A protester carries a wooden cross at the Capitol building
Many faith leaders expressed disgust and outrage at the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

On Wednesday, January 6th, the world watched as a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the recent presidental election. The shocking incident resulted in the deaths of five people – including a Capitol police officer.

Amidst all of the political flags and signs, there was another sight to behold – scores of religious symbols, particularly Christian crosses, and signs with messages like “JESUS SAVES” or “JESUS 2020”.

Now faith leaders are speaking out in condemnation of those who would co-opt faith to justify storming the seat of American government. 

Swift Condemnation

Rick Warren, an evangelical Christian, senior pastor at Saddleback Church, and a New York Times bestselling author, had one of the strongest condemnations for the events of January 6th, which he characterized as “terrorism”.

And he wasn’t the only Christian leader to condemn the mob. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said in a statement that “Enough is enough… It will take decades to rebuild from the wreckage in this country. But, as Christians, we can start now—just by not being afraid to say what is objectively the truth. Joe Biden has been elected president.”

Other also joined in the chorus.

Presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church Rev. Michael Curry called it “a coup attempt”. Pat Robertson, host of The 700 Club, said a “madness” came upon President Trump.

Across the board, the reponse from Christian leadership has been to denounce the violence. But what about on the ground, as the riot was happening? 

A Faith-Fueled Insurrection?

Many people who witnessed the Capitol riot noticed a strong undercurrent of religious self-righteousness apparent in the crowd. Some participants clearly felt that God had called them to be there, as evidenced by the signs and chants they brought along. 

And it wasn't just laypersons who felt this way. In a Facebook post published just hours before people stormed into Congress, evangelical leader Franklin Graham called the results of the election into question and predicted that "God's judgment is coming."

In the aftermath of the rally-gone-wrong, others opined that religious belief was a stong motivator. 

“I think that [the protestors] believe that God has a specific plan for this country, and that their vision for the country has been given to them by God,” said Andrew Whitehead, professor of sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

And according to The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, “the conflation of Trump and Jesus was a common theme at the rally,” citing numerous rallying cries heard at the rallies that seemed to equate President Trump with Jesus Christ, as well as anecdotal interviews, including with one man who said that “Donald Trump is in the Bible.”

Opportunity for Reflection

From their statements, it's plain that many faith leaders were horrified by the events they saw playing out. But a question remains: what now? 

Before the dust had settled, evangelist Beth Moore sparked a new debate, this one about the behavior of believers – and indeed the very nature of faith itself.

What are your thoughts?

35 comments

  1. Lori Mongillo's Avatar Lori Mongillo

    Religious superiority has been simmering beneath the surface of the "peace and love" of Christianity since its beginnings. Trump supporters, especially the ones who see righteousness in his administration, have been fed lies and hatred most of their lives by family and preachers, and Trump knows how to tap into that hatred. Those who feed the illusions are part of the problem. These people cannot, and will not, learn to think it through. Rising above religious superiority, which was never what Jesus was teaching, is a difficult psychological achievement. Most cannot do it or see the truth. All they can see is their own frustrations, anger and wants. Hatred and division has been the quest of our president. If you don't see things his way, you are worthless. This is a mentally ill person.

  1. Dave J's Avatar Dave J

    Any person who thinks that god has told them to commit insurrection is deluded. If they follow up on that and commit insurrection they should be arrested, tried, convicted and sent to prison.

    1. T Kosse`'s Avatar T Kosse`

      Personally I would have them all hung, drawn and quartered, They hide behind the cross and say they are good righteous Christians. They hide behind the American flag and say they are true Americans and Loyal Patriots but they are none of these things, They don't really give a damn about god or this country they are just white supremacist thugs traitor and insurrectionist. As for all you who voted for and supported Trump and the very people in the Capitol Building who are his sycophants enablers You all are just as guilty as well, You all turn a bind eye and deaf ear to everything that Trump and sycophants enablers said and done all whole time he and they are in office Not only did you all vote for him and his sycophants enablers you openly cheer them on for Four years!!!! So don't say I didn't think he was really that bad or I had no idea he would do something like this. Because that is all total BS!!!! You knew, you all just didn't give a DAMN!!!!

