Yeah, my Mom sent me the same poem. I glanced at it and deleted it.
I saw it a few days ago on The Thinking Atheist's Facebook page. I was pretty pissed. If I were the parent of one of the children who had been killed and someone forwarded that poem to me, I would want to punch the person in the mouth. And I'm not a violent person, either... I haven't even raised my voice in about sixteen years.
My reaction to it was similar, and I (mabe mistakenly) said so on a mailing list I belong to when someone posted it with the preface "awesome poem...so touching!"
Of course, that probably didn't go over well. Mostly I got roundly ignored, but one of the ladies, who is actually a pretty good friend (and born again Christian) did chastise me, and let me know that such a poem would, in fact, be something very comforting to those who "believed in the almighty and in the afterlife". She also said she wished she had never opened my email. So I felt that I should apologize for at least the curtness of my response and explain my reasoning a bit more clearly, and she later answered that she saw my point "to a degree" and we would have to discuss some more. Which is fine, because she's generally quite willing to concede points even though she won't be swayed from her belief. It's just nice to be actually listened to by a fundy, though.
Anyway, it turned out that my main beef with the poem, and the part she actually saw the point of my problem with, lay toward the end of it, so for whoever hasn't seen it yet, I guess I'll have to quote the whole piece of drek again:
twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
"where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
"this is heaven." declared a small boy. "we're spending Christmas at God's house."
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"
"may this country be delivered from the hands of fools"
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
"come now my children, let me show you around."
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
"in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."
This is what I told her:
Sorry...I didn't even mean that in the sense of not having a belief in afterlife/almighty,,,I just couldn't imagine that anyone of any faith who had lost a child in such a brutal, senseless way could see a message like that of the poem as anything but, I don't know....trivializing, I guess. Even if I had huge amounts of faith, I think that as one of those parents, it would have been severely shaken, maybe even shattered...and then the depiction of Jesus stretching out his hand and saying he's simply going to take back his nation and schools? Just like that? If he could do that, why did he allow this massacre? If he couldn't then why is the poem depicting him promising to do that NOW? AFTER these families' losses? Is that something that would really bring them comfort?
I don't know. Maybe you are right. I do try to understand the mind of the believer, and I think I do have a reasonable idea of how a person of faith would feel and react in various situations, but in this case, as I said, I feel as though the sheer senselessness of the massacre would deeply rock any faith I had, and I don't know that I'd be ready, so soon afterward, to read something which made my loss, and the loss of the community out to be something which could be bandaged by cliche.
If the poem had at least been well-written, it might have been more powerful and evocative, maybe. Maybe. But it comes off as having been tumbled together with no regard to anything but finding a rhyme, and I think that contributes to the sense of glibness I feel in it. Does that make any sense?
Again, sorry for having caused offense. It really wasn't meant that way, and I honestly did feel that this particular poem at this particular time could have come off more as a hurt than a comfort to many of them.