Newtown school massacre: Tennessee pastor plumbs new depths of doltishness

Barking mad: Pastor Morris

Barking mad: Pastor Morris

JUST when you thought Mike Huckabee’s remarks about “godlessness” being at the root of last week’s Connecticut school shooting were as stupid as it’s possible to get, along comes Baptist pastor Sam Morris, who unleashed a torrent of invective against those he saw responsible for this and similar atrocities: The Gays and promoters of evolution.

According to this report, after warning his congregation on Sunday that his sermon “will not be pleasant”, Morris, of Old Paths Baptist Church, said that the number of mass shootings in the US were escalating because of schools were government “mind-control centres” that taught “junk about evolution” and “how to be a homo”.

We get all up in arms about 20 children being shot in a day care but we don’t give one good-glory rip about the 4,000 that were removed violently from the wombs of their mothers [in abortion procedures] the same day. I believe they use children and Christmas and all that to pull on our heart strings about gun control. That’s what it’s all about.

Morris asserted that equal rights was a “sham” because it’s “equal immorality”, and that authorities should take the body of the suspected shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza:

And string him up in public and set his body on fire and leave it out there to let the birds pick his bones.

And he warned:

We’re going to see more of this. Because notice, the first thing in America we start yelling about is gun control. Have you noticed that? Gun control. No one’s even thought about the fact that these shootings only happened at places where guns are banned. Have you noticed that? They have never had a mass shooting at a gun show, where you can find over a thousand loaded guns at one time.

The shit-for-brains Baptist then insisted that “humanism” in schools taught Lanza that he was God and:

He can just go blow away anybody he wants. When I got in high school, man, I started learning all this kingdom, phylum stuff, all this junk about evolution. And I want to tell you what evolution teaches — here’s the bottom line — that you’re an animal. That’s what it teaches. So, you’re an animal, you can act like an animal. Amen.

There was more of this rancorous manure:

So, here you are, you’re an animal and you’re a god! So, what are we going to teach you about in school? Well, we can teach you about sex, we can teach you how to rebel to you parents, we can teach you how to be a homo! But we’re definitely not going to teach you about the word of God! Amen.

He added:

They think homeschoolers are a bunch of crazies, man. But I’m going to tell you something, I’ve never seen a police officer or a metal detector at a home school. Never. Amen. Now, there’s plenty of guns at my home school. Amen. I guarantee you we’re not going to have a mass shooting at any of the schools that are represented in this building today. I guarantee you, if there is a shooting, it won’t last very long. Amen.

Meanwhile, reacting to the storm of outrage he reaped after his “godless” America remarks, Huckabee said at the weekend that he wasn’t merely talking about school prayer:

It’s the fact that people sue a city so we aren’t confronted with a manger scene or Christmas carol … Churches and Christian-owned businesses are told to surrender their values under the edict of government orders to provide tax-funded abortion pills.

On his Web page he wrote

We dismiss the notion of natural law and the notion that there are moral absolutes and seemed amazed when some kids make it their own morality to kill innocent children. We diminish and even hold in contempt the natural family of a father and mothercreating and then responsibly raising the next generation and then express dismay that kids feel no real connection to their families or even the concept of a family … and we teach that God was not involved in our origins, that our very lives are biological happenstances.

John Bell

John Bell

But here’s a thing: yesterday the BBC’s normally asinine Thought for the Day programme, which excludes the voices of non-believers, featured Scottish Christian hymn-writer, John Lamberton Bell, a “modern-day John the Baptist” whose message was, well, pretty damned atheistic, but for the ending:

If I were an atheist, the killings in Sandy Hook would have confirmed me in my belief that religion was a fatuous, sentimental and dangerous distraction.

If there is a loving God, where’s the evidence – particularly when innocents are massacred, and the dawning potential in children finds a hellish end?

If I were a parent, I would probably hug my children tighter today and feel an uncanny empathy for mothers and fathers in Connecticut who are dealing with an unimaginable grief.

If there is a loving God, where’s the evidence?

It’s evidence, to some extent, which people are now looking for: evidence of the derangement  of the gunman; evidence as to whether or not he was in a relationship of animosity with his mother or with the school; evidence of how he had managed to get into premises presumed to be secure; evidence of whether violence in films or video games encourages susceptible people to commit murder… not that such evidence will ever eradicate or mollify the pain of loss.

But where is the evidence for God?

There isn’t much really. And I don’t believe that the horrendous nature of Friday’s killings is made palatable by well intentioned nostrums such as:  ‘These things are sent to try us,’ or ‘Suffering breeds good character,’
or, most insensitively, ‘This is the direct consequence of sin’

No, there isn’t much evidence of God if we are looking for the missing piece to make sense of the jig-saw puzzle of life. God is not the instant answer to our quick request.

Instead, three times in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures we find people of faith having to deal with infanticide – the slaughter of innocents. And in the collection of poems we call the Psalms we find repeated unanswered questions Why? When? How long? and Why?… it’s a vocabulary not for piety, but for pain.

And then ­ – as Christians believe – God comes in Jesus, flesh of our flesh, to share the pain, the uncertainty and the insecurity of human life, to enter into solidarity with all who suffer, and to bring to the mystery of unmerited agony the bigger mystery of unmerited love.

And all this because nowhere does any religion profess that God made the world perfect. Instead we believe that God made the world good. And love, only love can make it better.

My impression of Bell is that he’s a superannuated hippie desperately clinging by his fingertips onto the remnants of his faith. But perhaps that’s the only way he’ll ever stay on the TFTD panel.

Matt Westwood (Morris report) and James Merryweather (TFTD)