Open Phones: Religious Services This Weekend

Monday, December 17, 2012

Angels hang from a tree outside of St. Rose Church in Newtown, Conn., after the deadly shooting at nearby Sandyhook Elementary School. Angels hang from a tree outside of St. Rose Church in Newtown, Conn., after the deadly shooting at nearby Sandyhook Elementary School. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

What was the theme or message of a religious service you attended this weekend? Whether you were speaking or listening, the phone lines are open for your calls on the important messages at your temple, church, mosque or other religious center after the Newtown school shooting. Call in and share: 212-433-9692/WNYC. 

Comments [30]

Paula, thanks for hopping back on to this page. I doubt many listeners would be offended at the part of your comment that calls for spreading the general message of "spread love, through acts of kindness, tolerance..." But many do seem to be either offended or confused by the bad logic of suggesting that religion reduces violence or increases morality. According to the plain statistics, the exact opposite is true.

Consider praying on this entire comment page with your pastor. Listen to these voices, there is wisdom in them -- along with the very veins of tolerance and love that you were mentioning, in action. Listen.

Dec. 17 2012 09:21 PM
Paula from Madison

This is Paula again. When you have 30 seconds to make a point, it is hard to give a full picture. I feel the need to emphasize that when our pastor spoke of our culture of death - we all can see it everywhere in realistic, violent video games, movies, media and TV. It is an obsession. Our young men and women are becoming desensitized by violence. The pro choice movement is very powerful. It is UNPOPULAR to discuss religion or be religious in TV shows or radio shows, I believe in the separation of church and state. When I mentioned how GOD is not in our public schools....what I was referring to is the fact that people are spending so much time to pull it out of our pledge of alliance or have any discussion of it in general. religious tolerance should be discussed in schools if it is not already. I am not a religious extremist. I believe that what our pastor was asking us to do is the right thing to fight this culture of death...spread love, through acts of kindness, tolerance, and love of Jesus or whatever Loving God you believe in. Help those in need...especially the mentally ill or at risk kids. We need more of this communicated through the power of media and technology in our culture. a very powerful force of communication accessible to all.

Dec. 17 2012 01:26 PM
Blunt from nyc

I wish WNYC could have a real grown up conversation about religion.
Religion is in the same class as unicorns, santa clause, angels, "fill in your own supernatural blank"...
Where was God, where was Jesus, where were the unicorns and Santa?
How could this happen before Christmas? How could Hurricane Sandy happen before Halloween?
Just see things as grown ups for what they are and stop asking the SAME questions people have been asking for a millennium or more.

A grown up would ask about the laws in place and ways to prevent this from happening in the future and would Not raise God.

Leave God alone, he isn't the helicopter parent we were all taught to believe as children. Where was god during the holocaust or the bombing of Hiroshima or on 9-11 or "fill in your own disaster blank."

The same questions went unanswered for far bigger atrocities, and guess what, life went on. This CT killing, as horrific and tragic, is small in comparison to the acts of violence through time.

Dec. 17 2012 12:42 PM
John A

Did anybody see the first file minutes of "SNL" this weekend? It was pretty glorious, actually. An all child choir singing IIRC "Silent Night".

Dec. 17 2012 12:05 PM
Jf from Ny

Obama is not a liberal. He is as rightwing as any president has ever been. Look at his record again not how he looks. We do ha e a culture of death. We live in yhe biggest suicide cult in human history, and our government is helping the corporations destroy the earth in everyway possible. They practically use guns to say hi and turn lightswitches on on tv. Television shows are saturated with military reports death and unthinkable horrors like they have a fetish for it. We murder thousands of children in drone strikes and free fire zones, but i guess its okay when they are foreign toddlers. Religious people have it wrong heaven is supposed to be on earth. Not after you die. This is obv iously propaganda to make poor people give up everything to the rich and church.

Dec. 17 2012 12:05 PM

To people who say that the shooting was because of not enough religion ---



Maybe there's TOO MUCH "religion".

Dec. 17 2012 12:02 PM

when will our "culture of death" discussion include owners of semi-automatic weapons?

