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My Take: Six things I don't want to hear after the Sandy Hook massacre
Ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee appeared to blame the Newtown massacre at least partly on the secularization of schools.
December 18th, 2012
12:58 PM ET

My Take: Six things I don't want to hear after the Sandy Hook massacre

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) – There are a lot of things I am sick of hearing after massacres such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Here are six of them:

1. “It was God’s will.”

There may or may not be a God, but if there is, I sure hope he (or she or it) does not go around raising up killers, plying them with semiautomatic weapons, goading them to target practice, encouraging them to plot mass killings and cheering them on as they shoot multiple bullets into screaming 6- and 7-year-old children. Much better to say there is no God or, as Abraham Lincoln did, “The Almighty has his own purposes,” than to flatter ourselves with knowing what those purposes are.

2. “Jesus called the children home.”

I don’t want to hear that Jesus needed 20 more kids in heaven on Friday that Madeleine Hsu (age 6) or Daniel Barden (age 7) were slain because Jesus couldn't wait to see them join his heavenly choir. Even the most fervent Christians I know want to live out their lives on Earth before going “home” to “glory.” The Hebrew Bible patriarchs rightly wanted long lives. Moses lived to be 120. Abraham was 175 when he died. Madeleine and Daniel deserved more than 6 or 7 years.

3. “After death, there is the resurrection.”

In the Jewish tradition, it is offensive to bring up the afterlife while in the presence of death. Death is tragic, and deaths such as these are unspeakably so. So now is the time for grief, not for pat answers to piercing questions. “There is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” says the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, and now is not a time for laughing or dancing or talk of children raised from the dead.

4. “This was God’s judgment.”

After every hurricane or earthquake, someone steps up to a mic to say that “this was God’s judgment” on New Orleans for being too gay or the United States for being too secular. I’m not sure what judgment of God would provoke the killing of 27 innocent women and children, but I certainly don’t want to entertain any theorizing on the question right now. Let’s leave God’s judgment out of this one, OK? Especially if we want to continue to believe God's judgments are "true and righteous altogether" (Psalms 19:9).

5. “This happened because America is too secular.”

Unlike those of us who are shaking their heads trying to figure out what transpired in Newtown, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, an evangelical icon, apparently has it all figured out. We don’t need fewer guns in the hands of killers, he said Friday on Fox News, we need more God in our public schools.

“Should we be so surprised that schools have become such a place of carnage? Because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability,” Huckabee said in an astonishing flight of theological and sociological fancy.

Just keep plying people like the killer with Glocks and Sig Sauers. As long as we force Jewish and Buddhist Americans to say Christian prayers, then the violence will magically go away. The logic here is convoluted to the point of absent, leaving me wondering whether what passes for "leadership" in America can sink any lower.

6. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

If ever there has been a more idiotic political slogan, I have yet to hear it. The logical fallacy here is imagining that people are killed either by people or by guns. Come again? Obviously, guns do not kill people on their own. But people do not shoot bullets into people without guns. At Sandy Hook and Aurora and Columbine, people with guns killed people. This is a fact. To pretend it away with slogans is illogical and revolting.

The question now is: Are those of us who have not yet been killed by guns going to allow these massacres to continue unimpeded? Are Americans that callous? Is life here so cheap? I have read the Second Amendment, and I find no mention there of any right to possess any gun more advanced than an 18th-century musket? Do I really have the right to bear a nuclear weapon? Or a rocket-propelled grenade? Then why in God’s name would any U.S. civilian have the right (or the need) to bear a .223-caliber assault rifle made by Bushmaster?

If you believe in a God who is all powerful and all good, then covering up for the Almighty at a time like this is in my view deeply unfaithful. Today is a day to shake your fist at heaven and demand answers, and then to shake it harder when no answers are forthcoming. To do anything else is in my view to diminish the idea of God, and to cheapen faith in the process.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Crime • God • Mike Huckabee • United States • Violence

soundoff (5,447 Responses)
  1. EdFromVA

    What did Huckabee say that was so wrong? He's a deeply religous person who believes a lapse in morality is partially to blame. You may disagree with him, but I don't see it's considered an outrageous thing to say.

