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I'm glad I don't have to preach today

By Rev. Ex-Evangelist ~

Today is Sunday, December 16, 2012. The first Sunday since the horrific massacre of - at last count - of twenty children and seven teachers and staff at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut. We are all grieving and stunned at what happened. I've had to turn off the TV coverage because I am overwhelmed with the magnitude of it all.

While sitting this Sunday morning in my favorite coffee shop, sipping my Pumpkin Spice flavored, holiday brew, and reading the paper, it hit me that if I was still in the ministry my job this morning would be to spin the tragedy so that no one would question their faith. On the surface, my pastoral duty would be to offer comfort and solace to all who grieve. But the heart of my agenda would be to (1) get "God" off the hook for not preventing the carnage and (2) to short-circuit anyone who might be having doubts about church dogma, such as: God's direct and personal oversight, care, love of each person; God's ability to intervene and save the innocent (especially innocent children!)from harm; and how "The Lord" is always there for us in our time of need. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!

Unfortunately, these concepts are in conflict with the glaring fact that Big-Daddy-Sky-God decided to sit this one out! Thus, my years of expensive theological education would be called upon to slip in a big dose of cognitive dissonance so that no one will notice that their bold affirmations of faith and the realities of Sandy Hook don't match up!

I have two Facebook friends who are active ministers. One serves as a senior chaplain at a large military installation here in the US. He mentioned on his Facebook page this morning that his heart was heavy as he prepares to address the hundreds of service-members about this latest national tragedy. Another civilian, ministerial friend said the same thing. Their remarks made me think to myself, 'Boy, I would hate to be in their shoes.'

I know they spent most of Saturday night trying to craft a sermon that would be comforting, meaningful and relevant. What a chore! And like ten of thousands of other priests, preachers, rabbis and imams all over America, they will be administering their version of denial and sectarian, mental opium to the masses. I've been there; done that; I don't want to do it ever again.

It's a scary idea that someone like Gov. Huckabee, who obviously lives in a fantasy world of religiously inspired make-believe, was once considered a serious candidate for the presidency of The United StatesAs a humanist, and ex-clergyite, I know we can use our minds, reason and compassion to come up with practical ways to lessen the chance that a tragedy like this will ever happen again. Praying and endlessly asking God "Why?" are fruitless activities. The verbal placebos of faith and millions of prayers offered will do nothing to prevent another massacre.

"God" is not going to come down from heaven and fix our huge, national murder rate - which in the US - is directly linked to the tons of highly lethal, automatic weaponry that almost anyone - no matter what their mental state - can access. We are going to have to come together, use our best minds and research and find real solutions and put them into law.

Silly statements, such as by former Governor of Arkansas (and former Republican presidential candidate) Mike Huckabee, that the tragedy was due to American taking "God out of the schools" is an example of how religious faith can make a person incapable of thinking in terms of real actual problem-solving.

It's a scary idea that someone like Gov. Huckabee, who obviously lives in a fantasy world of religiously inspired make-believe, was once considered a serious candidate for the presidency of The United States and he still remains a influential force within The Republican Party; and is presented as a serious political analyst on The Fox News channel!

My fear is that after all the displays of piety and asking "God" to comfort the dead and the living, we will slide back into complacency and once again do nothing. I guess for many, talking about how "God" is going to save us is easier than trying to find ways to save ourselves!


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