I’ve watched in shock and dismay as my social media feed reveals, one after another, people who are defending and even supporting Kyle Rittenhouse.
By and large, they’re evangelical Christians. More significantly, they’re people who claim to be pro-life.
How? How do they reconcile their militant opposition to abortion — even to the point of supporting legislation that prohibits and criminalizes medically prudent abortion — with their blatant disregard for the sanctity of life in the case of those slaughtered by Rittenhouse?
How does one justify valuing the life of an unborn, unnamed fetus over the lives of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber? Once a fetus becomes a living, breathing, named person, is it magically less valued? Were these men any less made in the image of God?
They rush to point out the flawed history of the victim — as if Rittenhouse had run a full background check before deciding who to murder. As if that should make any difference. No, Rittenhouse appointed himself judge, jury, and executioner based on one condition: They dared protest the murder of a black man at the hands of police — or so he assumed by their presence.
“But they were armed, too, and they attacked him,” they protest.
Armed, indeed, with a plastic bag and a skateboard. “Oh, but one man had a pistol!”
Yes, yes, he did — as do many persons in the increasingly common practice of having armed civilians in churches. Defense lawyers, take note: the Rittenhouse case will be your Cliff notes when your clients walk into churches and open fire into the congregation.
By and large, Rittenhouse’s supporters also seem to be anti-immigration. Or rather, anti-immigrant. The difference is subtle but meaningful.
“Well,” they say, indignant, “those people are breaking the law!”
How do they reconcile their complacency in the travesty of justice that is Rittenhouse’s not guilty verdicts, on charges from use of a dangerous weapon to first-degree intentional homicide with their hysteria over impoverished families committing illegal entry?
Maybe another way to ask the question is to ponder the reaction of these evangelicals, who are so concerned with life and law, had the Rittenhouse case involved a brown-skinned teen in a hoodie, shooting into the crowd of insurrectionists at the capitol on January 6th.
But let’s be realistic: in that scenario, there would have been a funeral, not a trial.
And that, in my opinion, reveals the root of the Rittenhouse hypocrisy.