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Kyle Rittenhouse Is Neither a Hero nor a Villain, According to Some Christian Leaders

Kyle Rittenhouse
Pictured: Kyle Rittenhouse during his appearance on the "You Are Here" show (screen shot from YouTube).

Since his acquittal on charges related to the deaths of two men and the wounding of another at a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Kyle Rittenhouse has become something of a celebrity. Among many conservatives, Rittenhouse is seen as an icon for gun rights, self-defense, and taking a stand against riots and looting. As such, he has been highly sought after for interviews and media appearances. 

However, to many others, Rittenhouse is a villain—a man who crossed state lines with an assault rifle and murdered two men. To them, Rittenhouse should be spending his time behind bars for his crimes, rather than on the sets of studios to be interviewed. 

Still, there are others who see Rittenhouse as neither hero nor villain, but rather something far more ordinary: a child. Now 18, Rittenhouse was 17 at the time of the incident in Kenosha. In the interviews and appearances following his trial, his young age has often been a topic of conversation, and his remarks often reflect the level of maturity one could expect from a recently graduated high school student, leaving many squeamish about casting him as purely a hero or villain. 

Recently, research professor of English and Christianity and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Karen Swallow Prior took to Twitter to express this sentiment. 

“I won’t share the video, but the young man whose parents were so negligent that he was able to leave home with a large weapon, travel to another city and kill people, was asked in an interview what he wants in a woman,” Prior said. “His vulgar, objectifying answer is being celebrated—as he is.”

“Technically, he’s not a child any more. Yet, I can’t help but be reminded of millstones around necks,” Prior continued.

Prior’s comments were made in reference to Rittenhouse and an appearance he made on the “You Are Here” podcast hosted by Elijah Schaffer and Sydney Watson. The show’s episode was streamed live to YouTube on December 6. In the conversation that spanned two hours, topics ranged from Rittenhouse’s trial to his faith, memes, and irreverent humor. 

Throughout the conversation, the group, which also included BlazeTV’s Sara Gonzales, returned more than once to the topic of Rittenhouse’s romantic life. 

“The chicks are all over you. I know that,” Schaffer said to Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse replied, “They are? Well, send me their numbers.” The group then joked about Rittenhouse’s potential romantic exploits, with the show’s producer saying that everyone knows that Rittenhouse isn’t “shooting blanks.”

In response, Rittenhouse recounted that he saw a TikTok video of a young woman who said she was waiting for “all the single patriotic moms to take Kyle’s virginity.”

“I’m like, too late,” Rittenhouse said. When asked what kind of girls he liked, Rittenhouse discussed ethnicities and body types but did not venture to discuss anything outside of physical attributes. This clip, which has been circulating on Twitter, is likely the subject of Prior’s remarks.

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Dale Chamberlain (M.Div) is the Content Manager for ChurchLeaders.com. He is also a blogger and podcaster who is passionate about helping people tackle ancient truths in everyday settings. He lives in Southern California with his wife Tamara and their two sons.