Home / Views & Opinion / We need more God in church or church shootings wouldn't happen: the fallacy of the "no prayer in school" argument
We need more God in church or church shootings wouldn't happen: the fallacy of the "no prayer in school" argument

We need more God in church or church shootings wouldn't happen: the fallacy of the "no prayer in school" argument

When the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school occurred, it shook the nation.  Immediately afterwards, prominent "men of God" Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, and the AFA's Bryan Fischer immediately, and without regard for the families pronounced it as fact that the reason why this school shooting had occurred was because God was not allowed in school–a reference to  the myth that prayer is not allowed in schools, which many Americans believe and were echoing after the incident.

Using their logic, I have compiled a list of church shootings, and have come to the conclusion that God was not allowed in the following churches.  Stay away from them, and only go to church where no shootings have occurred because that's where God will be.  Unfortunately, there might be a problem, because shootings have happened in nearly every faith:  Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant, Amish, Greek Orthodox, Evangelical, Unitarian,Mormon,  the list goes on.  Interestingly, shootings in evangelical churches seem to take up most of the list.  Pray harder, evangelicals, because apparently God isn't in your church enough. Maybe we should legislate prayer in churches, in order to force God to be there!  Or maybe……God doesn't like you?  Hey. Just using your logic there.  Don't shoot the messenger.

There's even Scriptural back up for having guns in church.  Just like evangelicals want teachers to pack a gun.  Priests and pastors with guns!  What fun!

 Bob Unruh of World Net Daily said in 2007 that churches ought to arm themselves, so I want to see pastors packing those guns like you want teachers to pack weapons!  Bryan Fischer of the AFA says that AR15's  are just a "fancy pants hunting rifle " so if  he as a man of God approves, you better follow Scripture and make your pastor get one!   The below list is what happens when you don't follow God's advice on the subject because after all, as Unruh says:

“Self-defense is not just a right, but a Christian duty. Jesus told his followers, ‘if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one,’” said Cass. “Christians are not to be a soft target for the hateful and deranged. Church leaders have a duty not to allow a crazed gunman to come and shoot up their congregation.

The following list is attributed to this site, with recent additions of my own:

December 26, 2012:  A “Christmas party” at a Greek Orthodox Church of St. Anthony in Philadelphia, PA. Around 1:17 a.m. on Dec. 26th, one person was shot inside, and two others were shot in the parking lot outside. (Although the party had nothing to do with the church other than it being rented out for the occasion, shouldn't God have been there?  It's a church, right?)  

December 21, 2012:  Woman decorating church at Juniata Gospel Church is killed when a man fired shots through the window. Gunman was shot by police.

October 24, 2012:  Multiple gunshots rang out in the chapel of the World Changers Church International in College Park, Georgia, around 10 a.m.  The suspected gunman was identified as Floyd Palmer, a 52-year-old former church maintenance worker who resigned from his job in August, said Fulton County Police Corporal Kay Lester.  One man leading a prayer service was killed.

Palmer was arrested in an Atlanta shopping mall, nearly six hours after the shooting, said Jeff Foley, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service.

February 14, 2010 – Richmond, California -Three hooded men walk into Gethsemane Church of God in Christ and opened fire and then fled the scene, as the singing of the choir was replaced by frightened screams. The two victims, a 14-year-old boy and a 19-year-old man, were hospitalized.

March 8, 2009 – Maryville, Illinois -Suspect Terry Joe Sedlacek, 27, of Troy, walks into the First Baptist Church, and shoots pastor Fred Winters dead, point blank. Several church members are injured by a knife in the struggle to capture after the attack, The suspect also had stabbed himself, but survived, when his gun jams.

July 27, 2008 – Knoxville, Tennessee – A gunman opens fire in a church during a youth performance, killing two people and injuring seven.

Dec. 9, 2007 – Colorado – Three people are killed and five wounded in two shooting rampages, one at a missionary school in suburban Denver and one at a church in Colorado Springs. The gunman in the second incident is killed by a guard.

May 20, 2007 – Moscow, Idaho – A standoff between police and a suspect in the shootings of three people in a Presbyterian Church ended with three dead, including one police officer.