    December 20, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      *rolls eyes*

      December 20, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Because he is implying that these kids suffering and dying was due to his god not getting enough attention and that people who do not believe in his same BS do not, and cannot have a sense of right and wrong. It is arrogant, condescending and factually wrong. His message is no different than the Westboro Baptist Church, his god hates this country and these things happen because ot it.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • John

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers, when Christians say God hates this country means in layman's terms, you atheists do everything not to continue your lessons of how to be a good person. You assume people are born to know right from wrong. Tell that to any parent who is teaching their young children how to be a good person versus not to be a good person. Teaching their children why they should not steal, should not kill, should respect parents and authority, should share their toys with a friend, should, should, should versus not this wrong way, but, this right way. That's the problem with atheists. We have to spell everything out for you because you just don't get scriptures because you don't stay in his word.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Observer

      John,

      If you want to claim that you are so ignorant that you couldn't figure out that killing everone around you is a bad idea, go right ahead. I think most Christians are a lot smarter than you do. They could figure that out without a 2,000-year-old book to tell them.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • tallulah13

      John, my parents taught me right from wrong, without EVER resorting to religion. It's amazing what happens when parents teach you that YOU are responsible for your own actions.

      It's pathetic, how you attack atheists on the basis of your complete ignorance.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Kelly

      Ed
      Have you seen the interview with the guy who knew the shooter when he was in school? He said that they guy was basically just another kid. Something changed in him since this guy knew him in school.

      Besides, if a lack of religion in the schools turns people into killers then why were there mass killers going back as far as 1949, when prayer was still in the classrooms?

      See timeline:

      http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/20/us/worst-u-s-shootings-timeline/index.html

      December 20, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Tell that to any parent who is teaching their young children how to be a good person versus not to be a good person."

      John, I don't have tell that to any parent, I AM that parent. My children know the difference between right and wrong. My 10 year old child took his own money to buy a present for his classmate because his classmates parent died unexpectedly, he was not told to, he was not brought up learning scripture, he did it because he has empathy for his friend....no religion needed.

      If your religion actually taught right from wrong the newspapers would not be full of christian leaders going to prison for unspeakable crimes. The prisons would not be 3/4 full of christians. Your religion has FAILED to do what you claim. Christianity is not the CASUE of the crimes....but you can't argue it in ANY way prevented them. Your arrogance is appalling.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • ??

      @ John

      To quote hitchens ... 'name one good deed that can be done by a believer, that cannot be done by a non-believer' ...

      Another question ... if you happen to be standing on the side of the road next to a child you do not know at all, and the child attempts to run across the road, why do you instinctively stop him/her from crossing ... ? Which 'holy' book did you learn that from ... ? Did parents/teachers instruct us when we were kids to do precisely that in such a situation ? ... or do we have these qualities within us without having to get them from any particular religion or priest/pastor/rabbi/pope ... ? Maybe the 'burning bush' told them and they tell us ?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • John

      My pardons to the atheists on this blog I must have missed all the books your monkey ancestors swinging from branch to branch wrote throughout the centuries how to be a righteous person and refrain from throwing dung on each other.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • Observer

      John,

      Atheists don't necessarily believe in evolution. If you did any research you'd know that.

      Try again. You can tell us all about talking serpents and unicorns from your book if you want.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      As opposed to your "good book" John that promotes slavery and genocide, treats r@pe as a property crime and labels a man that gets drunk and screws his daughters....twice.....as rightous.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • John

      Observer, the serpent in the Bible refers to Satan. His evil comes in many disguises. The snake is used because he is considered the lowest of the low and slithers on his belly through life. He brings mankind down to his level of slithering on their bellies if the forget or reject God's truth. I forgot if the "unicorn" word is in Hebrew or Greek, but it means wild oxen.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Observer

      John,

      The Bible mention TWO TALKING animals and unicorns. If you are a biblical scholar, why not try to replace all the ones who didn't know what they were doing? lol.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • John

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers, these are lessons taught in the Bible regarding righteous versus unrighteous thoughts/actions and the outcomes for both. You have to read carefully if God sanctioned those acts or just remarked on the outcome of said acts and traditions of man.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • John

      Observer, humans make mistakes or do you believe mankind is perfect?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • Observer

      John,

      Please explain to us why God apparently had a hissy fit about sinners and decided to take it out on OTHERS by letting innocent children be slaughtered.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • Observer

      John

      "humans make mistakes or do you believe mankind is perfect?'

      We are talking about a God who supposedly IS perfect, the same omnipotent one who sat around while the children were being murdered.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      John,

      Those are your god's laws and references. Where does your god say "owning people is wrong"?....answer: he doesn't, and now you make excuses for him, if it was truly a basis for morality that rule would be front and center. Instead Jesus tells slaves to obey their masters. Name one moral teaching that is ORIGINAL to the bible? You can't because every moral teaching had been taught at some point by humans PREVIOUS to the bible. Pretty pathetic your god could not have come up with ONE original concept of morality, pretty weak for the "creator" of morals.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      John / Chad, answer me one question:

      What good deed can a religious person do that a non-religious person cannot do?

