Following the riots in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, where white nationalists clashed with counter protesters, Julia Duin, journalist and former religion editor for Washington Times, reports that there has been 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 – urging white pastors to speak up.”
The key question for Julia Duin is “Did the opinion pieces and all the fire on Twitter bleed over into the mainstream news coverage?” Here’s what she observed:
On the face of it, the riots in Charlottesville didn’t have a strong religious component. I mean, other than the fact that Neo-Nazis are not fond of Roman Catholics, historic black churches, Jews, Pentecostal Christians (the most racially mixed churches in America), Southern Baptists and others.
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.