THAT TIME THE DEVIL MADE ALABAMA GOVERNOR ROBERT BENTLEY HAVE SEX
Ex-Governor Robert Bentley has a lot of problems, but Satan really isn’t one of them. Even if that’s news to him.
If you don’t know (and boy do I envy you…), Robert Bentley became governor over in Alabama in 2011. As if that wasn’t misfortune enough for one lifetime, the state caught him covering up an affair last year, because of course.
(Fun fact: The woman Bentley kept fucking attended his Sunday school classes when she was a kid. Wait here, I need to go run a bath and scrub all my skin off…)
Bentley ran on a Jesus platform, so his resignation this month is a big letdown for the evangelical bloc. But in the New York Times, a Robert Bentley booster with the Baptist State Convention had an explanation ready:
“I believe it was the devil,” he said, “and the devil knew he was bagging big game.”
On behalf of the devil, Reverend Killian, we’re flattered you’re thinking of us. But your buddy Bob really ought to take all the cred on this. He certainly worked hard for it.
This is the oldest trick in the book, of course: “The devil made me do it.”
This isn’t even the strangest recent example. Last year, one of those Duggar family weirdos (I don’t know which one. I never know which one) said of his family’s own sex scandal, “The devil took his best shot.”
That’s a really creepy thing to say about the fact that his brother molested their sisters. Even considering that ANYTHING you say about that situation would be really creepy.
Reverend Killian’s post-truth post-op of Robert Bentley’s fall from gratis reminded me of another recent story, which is really just as baffling in its own way.
You’ll remember that ostensible vice president/time-traveling Mad Men supporting character Mike Pence is so frightened of a sex scandal that he won’t even socialize with a woman.
“Mike Pence told the Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her,” the Washington Post said in March.
Which, yes, is weird. How fast do you think Pence imagines he’ll be in Robert Bentley’s shoes (sheets?) if he dares have a bumper of punch with a female vessel at a square dance social?
But blogger Karis Rogerson says this makes perfect sense if you come from Pence’s superstitious background:
“Talking to boys [is] considered ‘flirting,’ and flirting is the devil’s tool,” she writes in Bustle.
Frank Graham, whose father Billy Graham invented this bizarre set of rules, chimed in saying: “Satan is perpetually trying to destroy homes and marriages. We have to be alert and on guard.”
For the record, the fastest way to destroy a home is dynamite, not infidelity.
Pence would probably say he’s just respecting his wife. But lots of people respect their spouse without obsessively entombing themselves away from the tempting flesh of the opposite sex.
So there must be an extra factor at work here. Presumably, mainstream American religion’s co-mingled fears of sex, Satan, and women in general.
That anxiety goes back a long way. When Massachusetts charged “American Jezebel” Anne Hutchinson with heresy in 1637, one of the most dire accusations was that she orchestrated “a promiscuous and filthy coming together of men and women without relation of marriage.”
Hutchinson’s parties were actually Bible study meetings.
So some people will insist on reading Robert Bentley’s story as a warning that the devil is still after them with women and sex today.
But as Satan’s unpaid intern, I’d suggest a different takeaway: Stop fretting about your politicians’ sex lives, prayer schedules, and devilish temptations, and start scrutinizing their policies.
And, if possible, their latent misogynist delusions.