      December 20, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • John

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers, so instead of slaves having a roof over their head and food in their bellies, sandals on their feet and clothes to wear, these folks should just starve to death or not work for their well being because Cheesemakers hasn't a clue to how life was back then? You are not understanding the times these people lived in, the harshness of the day, not having an education and trying to survive when you owed nothing, had nothing, were not taught to do anything bit find someone that thought you'd be worthwhile to hire (or should I say, buy as a slave). Big difference of life being all smoothed out for you over the centuries of trials and tribulations Cheesemakers. You need to allow your imagination to work for you and put yourself back in the days of those people. Besides, have you never heard someone at work say "what is this, slave labor"? Where do you think that phrase came from?

      December 20, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • John

      Rational Humanist, my good deed is allowing the Christian community to know without needing to guess that I am with them to live righteously by obeying Jesus' truth. Do you nonbelievers have organized gatherings that you can provide this safety net to your fellow man? No you don't.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      *facepalm*

      December 20, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      John,

      More excuses for your god failing to teach morality. You claimed morality comes from your religion. I showed you it doesn't and asked for an example of an original moral teaching exclusive to the bible and all you can do is come up with a "well slaves were better off being beaten than starving" argument. How does it feel to defend slavery to an "immoral atheist" John...thats gotta suck.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • John

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers, Jesus teaches us morality and ethical practicess throughout the entirety of his righteous teachings. Other religions are similar to what Jesus teaches, but, they have a lot of traditions of man listed in their pages. To find out this fact, line them up word for word. It's been done already, find those resources. Jesus' truth isn't a religion even though most classify it there. As far as ethics and morasl being taught by the atheists, sorry, that mailing never made it to my home. My question to anyone teaching God's truth and renaming it as your own. Just how to you get humans to follow through with it. Only God can do this.

      December 20, 2012 at 3:22 am |
    • John

      Observer, God told us that evil will be wiped out when he returns and rids the world of evil. He's taking those that go against his commandments out, or, haven't you heard this truth of his? Until then, he gave mankind the lead to rule the world and live righteously, as commanded. Obviously, many do not obey his commandments such as what we just witnessed again last week. Therefore, mankind is doing this to mankind. It's mankind's watch and we are blowing it.

      December 20, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • sam stone

      john: our ancestors were apes, not monkeys. try to keep up

      December 20, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Just how to you get humans to follow through with it. Only God can do this."

      Like I said, nothiing original. I would have thought he could have come up with one completely original moral teaching being the creator of all morals. And how does your god get us to follow through? Threats of damnation, but the only real unforginable sin is apostacy, so he is not really concerned with people acting morally, he wants allegance, he is vain and petty.....and does not exist.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • rocketscientist

      BATC:

      "John, I don't have tell that to any parent, I AM that parent. My children know the difference between right and wrong. My 10 year old child took his own money to buy a present for his classmate because his classmates parent died unexpectedly, he was not told to, he was not brought up learning scripture, he did it because he has empathy for his friend....no religion needed."

      Just wanted to congratulate you on raising such a kind boy with a big heart. I've got 20 month old twins and I hope they care for others the way your son obviously does. I think you made your point that one doesn't necessarily need religion to be a kind, respectable, tolerant, and good human being. That said, I'm going to do the best I can raising my little ones in the Catholic Church (yeah, I know you probably have a lot to say about that choice, I'm well aware of all of it, but "I love my church, warts and all," as Steven Colbert recently said). Again, I definitely don't think one needs religion to be a good person or lead an exemplery life.

      Again, congrats on raising a fine son! You should be very proud!

      December 20, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • John

      rocketscientist, where did you learn right from wrong? Your parents? Where did your parents learn right from wrong? Their parents? Keep going back through your family lineage and you will find Christian-Judea teachings.

      Just because you don't want to acknowledge these teachings came from God doesn't mean you thought of them on your own. Then again, arrogance is the name of the game for atheists.

      December 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  2. bob

    why own an automobile that has much more horepower than is needed to haul a load of fat big macs to the liquor store?

    December 19, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Observer

      bob,

      I've you've ever driven a car or truck, you'd know that being able to get quick accelleration is an important feature.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • tallulah13

      what exactly is "horepower?" I'm not sure I want to know.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:51 am |
  3. Chad

    Whilst I am in favor of restricting handgun ownership, banning assault weapons and limiting magazine sizes, we should be very careful not to fool ourselves into thinking that those actions will in any way shape or form avert tragedies like Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech, etc.. from happening in the future.

    – a magazine can be replaced by any reasonably coordinated person in less than 3-4 seconds, meaning a lever action rifle with a 10 shot magazine can get off ~40 well aimed rounds a minute.

