I'm a public school grad. I taught in public schools in rural as well as suburban America. My children went to Christian schools, as do my grandchildren, and last year I retired from 37 years in a small, Christian college. Throughout my life, I've supported Christian education in every possible way, but that doesn't mean that I get snarky about what happens down the block in the public school. The public school is my school too.
And that's why Gov. Huckabee's shot-from-the-hip response to the horror at Newtown was distasteful, an exercise in fear-mongering. No Democratic government or no rogue Supreme Court justice can keep God out of anything--school or horse barn. God takes up residence where he sees fit, period.
What the Huckster meant, of course, is that the horror that Adam L. so madly carried out on Connecticut kindergartners was somehow pre-determined by the law that keeps public school kids from public prayer. Because public school teachers may not force kids to have devotions, a clearly misguided social misfit fills up his mother's assault rifle and. . .well, tragically, everyone knows what happened.
I don't know where people like Huckabee get the notion that nothing "Christian" ever happens in a public school, but he's dead wrong; and so are all of those doomsday witnesses who look at our lives today and pick out some fictional golden age we all need so badly to return to.
God is there in public education--trust me. No, trust Him. I know. I was there. I experienced his presence. No, I couldn't--and wouldn't have wanted to--create a prayer-a-day or whatever. No, we didn't have devotions, and I didn't read a little homily every homeroom. Didn't happen. I didn't preach either, but then I didn't preach in a Christian educational setting either. Teaching isn't preaching, but that doesn't mean that my students didn't know that I was a believer. They did because He's there, and Huckabee is wrong and all he's doing, once again, is making people like my mother believe that the Lord is coming next week because He's mad as a hornet about being locked out of classrooms. You know, once we were a good Christian nation and all of that. . .
He's wrong, dead wrong.
If anything can be learned from the nightmare at Newtown, it's that pinning the tail on evil isn't a kid's game. Wouldn't it be nice if we could say that Adam L. would not have hoisted that arsenal into his mother's car if his public school teachers had started the morning with prayer?
If the Reverend wants to untangle a really difficult problem, he should take a shot at the question that's been asked throughout history--if He's in control, why did He allow that horror to happen? That's a question for the ages, and not to be answered in a political platform.
But Huckabee chose the soap box when he should have offered tears. In a situation such as we've all suffered in the last week, I really prefer an maxim from an old preacher named Alexander Carmichael: "God is most exalted with fewest words."