Aug. 12, 2007 – Neosho, Missouri -First Congregational Church – 3 killed – Eiken Elam Saimon shot and killed the pastor and two deacons and wounded five others.

October 2, 2006–Nickel Mines, PA–Amish school. (I've put this one in here because Amish schools are religious schools run by church district).  Non-Amish gunman Charles Roberts IV took hostages and shot ten girls, ages 6-13, before turning the gun on himself. Two girls had died at the school house, one was pronounced dead on arrival at Lancaster General Hospital, and two sisters survived until the early hours of October 3 when they were taken off of life support.

May 21, 2006 – Baton Rouge, Louisiana – The Ministry of Jesus Christ Church – 4 killed – The four at the church who were shot were members of Erica Bell's family; she was abducted and murdered elsewhere; Bell's mother, church pastor Claudia Brown, was seriously wounded – Anthony Bell, 25, was the shooter.

Feb. 26, 2006 – Detroit, Michigan -Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church – 2 killed + shooter – Kevin L. Collins, who reportedly went to the church looking for his girlfriend, later killed himself.

April 9, 2005 – College Park, Georgia -A 27-year-old airman died after being shot at a church, where he had once worked as a security guard.

March 12, 2005 – Brookfield, Wisconsin -Living Church of God – 7 killed + shooter – Terry Ratzmann opened fire on the congregation, killing seven and wounding four before taking his own life.

July 30, 2005 – College Park, Georgia – World Changers Church International – shooter killed – Air Force Staff Sgt. John Givens was shot five times by a police officer after charging the officer, following violent behavior.

Dec. 17, 2004, Garden Grove, Calif.: A veteran musician at the Crystal Cathedral shoots himself to death after a nine -hour standoff.

Oct. 5, 2003 – Atlanta, Georgia -Turner Monumental AME Church – 2 killed + shooter – Shelia Wilson walked into the church while preparations are being made for service and shot the pastor, her mother and then herself. June 10, 2002 – Conception, Missouri -Benedictine monastery – 2 killed + shooter – Lloyd Robert Jeffress shot four monks in the monastery killing two and wounding two, before killing himself.

March 12, 2002 – Lynbrook, New York – Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church – 2 killed – Peter Troy, a former mental patient, opens fire during Mass, killing the priest and a parishioner. He later receives a life sentence.

May 18, 2001 – Hopkinsville, Kentucky -Greater Oak Missionary Baptist Church – 2 killed – Frederick Radford stood up in the middle of a revival service and began shooting at his estranged wife, Nicole Radford, killing her and a woman trying to help her.

Sept. 15, 1999 – Fort Worth, Texas -Wedgewood Baptist Church – 7 killed + shooter – Larry Gene Ashbrook shot dead seven people and injured a further seven at a concert by Christian rock group Forty Days in Fort Worth, Texas before killing himself.

April 15, 1999 – Salt Lake City, Utah -LDS Church Family History Library -2 killed + shooter – Sergei Babarin, 70, with a history of mental illness, entered the library, killed two people and wounded four others before he was gunned down by police.

OK….discuss this among you.   Obey God, pray every day, read your Bible,  and you won't get shot up in church.  Right?

About Dakota O'Leary

Dakota O'Leary is a freethinker, and often sassy, scholar of theology and literature. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theology from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and her Master of Arts degree in Theology and Literature from Antioch University-Midwest. She is a contributing writer focusing on eschatology, biblical prophecy, and general religious news. Dakota is a co-host of the God Discussion radio show, offering insight to the news stories of the week. We like to call her "our in-house Biblical prophecy expert" as her articles on eschatology have received over 200,000 views on God Discussion.
  • Spuddie

    But they weren't the right churches so God looked the other way. =)

    • lana ward

      You're stupid, you idiot.

      • Spuddie

        Very intelligent and loquacious post. =)

      • Deborah_B

        What is your IQ, Lana? What gives you the right to call people stupid and idiotic?