    Anti-theists refuse to look at the real problem, the real cause of this tragedy(Mike Huckabee is correct). As a result, they have only one panic button to push. The fact that what they propose would NOT have stopped this tragedy, is in the words of one of them "moot".

    It simply doesnt matter to an atheist that the policy they want to put in place wont stop this violence. It is just willful ignorance.

    Interesting study refuting the alleged correlation between rates of gun ownership and murder:
    http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

    December 19, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Mike Huckabee is a moron so I am not surprised you agree with him. Pushing an abusive relationship with a non-existent being in public schools will not solve the problem. The percentage of incarcerated christians will attest to that.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Carol

      Yes, the teaching of respect, staying humble, peaceful, family oriented, respecting and doing right by another, the 10 commandments, just to mention some of the positives of Jesus' wisdom should stay out of the way of the atheists agenda of only the strong survive, greed is good, switch a partner whenever with whomever aka love the one your with, get the highest salaries while echoing the pc correct mantra of the week, violence, violence everywhere so take from others and give to us, us, us, while violating all your rights while we talk, talk, talk a good game and are all over the place for no rules will bind us because we say NO to everything and everyone because we are brats until the day we die.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • EdFromVA

      Chad – nobody cares about the study because people have already made up their minds that guns are to blame. Please don't introduce facts, logic, and empirical research.

      30 years ago, before we had any kind of gun control, we never experinced these types of acts. 30 years of gun control later, take a look at what is happening. Maybe Huckabee is on to something.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Observer

      Carol,

      Congratulations. Your comments on atheists were very close to 100% wrong. Well done.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Kelly

      Chad
      Anyone with 10 shot magazines who is good enough to get off 40 well aimed rounds a minute would be able to get off, what, 80 or so well placed rounds with the kind of assault rife used in CT, right? Isn't the extra 40 lives worth giving up your toy?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Carol, your religion is anything BUT humble. Teaching of respect, peaceful, family oriented, respecting and doing right by another are not exclusive to your religion or ANY religion. Nothing in the "wisdom" of Jesus was an original thought of his. There is not an "atheist agenda"....you are a small minded cretin.

      And Ed, gun massacre in this country goes way back. Here is just one example that happened 46 YEARS ago.

      University of Texas, Austin, August 1, 1966:

      Engineering student Charles Joseph Whitman, 25, opened fire on students from the 28th floor of the main campus building. He killed 13 and wounded 32 before being shot dead by a police marksman. He also killed his wife and mother.

      In a note he said he was suffering irrational thoughts and wanted to relieve his wife and mother from suffering but offered no explanation for the university attack.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • tallulah13

      Carol? Either you have no idea what you are talking about, or you are a liar. Your description of atheists is utterly false and predictably malicious. Remember: you represent your faith. Every time you lie or falsely accuse, you cast a bad light on your church.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Some assembly required

      Here is what you avoided yesterday, Chad: I stated that the best reason I have for not killing anyone is that I simply don't want to. For you it is something God said?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • John

      Some assembly required, are you saying that if your life and the lives of your loved one are in grave danger and you have the means to take the maniac out you will refuse to kill them to save you and your family?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • John

      tallulah13, when a Christian treats you the way most atheists treat us, you cry fowl?

      December 20, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Observer

      John,

      Look at the way many Christian HYPOCRITES treat gays and pro-choice supporters. Get real.

      It was the Bible that was used to suppot slavery and discrimination against women.

      Try again.

      December 20, 2012 at 1:55 am |
    • John

      Observer, Jesus respects all, including those that work for a living (what was called slavery back in biblical times) and praises women. He gave women the physical ability to bring forth new life. That's the most glorious of responsibilities is to bring life into the world, love, care and raise her children to grow spiritually, as well as physically and mentally.

      December 20, 2012 at 3:56 am |
    • Some assembly required

      John, I would want to kill someone who threatens others with grave harm. If you or Chad are motivated entirely by what your imaginary friend says to you then I'd be quite OK with denying you access to weapons.

      December 20, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  4. K

    I totally appreciate this article. I agree that these are obnoxious things to say. I happen to subscribe to the "higher power" theory, and I agree that he/she probably "face-palms" when people say things like this in times of tragedy.

    But I'm not totally prepared to concede that jumping on the gun control issue was the way to go either. It almost seems manipulative–the sort of play I'd sooner expect from conniving GOPers (like the Mike Huckabees). Emergency legislation? Hey, does anybody remember the Patriot Act?

    Look... I'm pretty damn liberal, and I don't really know where I stand on this issue. I mean, if a war ever breaks out in our country, on our turf, I think I'm gonna head for the guy I know who owns an assault rifle! Not the sick, demented one that shoots up schools, but the one that thought "if the sh&t really hits the fan, I want to be prepared!"

