It’s not uncommon for hyperbolic religiously-inclined commentators to refer to people they mightily disagree with as the Devil. We might view it to be the ultimate display of desperation – you have no real defense that will stick against this person, so let’s call them bad names. In the case of Alex Jones, promoting the idea that Hillary Clinton and President Obama himself smell like sulfur (Because they are demons from Hell, duh!) seems to represent an appeal to people who fear nothing more than they fear the Devil. Fear-mongering has been a key feature in the Trump campaign. He enhances Trumped-up fears about immigrants, terrorists, crime and lawlessness, and a dark future for America if Clinton wins the election instead of him. So, why not throw fear of the devil in there too?
Jones said on his radio show on 10 October that Clinton was an “abject, psychopathic demon from Hell”. Media Matters has the show transcript:
Now, I promised never to write about Jones again but this story is about more than his latest unhinged ranting.
The slander goes back to at least June 2016 when Franklin Graham, son of Evangelical preacher Billy Graham, claimed Hillary was “possessed by a demonic spirit” because, get this, she likes to wear red (a demonic color), she is not subservient, and considers herself equal to a man. JEZEBEL! It doesn’t take much to be evil in these guys’ eyes. [UH OH! I stepped in it – Business Standard News is a satire site. I invoke Poe’s Law here. I’ve seen how Graham whips up a crowd with his Biblical absurdities so this really didn’t seem far-fetched. Just goes to show – fiction becomes reality. – Editor]
At the time, Russian websites also picked up the demonic Hillary idea and ran with it. A YouTube video showing HRC playing up for the camera in a light-hearted moment was described as an “epileptic seizure” related to her demonic spirit. Maybe it was a joke but I am reminded daily of one of our taglines: “People really believe this stuff“. [So you can see that satire does get traction, making it look as if it’s acceptable news. – Editor]
Perhaps the Graham remarks was where Jones got his inspiration for this latest zinger. He was no doubt also playing up Trump’s reference to Clinton as the devil in last Sunday’s debate when, referring to Bernie Sanders support of Clinton, said “I was surprised to see him sign up with the Devil.” And of course, there was that pesky fly, clearly an agent of Beelzebub. But it also was flying around Trump.
Several evangelicals obsessed with the coming of the antichrist and other End Times ideas have promoted evil/demonic rhetoric for ages. It’s just recently that it can be delivered to millions of people around the world instantly and be promoted by pathological pundits like Jones. In this current campaign, where nothing is too low to dredge up, it’s a contest to see how crazy a headline you can concoct. Unfortunately, Jones’ Infowars is gleeful that the story garnered a comment from the President about it. At at campaign stop on Tuesday in Greensboro, North Carolina, President Obama joked about the claim from “a guy on the radio” and then smelled the back of his own hand to see if he does smell like sulfur.
Ain’t that something? Obama also emphasized that people really believe this stuff, then continued by making the point that it’s not going to work out well if you have leaders that promote such statements; people get so angry and so divided that nothing gets done. That’s been the mode of operation adopted by Congress for the last several years.
Doubtful News has far too many stories about dangerous exorcisms as a result of sincere belief in supernatural entities. While the idea of our President and the leading candidate being actual demons is ludicrous to typical readers of this site, it’s not so far fetched to half of the population. A 2005 Gallup poll showed a remarkable 42% of Americans stated they believe that demon possession is real, only 44% answered “Don’t believe”. 61% believe in the literal Satan. This is not something to joke about, this is a mainstream idea! However, it’s important to note that belief in this case is highly context-dependent. Gallup isn’t going to do a survey that asks specifically if people think Clinton or Obama are demon-possessed, but if they did, the percentage would not be that high (or respondents might play along for giggles). It’s likely many understand that this assertion is a ploy to affect those with overwhelmingly religious values and discourage votes for Democrats.
The use of this rhetoric toward Clinton especially by Graham is transparently misogynistic. Evangelicals, and Trump, do not value women’s equality nor do they respect a women’s place in leadership. They have an aversion to intelligent powerful women. Small men resort to name-calling and vicious put-downs because they are insecure and narrow-minded. The world population will not benefit from leaders who want us to go backwards, to a time where you can avoid dealing with issues by attributing them to demonic forces.
Special thanks to Strange Frequencies Radio and Jeff Wagg for the assists on this.