Today, Mike Huckabee took the time from what I’m sure is a busy schedule to say that we have violence like this in schools because we don’t have God in our schools.
“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” Huckabee said on Fox News, discussing the murder spree that took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults in Newtown, CT that morning. “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”
This infuriates me. It’s insulting and it’s damaging. It’s insulting to me and everyone I know who has worked for the recognition of religious diversity and first amendment rights in our school systems. It suggests that the very work we have done, the struggles we have gone through to make sure students have their right to religious freedom, their right to believe or not believe as they choose respected, is responsible for tragedies like this.
Fuck you, Mike Huckabee. Fuck you.
But aside from that, I want to say this: I don’t think this is despicable because it’s politicizing what has happened today. I don’t think it’s despicable because Mike Huckabee is using a tragedy to score political points. I don’t think that’s what is happening. Much as I disagree with Mike Huckabee on any number of things, and much as I think he is drastically and harmfully wrong, I don’t think he can be reasonably faulted for talking about what he believes would prevent these crises from happening any more than the people I know who are using this to talk about gun control can be faulted for that.
These issues are political. Gun control is a political issue, but it is also an issue that can save lives, and if tragedies like this aren’t the time to talk about prevention, then frankly I don’t know when the fuck is. Mike Huckabee isn’t an asshole because he’s “politicizing” this issue. Mike Huckabee is an asshole because he hasn’t done the work to find out whether or not any of the things he’s said are actually true.
Today, Mike Huckabee is illustrating how reason is a moral obligation. How it’s not just important to have the courage of your convictions, it’s important to do the work required to make sure your convictions are right. He isn’t an asshole for politicizing a tragedy any more than anyone talking about gun control is. He’s an asshole because he is wrong about something that is so important and so incredibly easy to not be this wrong about.
Because when you believe things that are as dangerously false as the idea that, for fuck’s sake, more religion in schools could prevent gun violence, there is really no way to distinguish whether you’re evil or wrong. Whether Mike Huckabee is an evil fuck who’s lying his ass of about a tragedy to score political points, or he’s just a dangerously ignorant person spouting off bullshit about things he obviously hasn’t read any of the facts about, the result is the same.
Even if his only crime is being wrong, the result is exactly, precisely the same as if his crime is that he’s evil.
We have a moral obligation to make sure our beliefs are true, and today Mike Huckabee has shown us exactly, precisely why.
There are any number of other things to say about today, and any number of other people saying them. For now, this is what I have to say.