    And yet in the wake of such an unimaginable tragedy, I think I'd gladly die in the place of a beautiful, innocent child. It's a perfect time to get someone like me on the gun ban bandwagon.

    My point here, being fenced on the issue personally, is that I almost feel like these sweet babes and mothers and teachers are being used as pawns in a political chess game, and I pretty much think that's worse than some ignoramus who pats another on the back and says it's God's will.

    Of course, there's nothing more disgusting than the people who are tagging it "God's judgement."

    December 19, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  5. Reality

    Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

    Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

    December 19, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The flaws are in the foundations.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Carol

      How can an atheist find any flaws to fix when they have no eyes to see? Stop giving us lip service buddy.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Athy

      See what, Carol? The truth is there for anyone to see; there is no god.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Ooooohh, good one Carol.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Carol

      Here comes Reality's backup. How many minutes did this take? LOL

      December 20, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • sam stone

      carol: no eyes to see? pompous fvcking gash

      December 20, 2012 at 4:14 am |
    • Reality

      Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      ADDED DETAILS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      e.g. Taoism

      "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

      Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

      December 20, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  6. what??

    America is becoming a joke !!!!!!

    December 19, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • what??

      ... not the article (not really interested in this 'god' business anyway ...), but america's gun culture is what i meant.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Murderface

      I know, all these easily accessible assault rifles and military grade weapons killing people. People with mental heath issues and crazy religious nuts able to own guns. People who don't lock up or properly store them. We should arm more people with weapons to stop the other people with guns. We shouldn't ban assault rifles and we should cut social programs to help identify and treat mental disorders....

      December 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Kelly

      There are varied opinions, from the entire political spectrum, as to why this might be true. Care to elaborate?

      December 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Watership

      Just what is the IQ point that's needed to met to own a gun? What determines what mental condition, what defines the mental status, what are the mental status? depression, OCD etc.......

      December 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • andy

      I agree

      December 20, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  7. Kenchandammit

    Dude, these are the most brilliant and reasonable comments by a religious person that I have ever heard in my life. I post anti-religious statements on various sites, but if all religious people spoke like you, I could be persuaded to stop. Way to go and keep it up!

    December 19, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Watership

      Agreed!!!!

      December 19, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Esaias

      I very much agree with you

      December 20, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • nope

      That's exactly what I was thinking while I was reading it.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:01 am |
  8. Joe

    And, I really don't care what you think. Who are you?

    December 19, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  9. Joe

    "Another Brilliant Mind Ruined By Higher Education". Young man you are in for a huge surprise. Bless you.

    December 19, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Kenchandammit

      Yet another mind ruined by religion...

      December 19, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • K

      Don't tag "bless you" onto the end of something you said out of spite. That's just plain ugly. That's like saying "go fuc& yourself!" with a thumbs up and a smile. And Jesus was well-educated, go read your Bible.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  10. Watership

    One thing I find is people don't understand, the only way a gun is a weapon is when you use it as a weapon. Not many people understand how n when to pull the trigger. I don't mean to be disrespectful to anyone who doesn't hold this true for, but most people will shiver in fear with the gun in their hands and offer warnings. Sadly I find it hard to believe many 21 yr old kindergarten teachers are prepared to kill someone. They pronounce they are but when it comes to that flash of a moment can you really see a young lady who has a couple of classes of how to aim at the center mass and learn how not to shoot herself in the foot going to have the courage or forethought to face that final act? On both sides we all wish it could or would go the other way, but most all people are good at heart and are not prepare to murder someone. Oh and well said Steven.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 19, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • HuckSucks

      Stop the f'ing "gun don't kill people' glib ! If you keep guns because there is a possibility of killing or hurting something sometimes in the future !

      December 19, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • What a Joke

      HuckSucks, you post as if you never lived or worked in a big city USA. Did you ever hear of gangs with guns? I'm sure none of those members went through the system to get their weapon(s) of choice. Last time I witnessed a stupid discussion such as gun control was when the government spent millions on ensuring junkies had free needles for their addiction. Rats, it's 4:00 a.m. The junky needs his fix. What to do, what do do? Share a needle with a junky buddy is my 2 cents worth of a guess. Stop with the feel good bandages when the patients (the USA's law abiding citizens) are bleeding to death.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Watership

      Bucks you seemed to have missed my point. The point is this bs cliche of "guns don't....." Is horse crock. However !!!!! On days like these scared people all run out n say I'm not going to let this happen to Me or my world and buy a gun. They now have a sense of power that in most cases is nothing more then a comical illusions. This sadly u must admit this is when they get hurt. Should we have access to firearms .... YES. But lines need to be drawn. On what side is what we need to find. I work with AR'S and MP5 and when all is said and done if you need an assault rifle to get the job done, then subject is too far away and may not be a true threat and or maybe you're just a bad shot.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Kelly

      Watership
      So, when it's not a weapon what is it, a toy?