        • lana ward

          Stupid questions

  • Michael

    The sandy hook shootings were a fraud. The man Robbie Parker father of Emile, the little blonde girl, was laughing and smiling just before stepping in front of the news microphone. Full footage is on the internet. Ask yourself if that behaviour makes sense.

    • Peter

      Pardon? Do have a link for that. Or are you one of fools on About Top Secret who calls it was all fake, a false flag operation to confiscate guns?

      • http://www.facebook.com/diane.yoder.16 Diane Yoder

        Peter, MIchael is one of the growing group who thinks the Sandy Hook shooting was faked. American reason that deTocqueville so admired is fast disappearing.

    • Spuddie

      Didn't the Casey Anthony prosecutors try that line of reasoning? It didn't work out well for them. Can't say I would know exactly what would be an appropriate response if such an event happened to me personally. Never experienced anything like that. I bet neither have you.

      Besides if I was part of the evil conspiracy to take away your guns, I would probably have the resources to hire people capable of delivering a credible speech in front of cameras. What use would I be to my mysterious dark overlords, if I acted in a way that was so obvious everyone with youtube can figure out what I am doing?

      Cheap mediocre actors are easy to find. Now if you found footage of the same guy giving the same speech onstage, that would be something!

    • http://www.facebook.com/diane.yoder.16 Diane Yoder

      You're the reason the American people voted against Mitt Romney and all of you fringe conspiracy theorists. Blech.

  • Deborah_B

    This is actually quite stunning. Have there been more shootings in churches than schools? You are absolutely right — this smashes the argument about prayer in school. Very good piece.

    • lana ward

      You're stupid too!! These shootings are by GODLESS fools, they'll kill no matter where they are. How stupid!!

      • Spuddie

        At least Deborah is not the one claiming school prayer creates a bulletproof shield for people. That is pretty stupid.

        • lana ward

          Nothing creates a bulletproof shield from criminals. But having prayer in school may help kids not to be criminals when they get older. Having Godly values works!!!

          • Deborah_B

            Rather than calling people "stupid" — which adds nothing to an intelligent discussion — please give us your evidence, Ms. Ward. And while you are at it, please explain to us with facts why it is that secular countries have less major crimes than the pious ones. Finally, please enlighten us as to what god the "godly values" you discuss applies. Are you advocating for Christian Science prayer, Catholic prayer, Protestant prayer, Muslim prayer, or prayers to some other deity?

            • lana ward

              America was founded on Christian values, Ms Deborah. There has always been violence, but ever since the supreme court said it's ok to murder babies , there is less respect for life. And now God Almighty is being taken out of everything. Shootings will happen more and more. Their is only ONE God, all others are false!!!

              • Deborah_B
                • lana ward

                  I read the research, I suggest you read the Bible

                • Deborah_B

                  I've read it several times. You've missed the entire point of the research presented and have evaded specific questions. I'm done commenting with you. Apparently, in your words, I am too "stupid" to understand your points.

                • lana ward

                  There is nothing good going to come out of secular beliefs

                • Spuddie

                  Except for democracy, personal liberties, growing economies, peace.

                  So what have religious fundamentalists contributed to society? Nothing.

                • lana ward

                  Go to the sites– Bible questions answered-and- Acts international, they will answer ALL your questions!!

              • Spuddie

                No it wasn't. But its not like you will define "Christian values" in a clear way anyway.

                We were founded by people who were mostly lukewarm to religion and bitterly opposed any entanglement of government and religion. We have a tradition stretching 300+ years of separation of church and state. Before you type, you might want to look up Roger Williams and William Penn instead of relying on David Barton type crap.

                "Their is only ONE God, all others are false!!!"

                Its right in the Constitution! Oh wait, no it isn't.

              • http://www.facebook.com/diane.yoder.16 Diane Yoder

                Oh I love this argument from the Christian Right. As if more laws on women's bodies is going to stop that, first of all, and secondly, your self righteous religious views on the sanctity of life fast disappear when you cheer the death penalty (which Christ opposed, he refused to stone the adulterous woman), and cheerlead wars in God's name. Frankly, people like you make me sick.

