There’s never so much evil that religious leaders can’t add a little more.

Despite protestations from some on my facebook wall, here we are, the day after a travesty, and the discussion about gun rights and whether to put state-endorsed prayer into public schools lives is still going strong.  Who’d have thunk it?

Anyway, within a couple hours of yesterday’s travesty, several religious leaders saw a mechanism not to display their compassion, but to push their political ideals. The message was all the same: if we had state-mandated Christian prayer, this wouldn’t have happened.

First, Eric Hovind.

Are you happy now that the shooter grew up in a school without God? #thinkAboutit

— Eric Hovind (@erichovind) December 14, 2012

Then was the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer.

And then Mike Huckabee piled on.

What a bunch of cold, inhuman, unadulterated bullshit.

God’s opinion is apparently that when children aren’t being forced to pray, that their lives aren’t worth saving – and this comes from people who insist we should emulate the behavior of god.  “Oh, adults remove prayer from schools?  No, I’m not going to punish the adults, I’m going to let a bunch of children who didn’t have shit to do with that decision die.”  Frankly, it makes about as much sense as burning every human being because one woman ate an apple (which makes about as much sense as amputating your foot because the Packers are playing).

First, disputes over which religion is present in schools has oft-been the source of religious violence in America.  Think of the Philadelphia Bible Riots.

One of the most infamous examples of religious violence in the U.S. came to Philadelphia in 1844. Catholics petitioned the school board to permit Catholic students to read from the Catholic rather than the King James Version of the Bible. Militant Protestants accused Catholics of trying to ban the Bible and the situation turned from rumor to hysteria to eventual mob violence. The city was beset with riots from May through July, and militant nativists threatened to burn down all Catholic churches. By July 8th, twenty people were dead, two Catholic churches and schools and hundreds of homes had been burned to the ground.

The Bible-reading question in public schools was a continual source of discord, and offers lessons to those who would impose prayer on public school students today. In Maine and Massachusetts, Catholic students were forced to read from the King James Bible and to recite the Protestant version of the Lord’s Prayer. If they refused, they were either beaten or expelled. A Maine Supreme Court decision in the Donahue case upheld this policy, which stimulated the growth of Catholic parochial schools. A Maine priest, the Rev. John Bapst, was tarred and feathered and ridden out of the town of Ellsworth on a rail when he tried to change school policies.

Government neutrality has been an instrument by which we’ve avoided sectarian religious quarrels.  We evolved away from that kind of violence-inducing tension and would be foolish to go back.

Second, if religiosity is what keeps god out of a tantrum long enough to give a damn about the suffering of children, one can only wonder why he has failed to protect the thousands of children raped by Catholic priests within buildings constructed purely for the purpose of praising Jesus.  Surely god has not been booted out of the world’s oldest living Christian church.

We’re also told by the Mike Huckabee archetypes that school shootings didn’t happen back when “god was in our schools.”  That is either a piss ignorant statement or a lie.  There is a litany school shootings from before 1962, when mandated school prayer was the norm,  Shouldn’t god have been protecting schools then?

But it’s more disgustingly obvious than that.  In the last 13 years there have been 385 shooting incidents at churches in America.  These have resulted in several hundreds of deaths of Christians.  Has god been booted out of modern churches as well?

How dare these people so grossly use the misery of others?  Fuck them for taking the actions of a madman and trying to make atheists culpable for his murders.  Mike Huckabee, Bryan Fischer, Eric Hovind, and oodles of Christians across the internet have instead only established how religion is no antidote to being slimy as all hell.  Indeed, it seems to contort people’s sense of justice on a large scale.  And what’s more, it allows them to think of themselves as righteous, moral warriors in the process.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.