Steve McSwain, a former Baptist minister who is now a nationally known interfaith activist, addressed Huckabee directly, writing:

“With such remarks, you not only show little regard for those broken by this tragedy, but you make God into some kind a cosmic psychopath — vengeful, sickeningly repulsive, one who takes out his madness on innocent little children.

“Your reasoning is repulsive: Because we have removed your god from our schools, this is how your god gets even?” he wrote.

The intensity of the rhetoric underscores how quickly discussions of the religious underpinnings of tragedy can turn heated. Little noticed among Huckabee’s critics is that he didn’t say God turned his back on Newtown; he expressly said God was there in the good works people were doing.