  1. Minister Mike's Avatar Minister Mike

    After two combat tours in Vietnam I thought I'd seen all I'd ever see that could bring tears to my eyes. Boy, was I wrong. Watching Americans storm the American Capitol hurts like nothing else every has.

    Not blaming anyone, not pointing fingers. Just so sad that I have trouble getting out of bed, anymore. I wonder what I could have done differently that might have helped in some small way to prevent this.

    1. Rev Hannah Grace's Avatar Rev Hannah Grace

      Minister Mike, I am also sad, and anxious about what is to come with more protests scheduled. But I try to hold onto hope during this time, hope that justice will prevail, the rioters will be arrested and charged, and those who are under the cult spell of Trump will wake up once he is no longer in office. I also pray to everyone's gods that Trump will never be allowed to run for any office again. Even in the story of Pandora's box, when she unleashed all the troubles of the world, at the bottom of the box was hope. Stay hopeful.

      1. Dave J's Avatar Dave J

        It seems like they will all say they were under the imperious curse after Voldemort leaves office. Oh wait, that's fiction.

        Or is it.

        I really think that some of what we are hearing now is "I didn't think it was that bad." Really, after all the evidence?

        "But he's a good christian." Really, and in what form of actual christianity is it ok to lie, cheat, steal, and "Grab 'em by the P**sy."?

      2. Dave J's Avatar Dave J

        Comment removed by author.

    2. Catherine Colvin's Avatar Catherine Colvin

      Same.

  1. Paul J. Fumero's Avatar Paul J. Fumero

    Political Evangelisms is the same as the GOP using religion and Jesus name for their political ambitions. Didn't he throw the money changers out of the Temple?

  1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

    I SAY ALL THE ABOVE IS CORRECTLY SAID, EXCEPT RELIGION and STATE MUST BE SEPERATED ALWAYS !

  1. Minister Carlos Ricardo Walls's Avatar Minister Carlos Ricardo Walls

    I cannot condone this horrible behavior.What happened in the nations capitol was absolutely appalling.Insanity has come full circle globally.What has happened to the greatess country country in the industrialized world?

  1. china mayhew's Avatar china mayhew

    really, too little too late.the fact that so much of the christian community backed 45 from day one is appalling. this, oopsy attitude they now have is almost comical when viewed next to their hypocrytical direct and tacit support of this president from the moment he announced his decision to run. they have aided and abetted this insurrection from the beginning by praising and enabling a godless toxic narcissist to the point even he is convinced he is the chosen one. now some wish to step back and wash their hands of their responsibility while others continue to double and triple down, still insisting they are privy to the ineffable plan of their creator. they are still willing to support behavior that belongs to the one who chose to reign in hell rather than serve in heaven and that truly makes one wonder do they actually comprehend what they've read in that bible they like to thump

  1. Woodrow's Avatar Woodrow

    Judge not lest you be judged. The Father warned us of the consequences. Pay attention Faith people.

    Matthew 7 Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you(in other words, DOUBLED). Why do you stare from without at the very small particle that is in your brother’s eye but do not become aware of and consider the beam of timber that is in your own eye? BYITNOJ

    1. Rev Hannah Grace's Avatar Rev Hannah Grace

      And you think Jesus didn't judge the Scribes and Pharisees when he called them vipers and condemned them for their actions? There is a difference between being judgmental of people and passing judgement on their actions. Why do we have judges and courts? Because people do bad things and need to be judged, and convicted and imprisioned too. I don't think that passage means what you think it means.

      1. Lori Mongillo's Avatar Lori Mongillo

        I know it it doesn't. Thank you Rev HG. Right on.

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      That sounds like it could be related to the law of karma, and many of us Wiccans believe that whatever we do, be it bad or good, comes back to us threefold, but I haven't ever heard of it being twofold.

  1. Giovanni T.Coleman's Avatar Giovanni T.Coleman

    The attack on the Capital is a disgrace to this country. Violence invokes violence and doesn't solve anything. People from other countries came here because we don't tolerate destructive mob behavior. God is love and peace for all. A divided country is a weak country. Very dangerous people, we must pray that this comes to a peaceful end.

