because you don’t want to hear a prayer. God’s a lot more powerful than that.
And I don’t believe he has a thing to do with school shootings.