Dec. 17 2012 11:58 AM

Last night we had a beautiful christmas pageant by our children. The priest was short and sweet. Love each other, be patient, hug each other. Let's raise our children with patience, peace and love.

Dec. 17 2012 11:57 AM
John A.

Lack of Religion detrimental to society?
"Dexter", "The Sopranos", "Breaking Bad", "Two and a Half Men"
I can see it plainly. Plenty of bad influence, there needs to be that influence from the other side.

Dec. 17 2012 11:57 AM
Don McNeil from Poughkeepsie

In response to the tragedy, I wanted to start a discussion in my church about what a Christian response to Gun Violence would look like. Even though it was uncomfortable to talk about so soon and some people were not happy about me bringing it up, I felt we needed to seize the moment to talk about guns and gun culture, mental illness treatment and other related topics. I'm hoping to have a constructive and revealing discussion about what causes gun violence and how we can as a church, support human wholeness. We'll see what comes out of it.

Dec. 17 2012 11:57 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

"Culture of death" due to a lack of religion?
Fact: Religion has been the cause of countless atrocities throughout history and still continues to be so. Perhaps that caller should open a newspaper or a history book.

Also, she said "guns have always been around"...yes, but have AR-15 assault rifles? A gun designed for nothing else but to kill people and as many as possible in a short amount of time. How many of those did people back in the 1950s have in their homes back then?????

The caller suffered from the usual mindset that religious extremists suffer from: a total lack of consideration for facts and details. But facts and details matter. They are everything.

Dec. 17 2012 11:57 AM

first "political" email i've read from my rabbi
"...We willingly gave up our rights in the wake of 9\11 in the interest of public safety, but every year there are 10 "9\11"s in terms of casualties every year due to guns, and we do nothing. ... it is time we figure out where the right to "bear arms" collides up against the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".

We need to devote more resources to helping families deal with children and others who are mentally ill. It is scandalous that parents have to fight for every service and resource when their children are suffering from a mental illness. We have the money, it is simply a matter of national priorities.

Dec. 17 2012 11:57 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

Paula - While I respect your right to believe what you do, you might consider being a bit more careful before going on a rant about making religion in public schools the way forward after a tragedy like this--or any time, for that matter. What you and your priest forget is that we have had a separation between church and state outlined in the First Amendment. For those who think it's necessary to have this in schools, you may choose a parochial school to address your needs.

A discussion about a return to teaching ethics might better frame this, rather than wasting air time on a from-the-hip rant from a politician like Huckabee (or anyone else). It's one thing for the POTUS to reference something religious in considering his immediate audience this weekend (I've no knowledge that this community is particularly religious, but the volume of religious services honoring the community certainly points to it); I've no problem with that--his eulogy/speech was to his immediate audience first. But to feel that adding religion back to daily study would actually change anything is short-sighted; violence characterizes the base of all religions, and most Americans remember that violence in the name of religion has visited us on more than one occasion; the brand of religion matters not. Common sense and ethics, without religious reference, can and will reach anyone.

Brian - you knew this discussion would devolve as it has. Please control ranting callers better in future.

Dec. 17 2012 11:57 AM
Adelia from Manhattan

I am a clinical psychologist. I am not an expert in the history of psychiatric care, but I believe it was sometime in the late 70’s or early 80’s that many if not most state psychiatric hospitals were closed and there was meant to be a shift to community care. This was a reaction to the poor funding, poor treatment and lack of respect for the rights of the mentally ill.

I worked in a homeless shelter in Hartford for ten years, and during my time there, a tireless and devoted employee for the residents was stabbed to death just outside the shelter by a schizophrenic man, with a knife. A man whose family was desperate for him to get care and medication, but who refused. So it is really a different version of liberty and individual rights that adds to the dilemma.

Dec. 17 2012 11:55 AM

The caller who asked for more religion is our society made her point.

However, she did not condemn those who have killed MDs who provided women's OB/GYN services including the legal procedure of abortion.

