Do School Shootings Happen because God is Not Allowed in Schools?


Since Friday’s school shooting, Facebook has been flooded with pictures and status updates that blame the massacre on our nation’s rejection of God. But do school shootings happen because God is not allowed in schools?

I don’t think so.

The picture I’ve been seeing most often on Facebook has been of a gray T-shirt bearing the following inscription:

God is not allowed in schools, but is that really why we have school shootings and other violence?

This is the picture I’ve been seeing all over Facebook… I’m not a fan.

Dear God,

Why do you allow so much violence in our schools?

a concerned student


Dear concerned student,

I’m not allowed in schools.


And to that message, many Jesus-loving, well-meaning Christians have said a hearty “Amen!”

Not me.

If school shootings happen because God is not allowed in schools, why do church shootings happen?

Have we already forgotten about the fatal shooting that occurred in October at an Atlanta church? Or last year’s shooting in a Florida church that wounded the pastor and associate pastor? I’m also reminded of the Colorado shootings five years ago that killed five and injured five at a YWAM base and at New Life Church.

According to one man’s tracking of reports, there have been 633 “Deadly Force Incidents” in American churches over the last 14 years… that’s about 45 a year. (SourceDid these shootings, stabbings, poisonings, and other violent actions happen because God is not allowed in our churches?


The fact is, God IS allowed in our schools — He just isn’t allowed in the curriculum. But if godly curriculum was the answer, then we wouldn’t have any violence in our churches!

Maybe the same problem exists in our schools as exists in our churches.

If your children are Christians, then God lives inside of them. The problem isn’t that God is not allowed in schools (your kids don’t “check” Him at the door when they go in). The problem is that He’s stuck inside the students. As a nation, we haven’t trained up our Christian children — who carry God to school with them every day — to effectively let Him out!

For over a century in America, we had the luxury of the Christian God being an integral part of our schools’ curricula. Unfortunately, America’s “freedom of religion” has really become a “freedom to be religious.” In other words, our society’s low-cost Christianity has opened the door for people to be Christian in name only — going to church on Sunday at little to no cost to their own wellbeing. As a result, Christianity is now seen as little more than a curriculum for outdated morality. And as such, nominal Christian Americans feel helpless trying to push their “morality curriculum” into the public school arena.

Maybe they’re fighting the wrong fight.

School massacres happened back when God was still allowed in school curriculum (and before violent video games or movies too).  The most horrific on the list — killing 44 and injuring 58 — happened in Bath Township, Michigan, back in 1927. (Source) You can’t blame video games, movies, television, or Godless curriculum for that one (same goes for all the others that happened before the 1960’s…and there are plenty).

Curriculum doesn’t transform hearts. Jesus does.Knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” (See 1 Corinthians 8:1.) The Law helps identify and define sin, but it cannot (and never will) change a person into a new creation.

As nice and wonderful as it might be, the solution is not having God in the school curriculum. The solution is training our children to BE the godly curriculum in their schools!

My wife attended one of the biggest public high schools in the United States. She stayed pure and free from the world. How? On a regular basis, her parents would remind her: “You’re a light at that school. You’re the only Bible that some of your friends will ever read. Don’t take your role lightly! God wants to use you there for great things!”

Few of her friends were Christians, but she made a difference there for the kingdom of God.

Hostile environments are great for the Gospel if the Christians within that environment aren’t ashamed.

  • God is not allowed in China, but revival is happening there.
  • God is not allowed in North Korea, but revival is happening there.
  • God is not allowed in Iran, but revival is happening there too.

If you ask me, our schools are overdue for revival!

Admittedly, China, North Korea, Iran, and many other anti-Christian nations are full of violence too; but again, I can’t blame this on God not being allowed there. God IS there. The difference between these nations and our schools, however, is the way Christians there handle the Gospel.

  • In restricted nations, the Gospel is spread through acts of self-sacrificial love for the lost. In our schools, our children are warned to find Christian friends and avoid the world.
  • In restricted nations, the Gospel is spread through demonstrations of God’s supernatural power and grace (healing, miracles, prophecy, deliverance, etc.). In our schools, our children are warned to follow the Law of Moses: Don’t lie, cheat, steal, hate, use bad language, dishonor teachers, etc. (The focus being on “don’t” rather than “do.”)
  • In restricted nations, the Gospel is spread through bold proclamations of life in Christ. In our schools, our children are encouraged to invite people to youth group (where they can learn to invite more people to youth group).

