Such an enormous tragedy struck at Sandy Hook School on 14th December 2012. 27 people were killed, including 20 students. It was second only to the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007 in terms of the loss of human life.
It raises many questions. Firstly, how can anyone make sense of such an event. Episcopal Bishop Ian T. Douglas said, there is "no way we could make sense of what had happened. No explanation or rationale could assuage our shock, pain and grief. As a religious leader, I knew that my job was not to try and make sense of what had happened. Rather my job was to be there, simply be there, with those who had lost loved ones in the terrible rampage."
However the next question, especially to anyone religious is always,"How could God let this happen?"
Bishop Douglas argued that God is always with us and knows suffering in a real sense:
(His son) "was born to a homeless teenage mom and whose birth was attended by barn animals and marginalized sheep tenders. This God-with-us and his parents would then become refugees in Egypt to escape the slaughter of other innocent children at the hand of King Herod. And the same God-with-us, Jesus, would die a torturous death upon the cross as a religious and political revolutionary. We Christians, however, hold onto the truth that three days later Jesus rose from the dead. When confronted with the question "How could God let this happen?" we can proclaim that God is a God who is with us, who suffers with us, and who embodies the promise and reality of new life in the face of death." (Read More)
Interestingly one newspaper decided to formulate a possible conversation with God about the event:
"Do you realize that since prayer was removed from your schools in 1962, teen pregnancy has increased by more than 500 percent? SAT scores have dropped 80 points, teen suicide has tripled, the divorce rate has tripled and violent crime has increased sixfold? Who convinced you that teaching my little ones to pray or learn about who I am would be harmful? The opposite if true. The less someone’s heart depends on me for their life’s purpose, comfort and love, the more likely they are going to commit a crime."
I've no idea how accurate these statistics are, but the conversation ends rather poignantly:
"I understand how these parents feel. My son was murdered, too." (Read More)
Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, interestingly asked what kind of God people were citing with this question:
"The God we put in our back pocket, that we carry around in case of emergencies, the 'come to my rescue God', or the 'God that doesn't allow bad things to happen to good people'....I don't believe that God exists."
Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, reflected on how everything possible has been done in America to remove any aspect of God or faith from daily lives, that it is no surprise that such events occur. He said it was interesting how everyone keeps asking '"Where was God?" when in a day to day way, He is forced out. Huckabee also talks about how God was there, as soon as the tragedy began, with teachers selflessly giving their lives to save their pupils' lives, the comforting hugs from strangers, even in the White House in Obama's speech:
Do you think these reflections bring comfort to the families involved? Do you think that these Christians are right questioning the American public's notion of God? Do you think there is a satisfactory answer?
Various other interesting stories have now also begun emerging....
Should teachers be allowed, even encouraged to carry guns for the 'next time'? It's already legal in Texas! Superintendent David Thweatt said: "If something happened here, we would have to protect our children. You know, police officers are true, everyday heroes in my book, but one of them once told me something very revealing. He said, 'Ninety-five percent of the time, we get to the scene late.' I can’t afford to let that happen." The state of Michigan has just passed law saying it is legal for teachers to bring guns to school. (Read more)
Do you think teachers should be allowed weapons in school? Would it help prevent future tragedies? Should we meet violence with violence, or be ready to 'turn the other cheek' (Matthew 5:38–5:42)?
Westboro Baptist Church continue to give Christians a bad name by planning a praise gathering outside Sandy Hook Elementary school to celebrate God 'executing his judgement'. (Read more)
Do you think Westboro Baptist Church should even be using the word 'Church' in their name? Do you think such an act could ever been seen as coming 'from God'?