By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com December 18 2012 3:07 PM ET
Several conservative Christian leaders across the nation are trying to make sense of Friday's deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., which lead to the murders of 26 people — 20 of them children — and they're pointing the finger at a "Godless" nation that they believe is too accepting of liberal evils like abortion and marriage equality.
It all started with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Just hours after news of the massacre broke on Friday, Huckabee said the tragedy should come as no surprise to a culture that has "systematically removed God from our schools." Huckabee clarified his statements on his Fox News program Sunday, saying he didn't really think that prayer in schools would have prevented the massacre, "but we've created an atmosphere in this country where the only time you want to invoke God's name is after the tragedy," according to The Huffington Post.
The antigay American Family Association's Bryan Fischer echoed Huckabee's claims, telling listeners on his AFA radio show that God could have protected the victims of the massacre but declined to do so because "God is not going to go where he is not wanted," according to video posted on LGBT blog Towleroad.
On Monday, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson took to the airwaves to blame America's acceptance of marriage equality and abortion specifically for the violence in Connecticut. Speaking on his morning radio show, Dobson outlined a litany of sins that he said have driven God away from America.
Right Wing Watch has the audio and transcript:
"Our country really does seem in complete disarray. I'm not talking politically, I'm not talking about the result of the November 6 election; I am saying that something has gone wrong in America and that we have turned our back on God.
"I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn't exist, or he's irrelevant to me and we have killed 54 million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences too.
"And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that's what's going on."
Never wanting to be outdone, the antigay haters at the Westboro Baptist Church took to Twitter on Friday to blame the gunman's actions on American acceptance of marriage equality. But when Westboro announced plans to picket Sandy Hook Elementary and the funerals of the victims, the "hacktivist" collective Anonymous hacked the group's accounts and posted key members' names and phone numbers online.
While right-wing "people of faith" find scapegoats for Friday's massacre, LGBT activists including the Human Rights Campaign expressed condolences and hopes for peace.
"We extend condolences, thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims as well as to the entire state of Connecticut which is still reeling from this senseless act violence," said HRC president Chad Griffin in a statement. "We note with sadness that it was less than a week since two innocent lives were lost at a mall in Oregon, and we offer our well-wishes and support to law enforcement officials investigating these truly heinous crimes.”