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    So where was all of this bo-haha when Swalwell was screwing around with a Chinese spy in his office and allowing her to have access to his work computer? Where was all this bo-haha when pelosi tried to enact a political coup (sedition/treason/and unconstitutional according to the DOJ) when she tried to get the Military to take away the nuclear football? Where was all this bo-haha when maxine waters instructed her followers (and yes there is video tape of this) to harass and chase out any Trump supporter or administration member, of any business or eatery they are seen in and to do it by any means available (doning this to a government official is a federal felony according to the Federal Workers Protection Act).

    I find it very amusing how one sided these click bait claims from the Monastery are lately.

    1. Ilmenheru Terikson's Avatar Ilmenheru Terikson

      Typical whataboutism from a far right whacko who openly supports groups like the proud boys while not grasping there is no group called ANTIFA.

      FYI I am the ANTIFA grandmaster of the universe. I know all I see all, I am right there behind you breathing on your neck right now! MUAHAHHWHWHAHAHAHAHH!

      1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        Whats wrong Turkey? Mad because I proved that you and people who think like you are worse then what happened at the Capitol?

        And Where did I ever say I supported the proud Boys, that came from you and its an utter lie.

        And sorry child but Antifa IS REAL according to the FBI https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/516911-fbi-director-wray-calls-antifa-a-real-thing

        You really should know what you are babbling about before flapping your gums.

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    This is like the 1960s all over again. Remember all of the violence? And how the government and police over reacted killing innocent students? Just like in the 1960s when the government is so corrupt dishonest to the citizens they represent the only solution was protesting and violence.

  1. Robert J Giammarco's Avatar Robert J Giammarco

    I'm floored by reading these post shows me how close minded we are. That MOST, if not all see it only ONE way. The RAT'S way. You all must listen and tune into CNN, ABC, CBS,etc., because IMHO you are delusional. Those that stormed the Capital had infultrated the group, and PAID for by Soros. They WERE BLM and ANTIFA members. This is EXACTLY what they do. You are all going to tell me that these rioters were SMART enough to take doucuments and LAPTOPS? Hell NO. That was CLEARLY a MILITARY operation. I'm totally suprised that you so called MILLITARY guys don't see this? You must have missed that class while in training. Clearly, radical insurgents Do NOT take time to gather intel. They are only out to DESTROY stuff. As they have been doing for many months in many of our fine cities and States.You all need to wake up. TRUMP has been the ONLY President to keep his promises. Stating that he is hateful is untrue. You all are afraid to KNOW or see the TRUTH. WAKE up. Can't you all see what is also happening around the globe? I guess not. Like many of the RAT'S, you all need to get you heads out of your asses. Because From what I read here, most of you are unwilling to see the TRUTH. GOD help us ALL. And GOD BLESS AMERICA. Because if this fine Country goes to the RAT'S and their socialist ways, say GOODBYE to FREEDOM! You Military guys should understand that the most. You fought for our FREEDOM, now you'tre just giving up, and Think that by having TRUMP leave, all will be OK? Think again my friend's. This is just the start of COMMUNISM coing here to our shores. What has Twitter, Facebook, Google doing to our FREE SPEACH. You ALL need to RE-THINK your thoughts. GOD be with us.

    1. Dave J's Avatar Dave J

      Breaking News: The Japanese Government has new evidence it was actually Antifa who attacked Pearl Harbor.

      That's about as accurate as your comment.

      1. Robert J Giammarco's Avatar Robert J Giammarco

        Your assessment makes no sense . You no not what you say. Have a nice day.

        1. Robert J Giammarco's Avatar Robert J Giammarco

          Think man. The TIME line of the acts does NOT adhear to what happened. It was all staged. The FBI, Capital police as well as the Sgt at arms of BOTH house KNEW of the forthcoming attacks. YET, the RATS did NOTHING o prevent suck acts caused by BLM and Antifa.

          1. Ilmenheru Terikson's Avatar Ilmenheru Terikson

            Honestly RJG your rants are not really worth responding to at this point, but what the hell I am sipping a morning cuppa and waking p so why not.

            You are talking like a crazy person, and that is putting it mildly. You are even in how you write somehow manage to convey a tone that makes me think you likely suffering from severe mental health issues. Paranoia and delusions of conspiracy and persecution of yourself or those around you for starters.

            Oh and Jesus was a communist, just saying.

            1. Robert J Giammarco's Avatar Robert J Giammarco

              It's unfortunate to hear about your mental condition, your paranoia and delusion. You, like most have no concept of what is really happining in America. Go enjoy your cuppa. Just make sure you don't burn yourself. Have a nice day!

