Monday morning (2/27/12), the superintendent of Chardon High School in Ohio, where three students were killed in an apparently random shooting, called on people to pray for the victims. Ever solicitous for your religious faith, Fox News swooped on the remark like a hawk on a field mouse.
On Happening Now, during a discussion (previously reported) on whether the media was unfairly targeting Rick Santorum for his religious faith, host Jon Scott noted that the school superintendent had called for a prayer vigil and asked people to keep the victims of the school shooting in their prayers. Scott called this a “sad reminder that, you know, there is a place for religion in public life.” (The remark seems to imply that prayer vigils would take place at the school, but that doesn’t seem to be the case - they’re being held in local churches.)
If Scott was hoping that this digression would whip up some debate, or maybe some controversy, he was disappointed. Neither of his guests took him up on it.
Starnes used his podium to note “the irony – perhaps lost in the chaos” that people are not allowed to pray in public schools. “Liberals have successfully banished God from the classroom, replacing Him with the manmade god of secularism,” he proclaimed. “Yet in times of great tragedy, school leaders inevitably seek guidance and solace from the same God they’ve expelled. I’ve often wondered – if God is good enough for the bad times, shouldn’t He be good enough for the good times? It’s a lesson I sadly suspect our nation’s educators will never learn.”
Well, Mr. Starnes, there’s a very big difference between being encouraged to pray if you wish, as you wish, and to whatever god you believe in, and being required to attend public prayer sessions that profess a faith you might not share. A superficial Google hasn’t turned up any outrage-whipping outside of Fox News, and by no means everyone who’s commented on Starnes’ op-ed agrees with it. I hope other pundits will let the people of Chardon, Ohio, grieve the tragedy in their own way, without exploiting the grief for gotcha political points.
Well Toddy, the most religious people on earth live only in bad times and it’s getting worse. So really, God isn’t good any time.