Are she & her religious leader just cherry picking when/for whom "Thou shalt not kill" should apply

Dec. 17 2012 11:54 AM

In reply to the woman's comments on godlessness as a root of violence, a quick look on wikipedia shows a serious parallel between the most secular of countries and the ones with the least homicides - France, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, etc, etc

Dec. 17 2012 11:53 AM
Laurie Spiegel from NYC

Gun legislation is yet another instance of how much we need to modify the Fillibuster rules, which are unconstitutionally preventing majority rule so that a non-representative minority are hijacking issue after issue.

Dec. 17 2012 11:53 AM

I agree with elaien. Religion or "Putting God back in school" as I see on Facebook, isn't the answer to stop mass killings. Which god? Birth and death are realities in our lives. Though I am lapsed catholic and atheist, I attended catholic mass due to 6 year old son's interest in religion, and found the sermon to be concilitory and non-political.

Dec. 17 2012 11:52 AM

Paula from Madison, remind your preacher that America has far more churchgoers than every other Western country -- and far more gun deaths by the order of many magnitudes. And that is before you even include our wars.

Dec. 17 2012 11:52 AM
Angela from Manhattan

I find the assumption of many--not all-- religious people (for example, your recent caller and Mike Huckabee) that those of us with no religion all ascribe to "a culture of death" and have no moral framework to be extremely offensive. Those who feel that lack of religion in schools is the answer to our problems mean, of course, that THEIR religion is the one and only answer. I have yet to hear one of them say that a discussion in schools inclusive and accepting of all religions, no religion, philosophy and reason may be far more productive--and encourage real thought.

Dec. 17 2012 11:52 AM

Where was Jesus in that first grade class???!!!???

Dec. 17 2012 11:52 AM
Lindsey from New York, NY

It is incredibly offensive that this woman thinks that a lack of Christianity is the reason mass shootings occur. Does she forget the religion is leading cause of massacres and murders world wide? Is she that removed from reality? You know what doesn't kill people? Atheism, humanism. Stop just taking callers who associate morals with religion, and nothing else. Haven't we moved beyond that?

Dec. 17 2012 11:51 AM
clkq from nyc

Our priest asked where God was on Friday? He drew a parallel between our questioning that and how Mary must have stood under the cross and asked the same. But he ended with God being there in the form of the brave teachers, the first responders and the love so evident in all. May I add that I worked in a pediatric hospice and was asked more than once by a child if I saw the "lovely lady" or the angel or their grandmother in the corner. They were surprised that I didn't see them but not really bothered. It always came within a day or so of their death so I know on Friday in all the chaos and fear, angels in the corner called those children and swept them up in safety, peace and love.

As to you Elaien, of course you are appalled too - there was no question - ignore the religious part you don't like and just concentrate on the love and support each of us can give to each other. That is holy enough.

Dec. 17 2012 11:50 AM
John A

It's OK to pick a nasty time to reconsider the alliances you find in a church, to go back there and observe. I picked 11-Sep-2001 as the issue that changed my life and haven't missed mass since. The priest has not requested I vote Republican. The priests have not asked me to put aside reasoning.

Dec. 17 2012 11:50 AM
dboy from nyc


Religious kooks!!!!

Dec. 17 2012 11:49 AM
john from office

Folks we are at war because of "religion". Religion has been the cause of most wars and massacres.

Lets not attack the president over the lack of religion.

Dec. 17 2012 11:48 AM
fuva from harlemworld

How obnoxious of religious people to think that (their) religion is the only way to morality and righteousness. How godly is self-glorification?

Dec. 17 2012 11:48 AM

great the caller want to force her myths on me.
yes that would make us all happier to go to her church and do as she says/thinks

Dec. 17 2012 11:47 AM
Lindsey from New York, NY

The current caller is insane. Totally brainwashed.

Dec. 17 2012 11:45 AM
elaien from westchester, ny

I am an atheist. I was disturbed at the excessive amount of god and Jesus at the interfaith memorial last night. There should have been some mention of the non-believers or, actually, someone invited to speak who could do so w/o the mention of god, etc. Those of us who are non-believers are just as appalled at what happened as those who attend one church or another.

Dec. 17 2012 11:20 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.