              1. Ilmenheru Terikson's Avatar Ilmenheru Terikson

                I am unsure what your response's point was, as it seems you have little better then childish flippancy to respond to genuine concern for your mental well being. The fact you continue to espouse classic mental illness such as suggesting you are somehow aware of some grand far sweep conspiracy only those like you are bale to discern is enough on its own to label you mentally ill. You do fathom that right?

                The things you fear are not real, the things you think are not true, the things you feel are invalid.

              2. Robert J Giammarco's Avatar Robert J Giammarco

                Wise up sir. I believe YOU are the one with mental issues. You espouse words that make NO sense. Just look at what is going on. Say all you want. YOU have NO idea of what is occurring in AMERICA. YOU, as others see only one issue, listen to the fake news, and BELIEVE EVRYTHING THEY SAY. Look beyound that. YOU need to wake up. YOU are the ONE who keeps it going. I'll fight to the end to defend myself, just like you, and others. YOU believe what you feel. We are intitled to our opinions, YOU have yours, and I, like many others have mine, GOD be with us all. ONLY a CHILD, such as yourself keeps whinning. Have an enjoyable weekend.

    2. Rev Hannah Grace's Avatar Rev Hannah Grace

      I'll pray for you in your cult mindset. It is very sad that you repeat conspiracy theories with no basis in fact. Have you ever tried using Snopes? It might be a first step on the road back to truth. The insurrectionists were ALL Trump supporters (you seem to like using CAPS a lot). And they were incited to riot by him, and so he was impeached today for that. Please, please wake up.

    3. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Giammarco, va culo!!!

      1. T Kosse`'s Avatar T Kosse`

        No te refieres a Carl Bernard Elfstrom, Giammarco, realmente eres un culo.

      2. T Kosse`'s Avatar T Kosse`

        Carl Bernard Elfstrom, Lo que realmente quieres decir es: Giammarco, realmente eres un culo

      3. Robert J Giammarco's Avatar Robert J Giammarco

        Same to you today!

  1. Catherine Colvin's Avatar Catherine Colvin

    I agree with Woodrow, though I don't feel faith or religion has much to do with current events. Religion is a tool in a political party's toolbox. It is up to the individual to choose not to be a tool. Isn't our best reflected in how we raise up ourselves and support each other in chaos and crises? Not how we can bring each other down?

    For decades, republicans and democrats partnered to achieve mostly short term results. Example: the recent COVID relief money, and future relief money, spent on Amazon or in big box stores mostly goes to China or its investors, many of whom are Americans. Laws that allowed that to occur came from lawmakers in both parties.

    An aside, I have nothing against people in China. I think the majority of people in the world are decent. Isn’t it the uber aggressive who make the rest of us wonder “what just happened?” over and over?

    Perhaps these past few centuries, there has been a natural evolutionary process that brought us here? America's founding fathers could not possibly have imagined the monopolizing conglomerates that developed.

    All that said, when political parties no longer function as a check and balance against one becoming more dominant than another, we are eyeball deep in horse biscuits. Our baby country consumed by money grubbing wolves.

    I also think the fact that the primary parties are eating their own warrants attention. And if either party cared a tiddly wink about Jesus’ teachings, good faith, or integrity, none of this would be happening. I cannot find evidence that any current politician exemplifies the teachings of Jesus. So, I reiterate faith has little to do with current events. And I think Jesus, Father Sky or Sky Father, Allah, Buddha, Confucius, Yahweh and the rest, none of them would be part of this.

  1. Mark Hannon's Avatar Mark Hannon

    In the middle 1980's I liked to spend an early evening listening to talk radio. There were two financial advisors and one doctor that had hour long programs and answered callers questions. Then in the early 1990's they began to air a new talk show with Rush Limbaugh as the host. I thought he definitely crossed the line when talking about liberal politicians. At about the same time I would stop at a local Burger King to have a snack and read the paper before work. There was a man who met a woman there that I would say hello to. The man had signs on his business truck saying that he loved his country but feared his government. There has been nearly no compromising since then. The Moral Majority or Pat Robertson and the way the Tea Party interrupted ACA townhalls all made me feel that the country was heading toward this incivility.

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