On the face of it, the riots in Charlottesville didn’t have a religious component. Yes, there were pastors marching in protest against the white nationalists, but so were lots of other people.
Then, everything went very wrong very fast. What I saw next, mainly on Twitter, were people demanding that white clergy nationwide condemn the white nationalist protest in their Sunday sermons. I was fascinated by how some media – who wouldn’t be caught dead implicating certain other groups when one of them does an act of violence – decided that all white Christian clergy have to answer for the violence in Charlottesville.
Do you think I’m painting with too broad a brush? Read this NBC News opinion piece blaming all of Christianity for the Ku Klux Klan and – by extension – the events in Charlottesville.
I saw a lot of lecturing at evangelical Protestants – who are reminded nonstop that 81 percent of them polled as voting for Trump last year – that they are responsible for what happened this past weekend. Much of this came in the form of opinion pieces ranging from an essay on Fox News’ site by a white Southern Baptist seminary professor to an essay in the Washington Post’s Acts of Faith section – written by a black clergyman – telling white pastors to speak up.