Trying to figure out how to deal with the massacre of children at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Connecticut is no easy task. For reporters, "dealing" isn't supposed to be the goal, reporting is. But for CNN's Ashleigh Banfield, reporting is of less interest than placing blame even to the point of blaming God for the crime.
On December 19, the CNN anchor interviewed Rabbi Shmuley Boteach ostensibly to discuss the lack of reverence for God in American schools. Banfield reported that some blame this lack of reverence for setting the stage for these sorts of crimes.
During the segment, Banfield quoted the head of the American Family Association, Bryan Fischer, who said that one reason this massacre happened is that "we’ve kicked God out of out of the public school system." This, Banfield editorialized, was an outrage.
God is a gentleman and thus will not save 20 children until we invite him back into the public school system? How can people get away with this kind of thing?
Banfield's guest's reply was quite outrageous. Without knowing anything about Mr. Fischer, Rabbi Boteach proclaimed that Fischer was "not a religious man" and that if he is telling people he's religious, why Bryan Fischer is little else but a lair. "Just because someone claims to be religious doesn't mean they are," he said.
What incredible hubris the Rabbi displayed. One wonders if the good Rabbi has enough introspection to realize that his statement about "what someone claims" could easily be turned back upon himself?
In exasperation, Banfield asked what is probably one of the oldest questions asked by man, one with which theologians and scholars have wrestled for time immemorial.
Rabbi, then why did God do it? If it's time for us to challenge God, why did he do it?
Of course, because we have free will, most theologians would say God wasn't the one that did this crime. It was man's will guided by evil (or Satan, if you will).
But in reply, the Rabbi felt that we should put our needs above God's and re-imagine ourselves as the source of determining God's role. He said that we "need a new approach to religion" in this country and that we "have a right to challenge God" about these incidents and we shouldn't just "always surrender in silent submission to God's will." "That is real religion," Rabbi Boteach proclaimed.
"We don't want God as comforter, we want God as protector," the Rabbi said.