Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mike Huckabee's Ignorant Mythic Authoritarian Worldview


Now that Mike Huckabee is no longer a political animal, having to measure his words to appear sane and not offend potential voters or donors, he has come unhinged in his mythic authoritarian worldview. This is nowhere more apparent than in his comments about the tragic mass killing in Connecticut. CNN's Belief Blog posted his comments without much in the way of analysis, nor was there any analysis of the longer version posted on their Political Ticker blog.

Generally, I try to ignore people like him, but he has a national platform (Fox News) and there are significant numbers of people who share his (world)view to a greater or lesser extent.

Here is the story:
Huckabee: Lack of religion inclassroom leads to violence in schools

"We ask why there's violence in our school but we've systematically removed God from our schools," Huckabee said on Fox News. "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."
"That we're not just gonna have to be accountable to the police if they catch us but one day we stand before a holy God in judgment. If we don't believe that, then we don't fear that," he said.
"People are going to want to pass new laws," Huckabee continued. "This is a heart issue ... laws don't change this kind of thing."
Huckabee made similar comments following the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, earlier this year saying violent acts should not be a surprise considering the removal of religion from public forums.
"We don't have a crime problem, or a gun problem, or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem," he said after the July shooting on Fox News. "And since we've ordered God out of our schools and communities; the military and public conversations... we really shouldn't act so surprised when all hell breaks loose."
Friday morning a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and opened fire killing 20 students and six adults before apparently killing himself. The tragedy has intensified the debate over gun laws in the U.S.
This tragedy is less about "violence in our schools," although in another sense it is (but not how Huckabee is framing it), and more about how we fail those disturbed young people in our families, our schools, and our communities. This was not Columbine, it was not bullied, disaffected students taking guns into the school and killing fellow students - this was a 20-year-old man who had not been in that school for many, many years.

We may never know what caused this young man to kill his mother and then drive her car to the school and kill 26 young students and faculty, and then himself. [For another perspective, check out the thoughts of neuroscientist David Eagleman.]

I do know that teaching children to fear judgment by an imaginary god is not going to deter mentally ill people from doing things we cannot fathom. [This is not to imply that all mentally ill people are prone to violence, however, people who commit acts such as this are mentally ill.]

We need to do a better job of identifying children who are at risk - those who are outsiders, who have few or no friends, who struggle with social roles, or who exhibit suicidal or homicidal ideation. We need to get them into counseling, into support groups, and, yes, even into spiritual communities and churches.

Children do not grow up to be mass murderers unless something has gone horribly, tragically wrong in their lives. This is where we need to focus our attention.

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