                • lana ward

                  In the O.T. law commanded the death penalty for -murder- Genesis 9:6, Exodus 21:12, kidnapping-Ex. 21:16, bestiality-Ex.22:19, adultery-Lev.20:10, homosexuality-Lev.20:13, being a false prophet-Deut.13:5, prostitution and rape-Deut.22:24 and several other crimes. Christ did not oppose the death penalty, with the stoning of the woman, Christ was showing the Pharissees their hypocricy.Romans-13:1-7. Murdering inoccent, unborn babies is a crime for the death penalty!! Frankly, people like you have made our country sick!!

                • http://www.facebook.com/diane.yoder.16 Diane Yoder

                  So the Old Testament trumps Christ, the son of God? Have to wonder what kind of a Christian you are.

                • lana ward

                  God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirt are ONE God. Why? Do you believe there are 3 Gods in the Bible??

                • Peter

                  If god, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one did Jesus conceive himself with mother Mary? And why would pop sent his son to a back water place like Galilee to proclaim the word of god? god confused, me thinks. If you really read your bible in the first creation story it says: "Let us make man in our image. (Gen. 1:26) Who are these "us'. In fact, in Hebrew every time it uses god it's in the plural.

                • lana ward

                  Go to the site–Bible questions answered–type in what you want to know. I read what you want to know, but it's to much to write. They answer anything you want to know.ANYTHING

                • http://www.facebook.com/rox1smf Roxanne Brown

                  The OT also calls for the death penalty for children who talk back, people who eat shrimp, lobster or pork, and people who get tattoos. Should we be executing all of those people, too?

                  Methinks the Old Testament was useful for a wandering tribe of Bronze Age people who were easily distracted (from the worship of Yahweh); today, secular law holds only ONE of those "sins" (crimes) as (possibly) cause for the death penalty – murder. I don't think anyone needs a biblical law to realize that killing your fellow citizens is worthy of punishment.

                  Kind of odd for a nation supposedly based in biblical law, don't you think?

          • Spuddie

            Has never worked before. Plenty of criminals back in the "good old days" too.

            Just to rub it in:

            Joseph Stalin was raised in a seminary school from adolescence to adulthood. Had to say prayers daily. Trained to be a priest, wrote religious poetry in his youth, became one of the worst mass murderers of all time.

            Pol Pot was educated in a Catholic missionary school.

            Osama Bin Laden probably said his daily prayers on a regular basis.

            Adolf Hitler sang in a church choir as a boy and considered being a priest in his adolescence

            • lana ward

              How are things working without God in schools?

              • Spuddie

                Lana, God is everywhere.

                Maybe not yours. Your God seems to be a rather smallish and petty one which demands constant forced praise.

                Now are you talking about public schools, the ones funded by taxpayers of all faiths or the private ones you can pay for if you want a child to be educated in the faith of your choice?

                I don't have to pay for your God in schools. He has your money to use. =)

                As I said, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler and Osama Bin Laden used to say prayers on a constant basis in their schools. How did things work out for them?

      • Deborah_B

        The people behind smashing planes into the Twin Towers felt that they were performing God's will. Please enlighten us as to what makes a "GODLESS fool."

        • lana ward

          False god!! Almighty God would never suggest evil. NEVER

          • Deborah_B

            You should read the bible then, Lana. How about Abraham and Isaac, to start with?

            • lana ward

              I do read the Bible. Is that next on omuslims list of confiscations???

              • Peter

                Read your bible?

                I form
                the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do
                all these things. (Isaiah 45:7 KJV.)

                Shall a
                trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil
                in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? Amos 3:6 KJV)

                Out of the mouth of the
                most High proceedeth not evil and good? (Lamentations 3:38)

                In
                Eden he placed the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
                . So god created evil before he created A & E. Then this sad
                excuse for a deity suckered these innocents to eat. Didn’t this omnipotence,
                evil fool know they would eat giving him the
                excuse to punish them? Would A&E even know what good and evil were when he
                told them not to eat? A lesson in misplaced morality this god of yours is.

                • Deborah_B

                  Right on, Peter. But there are some who will never acknowledge that as they cling to what they perceive to be "the truth."

