Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pray For What, Exactly?

Let us pray?

I have never understood why people flock to church in times like this to pray to a deity who by their own estimation and understanding exercised some sentient control over the occurrence of a horrific human tragedy, and is in a position to mitigate further such occurrences.

And I will never understand the media genuflection toward religious figures who callously insert themselves into the tragedy, with empty words that only make things worse.

Take the letter from Pope Benedict XVI, which was read at Catholic prayer vigils in Connecticut.
“I ask God our father to console all those who mourn and to sustain the entire community with the spiritual strength which triumphs over violence by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love,” said the Pope (emphasis is mine), a hard-nosed old Vatican bureaucrat whose historical record on ensuring the protection of children is as murky as his inclination to "forgive" the guilty is clear.

What really  is to "forgive" here? Where is "hope?" Where was this God when the murderer shot those children down one by one?

Brooding and seething, evidently -- according to reactions of some of our insufferable home-grown piety practitioners. Let's have a look at some of the atrocious (rather than merely sadly ironic as in the case of the Pope's), comments by the domestic deacons of the right-wing lunacy contingent, the holy gun lovers and the invincibly pathetic.

Take Bible-thumping former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who said the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School came about because this peculiarly vindictive God he claims to know was not welcome in public school classrooms.

"We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools," Huckabee said on Fox News (and where else?). "Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?"

Or how about the always quotable mental case and tea party darling Victoria Jackson, she late of the world's most overrated television show "Saturday Night Live?" Jackson told her legions of followers on Facebook that they should heed her friend, the tea party rabble-rouser Jim Riley:

"My friend Jim Riley posted: "Wasn't the Connecticut killer just doing what abortionists do every day? It's a wonder we don't have more 20 year old "dads" doing what women and doctors have been an accomplice to for years in America. When you forget the TEN COMMANDMENTS, people, THIS is what you get."

And then there came despicable right-wing Christian preacher Bryan Fischer, head of a group of hateful Bible-thumpers that calls itself the American Family Association. On his radio show today, Preacher Fischer allowed as how the God he claims to know allowed the massacre of the little children of Newtown because this God was peeved about the decline of school prayer.

Said Preacher Fischer (emphasis mine): "The question is going to come up, where was God? I though God cared about the little children. God protects the little children. Where was God when all this went down? Here's the bottom line, God is not going to go where he is not wanted. Now, we have spent since 1962 -- 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 do not want to pray to your before football games, we don't want to pray to you at graduations, we don't want anybody talking about you in a graduation speech...

"In 1962 we kicked prayer out of the schools. In 1963 we kicked God's word out of our schools. In 1980 we kicked the Ten Commandments out of our schools. 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 got to invite me back into your world first. I'm not going to go where I'm not wanted. ..."

And now, the pious having had their say about some strange and terrible deity they claim to know,  here come the photos of these murdered little children, that will break your heart.


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