      December 19, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Watership

      A gun is only as dangerous as the one who holds it. The point is if ur not willingly to use it is useless. And u may look at our self n say yes I am strong enough to make that decision n take that life. But think of people in your life n honestly n truly answer who thinks they are strong enough and who truly is capable. ..that is my point.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  11. FJR

    I own a .223 rifle, several 30 round clips and several thousand rounds of ammo. I have yet to see any of it KILL anyone. It's the person pulling the trigger that decides to do the killing and the .223 just happened to be his weapon of choice. Could just as easily been a U-Haul truck loaded with fertilizer and diesel fuel.

    December 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      You're right. It's people we have to worry about, not guns... That's why we shouldn't give guns to people.

      By the way, you cannot buy mass quanti.ties of fertilizer without raising red flags. Protections are in place to avoid acts of terror. No such protections exist for guns.

      Also, where do you draw the line? Should people be able to buy plastic explosives, ground to air missiles? Neither of those things kill people by themselves. Should people be able to buy anthrax, or enriched uranium or polonium? If contained they cause no harm.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Extra Medium

      You will F'kng Jr., you will in due time ;-)

      December 19, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Kenchandammit

      Am I wrong in thinking there are regulations on how much fertilizer and diesel one can purchase? And if one purchases too much the Feds will come knocking?

      December 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Watership

      I guess you haven't heard that fertilizers are regulated? Just food for thought before you use that argument in the future.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Kelly

      These mass suicidal killers all seem to want the personal experience of killing people before ending themselves. I doubt that they would find using a bomb very satisfying when they would either die before witnessing his victim's pain, or they would be too far when they detonate the bomb. Truck bombs such as you describe would be better suited to terrorists who did not want to sacrifice themselves, a completely different kind of killer, right?

      December 19, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Watership

      Perfect point Kelly. First thing to understand , is your victims. they will tell you about your killer. victimology in textbook terms.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  12. GatorALLin

    .....if I already own an assault gun/rifle then you don't have the right to take it from me....

    ...any more than I have the rigtht to take away your alcohol and your car you drive (yes I assume you don't drive drunk)...still you could.. and someone could take drive your car drunk and kill someone....afterall there are just too many cars out there already... look at all the killing they do.... with all that alcohol. Remember all those times you drove "buzzed"...yeah...YOU.... I just want you to blow into this machine before you drive....Yes, every time you get the self indulgent idea to drive... because someone may try to drive your car drunk.... No new cars should be alowed to start without a blow test... (if we had a school yard of 20 kids killed by one crazy drunk driver, do you think we would have this same debate?). Why not? This year there were 88 total deaths by mass shooting. there were 9,822 deaths by drunk drivers in 2010. so your chance of death by drunk driver is 11,2255% higher..... where is the outrage.... My gun never put anyone else at risk (or so I think/say). Lets make up some quick laws.....suely that will fix all the pressure on the politicians... surely our politicians will save us now.... FAIL

    December 19, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  13. Rob McKee

    Atheist Bertrand Russell said that it's we who are kings in the realm of value – that it's we who create value and our desires that confer value, with nothing out there to instruct us as to how to do so. So then Prothero wants one thing; Adam Lanza wants another. Too bad there's nothing out there, or that we can't know that God is in fact out there, to tell us who has the moral high ground. Sorry, but there's a lot more to this massacre than stricter gun control can come close to beginning to fix.

    December 19, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Rob, you miss the point.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      @Rob
      Well said. Proper analysis shows that this is not a simple problem to be fixed with knee-jerk reactions.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  14. Political will on gun control and sledge hammer fist on gun runners

    “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”=FALSE!

    A man in China attacked and 'INJURED' 20 children using a 'KNIFE'.

    A man in connecticut attacked and 'SLAUGHTERED' 20 children and 6 women and a man (himself) using (3) 'GUNS'.

    I wish people are not too blind to see the 'HUGE' difference.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I agree with you, but didn't you say that already?