                • lana ward

                  You are pitiful!! But I'll pray for you, I'm just thankful I'm NOT you!!!!

                • http://www.facebook.com/diane.yoder.16 Diane Yoder

                  Likewise, we are grateful we are not you.

              • http://www.facebook.com/rox1smf Roxanne Brown

                Hell, it must be! I mean, how Muslim of him to be sworn in for his 2nd term – TWICE – on two different bibles!

                • lana ward

                  I can't believe he didn't use the koran!!!

          • Spuddie

            You are suggesting evil.

            You are attacking the faith of anyone who does not believe as you do. People who do that preach that unbelievers are unworthy of life.

            • lana ward

              So you believe ther is more than ONE God

              • Spuddie

                One, many, none, what I believe is my business. It is not the role of our government to ever care nor to enforce.

                You seem to be of the mind that our government is there to serve your beliefs and your beliefs only.

                Sorry, you can pay for the support of your own faith. You don't need my money to do it.

                • lana ward

                  Government is attacking my beliefs from all sides. Anything goe's, EXCEPT Christianity. Why is Christianity the only religion attacked?? It's because the dems are Godless!!

                • Spuddie

                  I can't help it if the 1st Amendment goes against everything you believe in.

                  Your beliefs run counter to the notion of democracy and liberties. Its not Christianity, its just being whiny. Its not that others are "godless", they just find your version of God immature and stupid.

                  Your version of "Christianity" venal, destructive and so weak that it has to be supported by force and coercion for anyone to care.

                  You don't seek liberties for yourself, you seek to beat everyone about the head with your beliefs with government sanction.

                • lana ward

                  You are a dem. All they are good for is spin. And you sure can spin

                • Spuddie

                  I vote for the best person in the position. I use my judgment and make decisions based on facts available. Obviously, you do not.

                • lana ward

                  Your judgment is on drugs

                • Spuddie

                  I have judgement, you just judge.

                  There is a difference.

                • lana ward

                  The dems are the Godless party

                • http://www.facebook.com/diane.yoder.16 Diane Yoder

                  Who is attacking your beliefs in this country? Instead of believing right wing rhetoric about the supposed war on Christians, I suggest you go to a country where Christians are truly persecuted to get some perspective. Nobody is saying you can't believe the way you do. Nobody is barring your church with guns forbidding you to attend, nobody is taking away your Bible. Just because you cannot have your way, like a child who denied candy, just because public schools don't pander to your ilk, you whine and cry about how your rights are being violated. We will NOT allow a Christian theocracy in this country just to satisfy your self righteous attitude. Go pout in the corner while the adults talk.

                • lana ward

                  Omuslim is attacking Christian beliefs, where in the hell have you been??

                • http://www.facebook.com/rox1smf Roxanne Brown

                  Don't be ridiculous! Most of my liberal friends are Christians, and I'll bet most everyone else here can say the same. Maybe you ought to check out the fine folks of the Christian Left. http://www.thechristianleft.org/

                • lana ward

                  No one can really be a Christian and believe there is nothing wrong with murdering babies!!

                • http://www.facebook.com/diane.yoder.16 Diane Yoder

                  Yet you in turn attack Islam, which many good people practice. Government is NOT attacking your beliefs. If you are not strong enough in your beliefs to live the way you want to without needing the entire nation to back you up, perhaps you should believe in something else.

                • lana ward

                  Christians are under attack from the gov. Islam is anything but a peaceful religion. I don't need the nation to back up my beliefs, but our now sesspool country sure needs Christian beliefs!!

                • http://www.facebook.com/rox1smf Roxanne Brown

                  Well, Spuddie, we're already paying to support their faith (and everyone else's) in the form of their being tax-exempt… so we have to pay more to make up the difference.

                • Spuddie

                  But in all fairness, its not just their faith getting the exemption. I have much fewer objections if it gets spread around to as many religions as possible.

                  The key to the Establishment Clause is fairness and inclusiveness.

        • lana ward

          Allah is a FALSE god. Muslims are lost and most of them are evil

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