That last one wasn’t an attack on churches or youth groups — many churches are doing a great job preaching the Gospel. My point is simply that all of us — pastors, parents, youth pastors, grandparents, and others — need to put ministry in the hands of the children! You can preach the Gospel in Church until you’re blue in the face, but societal transformation won’t happen until we send out our children “as salt and light” within their own spheres of influence.  And I’m not talking about them merely being “salt and light” through moral lifestyles. I’m talking about them being demon-stomping, darkness-shattering, gates-of-hell-smashing representatives of Jesus!

  • Our students need boldness and empowerment from the Holy Spirit.
  • Our students need clarity about their mission.
  • Our students need encouragement from Godly adults.
  • Our students need to know that it’s okay and good to pray in school even if it’s not allowed.
  • Our students need to be loved and embraced when they’re rejected by their friends.
  • Our students need effective tools for evangelism.

And what “tools” do our students need? It’s interesting to note that Jesus didn’t give His band of young adults a bunch of Gospel tracts and pamphlets before sending them out.

Luke 9:1-2 — When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. (NIV84)

Go and do likewise with our children.

God bless,

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9 Responses to “Do School Shootings Happen because God is Not Allowed in Schools?”

  1. Katie DivinetsDecember 17, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    Shamba bamba this is glorrryy!!!! Im a Junior in high school and this just encouraged my heart to the max!!! We need more spiritual mothers and fathers like this to encourage our young generation to STEP OUT and love the “hell” out of people. Thank you for this!! YAY GOD!

  2. AnonymousDecember 18, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    How do you explain the violence done “because god told me too”? There have been numerous cases most famous being the woman drowning her children in the bathtub. And before we dismiss them as just crazy, recall the story of Abraham where he was asked to kill his son.

    • ArtDecember 18, 2012 at 10:43 am #

      In the case of Abraham, God stopped him from killing Isaac. God wanted to put Abraham’s faith to the test, but He didn’t actually want Isaac dead.

      In the cases where people actually follow through with their violence “because God told me to,” God told them no such thing. Remember that God is not the only being inhabiting the spiritual realm. Demons can talk to people the same way, and that’s why it’s important that Christians grow in discernment.

  3. KatieDecember 18, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    The problem I have with these posts and t-shirts is this. At the least, it assumes that non religious, or non Christian people are immoral. I have known loving, law abiding non religious people and atheists. Their morality does not come from their religion. Secondly, I think it’s quite an insult to God. When we say school shootings are a result of not allowing God in schools, we are saying God allows madmen to rampage into a school and murder children because people aren’t allowed to pray. I cannot believe in a God like that. I think attitudes like this are pushing people from God. Let’s not act like God doesn’t stop shootings because His feelings are hurt by a few who don’t believe in Him. God loves all of His children, right? Not just the ones who pray?

  4. Passer ByDecember 18, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    So your saying to keep God out of our schools?????

    • ArtDecember 18, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

      What in this article implies that I said that?

  5. EphraimDecember 20, 2012 at 1:09 am #

    When I hear or make such comments, its with the mindset that such murderous appetite wouldn’t be in the heart of the perpetrators who were usually young if they had known God or were taught about his love in schools. I think to a large extent, this is the same frame of mind which most other persons have, not that God has chosen to punish students since he was excluded from the curriculum.
    A look at the Michigan killings of 1927 shows it was a bomb blast which was planned by a full grown man who had issues with his wife and life. We are more troubled when visibly young children are in this killing spree with guns, which ends in suicide as was the case in Columbine and Connecticut lately. You all know that life without Christ is crisis. Would a knowledge of God’s love perhaps through the school curriculum not have changed or put them on the right path? Could be hypothetical but faith comes by hearing, and knowledge of God is usually the first step to a glorious relationship with him.

    • ArtDecember 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

      Ephraim – The point of this article is not to say that allowing God in school curriculum would be a bad idea or that it shouldn’t happen. The point is that it’s not the magical solution. If God is allowed in the curriculum and yet we still don’t do our part in raising up Spirit-filled, Jesus-loving Christian children who know how to express Jesus all around them, then we haven’t really accomplished anything.

      The law is a tutor, and as such, it provides a great “artificial conscience” for people who don’t have the Holy Spirit. Making society aware of God’s law isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But the law never changes hearts. If God was allowed in our nation’s curricula, I would still be making the same points about the need for children to learn how to express and reveal Jesus through demonstrations of God’s power and love.

  6. LauraDecember 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    Well said! My first response to those posts and that t-shirt was criticism for those Christians whose God was somehow not omnipresent and for blaming others for failing to follow when they are in no way leaders. We fail when we are not like Jesus, who sat with the sinner. Too many times we forget that Jesus’s condemnation was for the religious order of His day. Too many times I fear that we have become that which He despised.

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