While most decent people around the globe were horrified by the attack, some fundamentalist Christians were more outraged by the band and their song "Kiss the Devil", accusing the band of Satan worship. Religious Right commentator Kevin Swanson, who gained national attention this month for his homophobic rant at the Freedom 2015 conference, is among the latter. Swanson used his radio show to demonized the victims of the Bataclan attack, unfazed by the murders of dozens of innocent people. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
During the November 19th edition of Generations Radio, Swanson was devoid of pity for the victims of last week's Paris attacks. Rather, he criticized the victims for dancing to "Kiss the Devil", calling the concert a "worship service" to Satan. At the 10:37 mark, he told listeners that the Devil himself drove the terrorists to attack the club, sneering at the concert-goers for celebrating "the works of the Devil as your friends were being shot up in that concert". By blaming the Bataclan attack on Satan, Swanson absolved the terrorists of responsibility for their actions and made intelligent analysis of the attacks impossible.
"It's a warning, certainly a providential irony here. These are the works of the devil, the mass murder itself are the works of the Devil. In other words, there was a demonstration of the Devil and his works happening at the time that they were singing the song ... At the moment they were singing that, the Devil himself, or at least the Devil influencing these murderers, entered in and showed the concert-goers the works of the Devil.Swanson quoted 1 John 3:8 -- "The one who does what is sinful is of the devil" -- and accused the concert-goers of "practicing the works of the Devil" by dancing to "Kiss the Devil". At the 11:58 mark, he denounced the victims for their sin.
Now at that point, I think we need to ask the concert-goers, at least those who survived, did you love the Devil and did you love the Devil's works as your friends were being shot up in that massacre? I think we ought to ask the question right now, and I'm very serious. I'm deadly serious asking this question. You were dancing to this worship service to the Devil. The Devil came in, the Devil did what the Devil does best, he killed, he massacred, he destroyed. As the Devil did his works ... did you appreciate the works of the Devil as your friends were being shot up in that concert?"
"Those who were sinning, those who were in that concert sinning on the one hand, of course, dancing to the worship service, but also those who were shooting up the concert-goers, these were those who were practicing the works of the Devil."At the 13:12 mark, Swanson's co-host Steve Vaughn suggested that the Eagles of Death Metal members were spared by Satan so as to continue his work. Vaughn seemed to have forgotten that several employees of the band's record company were killed in the terrorist attack.
"What's interesting too is that none of the band members were harmed. And so the Devil essentially saved his preachers to go out and preach some more."At the 14:02 mark, Swanson suggested moral equivalency between ISIS and the "demon worshipers" at the concert. Swanson conveniently forgot that the attackers were Islamic extremist murderers and the victims were innocent people.
"It's also interesting that ISIS is at war with the humanist West, and I would say that these ISIS devil worshipers have pitted themselves against humanist devil worshipers. So you see, I'm not on either side here. I'm not taking the side of the devil worshipers performing the concert. I'm not on the side of ISIS, who are slaughtering the demon worshipers in the concert. I'm not on either side. It's interesting [that] the Devil takes both sides, and then shoots each other up. This is exactly what the Devil does best."Swanson and Vaughn spent the rest of the episode expressing outrage over "Satanic" rock bands from the 1970s and 1980s such as Black Sabbath, Slayer, and Alice Cooper. At a time when decent people are grieving for the Paris victims, Swanson and Vaughn are clutching their pearls over forty year-old rock music.
Swanson and Vaughn's smug self-righteousness disgusted me. Only men with hearts of stone could blame the innocent victims of a terrorist attack for their own deaths. Swanson and Vaughn showed no compassion for the victims, seemingly more enraged by their music tastes than by their deaths. It says volumes that Eagles of Death Metal have shown more compassion and decency in the wake of the Bataclan attack than either of these so-called men of God.
This is the moral universe that Swanson lives in, a universe in which dancing to "Kiss the Devil" is morally equivalent to terrorism, a universe in which murder victims merit no grief, a world in which evil is blamed on an invisible boogeyman.
You know what, Kevin? I'll take devilish musicians over cold-hearted men like you any day.