Charlie Kirk blames Maui wildfires on “pagan Hawaiian culture”

Kirk: “This is left-wing ideologues that allowed the island to burn. That there is blood on the hands of the water worshippers. ... Could it be that Maui did not have to burn if they did not believe such wacky, goofy, pagan stuff?”

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Citation From the August 17, 2023, edition of Salem Media Group's The Charlie Kirk Show, as broadcast on Real America's Voice

CHARLIE KIRK (HOST): This is Kaleo Manuel, the Hawaiian water official who refused to release water resources and let landowners fight the Maui fire. This is his philosophy about water. 

Before I play this, I’ve come under, let’s just say, a fair amount of attack from Media Matters, and even some Christian pastors, because I say that liberals are earth worshippers. They're pagans. Oh, you can’t say that, they don’t worship the earth, no, no, they believe in magical elements. That they worship the sun, the moon, the sky, the water. Don’t believe me? Play cut 80.

KIRK: So they didn’t turn the water on, things burned, this is the guy who told landowners they couldn't use water to fight the fires while the fires were still small. Is it because he believed that water was sacred and we must worship the water? Or is it because of equity, was it because there were certain peoples’ homes burning that he wanted them to burn? 

They believe, in pagan Hawaiian culture, we must worship water, not life. Wokeism is just a return of an old god. The Bible was written as a refutation, it was obsessed with challenging this idea – specifically of Egypt. This is no different. You believe — they believed the Nile was holy. And they believe water is so holy that you can't use it to fight a fire? That’s what he’s implying here, well that same guy did not allow the release of the water. This is the one thing that is coming clear in Maui. And the media couldn’t care less, because I think they’re afraid of what they’ll find. That this is not climate change, not global warming, not carbon emissions. This is left-wing ideologues that allowed the island to burn. That there is blood on the hands of the water worshippers. Christianity broke us free of pagan slavery. So did the Hebrew Bible, by the way. Challenged this idea of worshiping the earth, that God is not in nature, that God created nature. Could it be that Maui did not have to burn if they didn’t believe such wacky, goofy, pagan stuff?

Manuel's actions have been scrutinized in the wake of the devastating fires; he has reportedly been reassigned ahead of an investigation. Other outlets have managed to engage on the matter without resorting to bigoted tropes. As noted elsewhere, these “conflicts are rooted in the diversion of water by large plantations, which starved downstream users.” Hawaii Gov. Josh Green added:

“One thing that people need to understand especially those from far away is that there’s been a great deal of water conflict on Maui for many years,” Green said. “It’s important that we’re honest about this. People have been fighting against the release of water to fight fires. I’ll leave that to you to explore.”

“We have a difficult time on Maui and other rural areas getting enough water for houses, for our people, for any response,” Green added. “But it’s important we start being honest. There are currently people still fighting in our state giving us water access to fight and prepare for fires even as more storms arise.”

Green said the state is in the midst of a “comprehensive review” by Attorney General Anne Lopez of decisions made before and during the firefighting efforts.

“There will be multiple reviews at every level,” he said.