      December 19, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Political will on gun control and sledge hammer fist on gun runners

      I'm willing to say it a million times until those gun powder filled craniums smash into pieces.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • What a Joke

      “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”= True. In all my years on this life, I've never seen a gun jump up, drive over to a shooting site and open fire on innocents.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Kelly

      What a Joke
      Point is, a homicidal maniac with the intent of killing as many as he can is more likely to pick an assault rifle than a car. If he had access to a rocket launcher, grenades or a full machine gun he might bring them along too, but they are largely illegal because they're considered too dangerous. All lawmakers want to do is designate assault rifles as too dangerous for private ownership as well, and why not? They were designed FOR killing as many humans as possible, right?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Political will on gun control and sledge hammer fist on gun runners

      @What a joke

      You're so funny! Your moniker suit you best.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Saraswati

      No matter how many times you say it most of them won't get it because they don't want to get it.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  15. Joe Willson

    There are 1000X as many good people that own guns than some stupid 20 year old punk who stole his moms gun and shot up kids. Look at the Oregon shooting that was stopped by a armed citizen with his concealed carry. As well as just last night at the Hobbit movie a off duty officer shot and killed a man before he could shoot up a theater in CA. Isnt it weird that the media hasn't reported a whole lot on the good side of it? Just my 2 cents.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why can none of you gun advocates answer this? Why does anyone need to own an assault-type weapon and a magazine that can fire multiple rounds without the shooter having to stop and reload?

      Come on, Joe. Why not be the first. None of your cowardly little pals has come up with any response whatsoever. Can you?

      December 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Joe Wilson,

      concealed carry applies to handguns. According to hearsay – the person in Oregon showed the weapon but did not fire – there was no clear field of fire. Demonstrating the weapon appeared to be effective but I have not seen an offical investigative report yet.

      Clearly there are circvmstances where handguns are effective for self-defence and while I'd like to see handguns reduced I will stipulate they can, in the right hands, be beneficial.

      There is no place for semi-automatic rifles, whose sole purpose is to kill humans, in the hands of the general public.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Gem

      Your two cents is well taken!! I couldn't agree with you more. The media only wants to report what can sway their belief. It's up to you as an individual to be smart enough and do your own research and not belive whats being shoved down your throat.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Joe Willson

      Tom Tom this is something I agree with you on. I DO NOT believe people should have access to a gun that can shoot 600 round per minute I think that is absolutely rediculous. When people say they are using it for home defense i laugh and say "so your wanting to go through a wall and kill someone sleeping?." No that makes no sense if your so bent on protecting your home get a SHOTGUN. I believe the ease at which we can go to a shooting store get a AK-47, AR-15 is the problem.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Joe Willson

      Tom Tom this is something I agree with you on. I DO NOT believe people should have access to a gun that can shoot 600 round per minute I think that is absolutely rediculous. When people say they are using it for home defense i laugh and say "so your wanting to go through a wall and kill someone sleeping?." No that makes no sense if your so bent on protecting your home get a SHOTGUN. I believe the ease at which we can go to a shooting store get a AK-47, AR-15 is the problem. I mean these ARE military round there shooting.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Kelly

      Joe
      Anyone can develop homicidal tendencies, or just snap, right? That's 1000s of potential mass killers out there really. It's also 1000s of weapons cashes that can be robbed by or, as in this case, are accessible to people with deadly intent. Any way you slice it, those 1000s of guns out there are never totally "safe", are they?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Meanwhile in other Oregon conceal and carry news, a legally owned and carried 9mm handgun feel out of its holster while its owner was watching a movie.

      The following day two schoolboys found it when it fell to the floor at their feet as they sat down – safety off, with a round chambered. The gun did not discharge.

      Irresponsible conceal and carry is dangerous too!

      December 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  16. Christians = Morons

    a hen lays an egg that doesn't hatch = a hen laid an egg that didn't hatch
    a woman goes thru pregnancy & delivers a still-born child = Jesus called the child home

    December 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Akira

      I call that heartbreakingly sad.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Carol

      Hey atheist. Which comes first? The Chicken or the egg? Atheist answer = the ape.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  17. 2357

    What baffles me is the tortured logic behind broadcasting the things he doesn't want to hear. It screams denial, plugging of ears to the deafening message that is self evident. Irresponsible parents are raising a generation of immoral monsters. Nothing new, except that technology now amplifies their juvenile tantrums to mass mayhem. But amidst all the commotion there is an invisible culprit hiding in obscurity. It was true for every young shooter we've suffered since John Wilkes Booth.
    Fathers, raise your sons and don't derelict them. For every runaway dad, there is a trail of destruction that wreaks havok on the women and children left behind. Fathers, you will be judged by God for your faithfulness to the oath you swore at the altar before men. Whatever suffering and blood spilt on earth as result of breaking or denying the vow, will be requires of you at the judgement stand.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Guffaw.

      Anyone who believes 2357 has all the answers is "derelict."

      December 19, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I stay committed to my wife and kids and I don't need the threat of any god to do it.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • What a Joke

      Just remember Cheesie, Jeffrey Dahmer didn't care about human life because he believed in evolution (that he was the survivor over the weaker) and wished his parents spent time instructing him on God's truth He was baptized before he was killed in prison.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Jeffrey Dahmer ate people, Christians practice symbolic cannibalism. He fits right in.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Carol

      Anyone who listens to advanced apes in cheap suits is the moron.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • John

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers, last I remember to eat the body of Christ and to drink his blood is to believe his truth and read and understand what he spoke.

