By Lucien Greaves Posted to Richard Dawkins
Soon after the violent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville this month, religious leaders and pious politicians began the usual drudgery of fitting the events into their preferred narratives.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) seized the opportunity to rail against secularism, declaring that the whole thing was but a symptom of a rampant evil that has been allowed to freely permeate public schools unmitigated by the moral corrective of compulsory Bible study. Some Christian leaders, such as Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., said little about the actual events in Charlottesville, but praised President Trump’s “bold” and “truthful” statement at his news conference three days after the protest, which claimed “many sides” were to blame and that all sides harbored some “very fine people.” American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer blamed Democrats.
But the consensus among Christian leaders was that Satan was at fault. As Evangelist Franklin Graham put it: “Shame on the politicians who are trying to push blame on President Trump for what happened in Charlottesville. … Really, this boils down to evil in people’s hearts. Satan is behind it all.” Premier Christianity, a popular news and culture blog “from a Christian perspective,” condemned both white supremacy and Trump’s equivocating response to it as “Satanic.” Similarly, Morgan Guyton, director of the NOLA Wesley Foundation, the United Methodist campus ministry at Tulane and Loyola universities in New Orleans, saw in Charlottesville a “manifestation of Satan’s power.” Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, denounced white supremacy as “Satanism” and “devil-worship.”