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Discussion 3 to Meditation 1015
An inconvenient rash of church shootings

by: JT

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As noted in my original comments, certain Christian commentators blamed the Newtown shooting on the absence of God from schools.

Earlier this week, someone posted on Facebook that there had been 115 church shootings in the USA in 2012. I didn't believe it, so I had to research it.

I believe the source, at least for that number was a Christian blog* which refers to 115 "incidents of church violence," of which 63 involved at least one fatality. And this was an article written 20 November - before the Newtown shooting - and over a month before the year was out. And we did not hear anyone crediting the violence on the absence of God from places of worship. Just a recognition that churches had to improve their security.

A site which tracks church violence showed the final totals** for last year to be 135 incidents and 75 dead. And while the site owner is interested in improving church security, at no point does he suggest the violence is due to the absence of God from places of worship.

A person might argue there's a difference. These church incidents were just individual killings, not mass killings. Mass killings occur in schools.

In 2012, (as of December 14) there were 16 incidents classified as mass shootings.*** Schools and Universities accounted for two each for a total of four. Only a quarter of mass shootings occurred in educational facilities, but somehow only those are blamed on god's absence.

Religion in schools is not going to solve the problem. Neither of the sources for church violence statistics calls for increased religion in places of worship as a solution. Rather they both emphasize increased security.

If churchgoers know they cannnot rely on God to protect them in church, why would anyone expect God to protect children in school?



* Church Shootings Prompt Pastors to Reevaluate Security by Melissa Steffan, Gleanings, November 20, 2012

** Security!? In a Church? Ministry Violence Statistics.

*** Sixteen US Mass Shootings Happened in 2012, Leaving at Least 88 Dead by George Zornick, The Nation, 14 December 2014.