      December 20, 2012 at 2:53 am |
    • 2357

      God came in the form of a helpless beast, to be slaughtered and eaten by men. The food you eat this morning is life sacrificed by the same God to keep you living on this cursed earth so that God would hear a rightful word of thanks from your mouth. God feeds you with his own flesh and blood. That is not cannibalism. That is pure grace, utterly unmerited grace.

      December 20, 2012 at 6:02 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      " last I remember to eat the body of Christ and to drink his blood is to believe his truth and read and understand what he spoke."

      Yeah, that's what you were told but ask yourself John, is that necessary to the goal?

      2357,

      Jesus did not come in the form of a helpless beast, he was a man. I don't eat men for my daily sustenance. Nice try at rationalization, you guys are good at it.

      December 20, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  18. Political will on gun control and sledge hammer fist on gun runners

    "Gun don't kill, people do"=FALSE!

    A man in China attacked and 'INJURED' 20 children using a 'KNIFE'.

    A man in conneticticut attacked and 'SLAUGHTERED' 20 children and 6 women and a man (himself) using (3) 'GUNS'.

    I wish people here are not too blind to see the difference.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • What a Joke

      So, without thinking about the end results. Let's keep guns away from everyone. Yes, the law abiding won't have a problem with this and who cares that the criminals break any/all laws and still have guns to blow anyone away. Your logic is warped and you can't see the forest through the trees.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  19. Joe gavin

    Six things you don't want to hear.......and 5 are faith related. Sure – I've heard the pat answers too but thats simply reactionary talk from folks either trying to sound pious or not knowing what else to say. Maybe your reporting should be more substantive......how about six things about guns....or six things about mental illness...or six things about how you celebrated your own life today (I hugged my wife and kids). Shame on you.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I fail to see anything "shameful" in Prothero's article.

      What is 'shameful' about pointing out the idiocies Christards utter under these circu stances, or at pretty much any other time that involves loss?

      December 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Carol

      Yes, Jesus told us to respect and bury our dead. What do you advanced Apes do? Steal our truth as you see fit. What you want from Jesus and throw away what you don't want. It doesn't work that way, so I guess, we have to allow you your rights to stay the fools.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • Observer

      Carol,

      As a good Christian, would you have watched 20 innocent kids get slaughtered like God did?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • tallulah13

      Carol? There isn't a shred of evidence to support the existence of god. Any god. You can pretend to have the moral high ground, but in reality, all you have is an unsubstantiated belief system that encourages you to feel and act arrogant without any basis in reality.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Carol

      I seriously doubt Mr. Lanza had Jesus' teachings on his mind.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • Carol

      You atheists are a strange bunch. You complain about what Jesus teaches, yet you know that you take most of what he gave us to live your lives. Correct me if I'm wrong, I didn't know apes learned ethics and moral teachings while swinging from trees.

      December 20, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • Observer

      Carol,

      Sorry you missed my question. Here it is again:

      As a good Christian, would you have watched 20 innocent kids get slaughtered like God did?

      December 20, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • the AnViL

      carol has never been introduced to biology.

      we're all classified as great apes, carol.

      all primates came from a common ancestor.

      you should literally be ashamed to be so stupid on a national public forum.

      December 20, 2012 at 4:17 am |
  20. jamasol

    Please stop calling them victims. They were not victims. They were victimized in the last moments of their last day but they were not victims. They were beautiful, loving , brilliant people that ,up to that point, had lived enchanted lives. Their lives should have been longer and ended differently but to refer to them as victims is like to negate the enchanted lives that was their reality. People keep saying that there is nothing we can do for their parents but there is. Stop calling their children victims and call them angels. They were angels and they are angels. They are the angels of Sandy Hook Elementary.

    December 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No. They were victims of an insane killer who had access to guns his mother bought for self-defense.

      Look where that has gotten her, him, and them.

      Knock it off with the happy, happy, heavenly angels, harps, clouds crap. It doesn't help anyone. And it isn't anything but wishful thinking.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @jamasol,

      Angels. So in other words:

      2. “Jesus called the children home.”

      I don’t want to hear that Jesus needed 20 more kids in heaven on Friday – that Madeleine Hsu (age 6) or Daniel Barden (age 7) were slain because Jesus couldn't wait to see them join his heavenly choir.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • What a Joke

      I suppose Tom and GOPer, the politically correct thing to say is they evolved to another level of death?

      December 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.