Frasat Ahmad, USA
Opinion is a section in The Review of Religions where authors express their opinions on a range of issues. Views in the opinion section are personal to authors and do not necessarily represent the views of The Review of Religions.
The US Capitol was sieged. Taken in violence by angry protesters.
As President-elect Joe Biden stated, ‘This is not protest. It is insurrection.’
Was this intrusion into our citadel of liberty, the most significant breach of the Capitol in more than 200 years, instigated by foreign elements?
No. Our democracy’s sanctity was violated by its very own citizens, born and bred in the good ol’ US of A. These US citizens, members of the party of ‘Law and Order,’ placed the lives of our law enforcement officers and elected representatives in immense danger. Joe Biden called it a ‘God-awful display.’ And it was.
The images are clear. The videos undeniable. Most of the rioters were white Trump supporters, proudly waving Confederate flags, Jesus 2020 flags, and Christ is King flags. Some were even carrying around gigantic crosses. Evangelists and Catholics are amongst Donald Trump’s strongest supporters. It’s not too difficult to assume that many of the Capitol insurgents identify as devoted Christians.
We must use yesterday’s ‘God-awful display’ of lawlessness as a moment of reckoning. Perhaps the people who claim to represent God the most in this country, i.e. Donald Trump and his far-right following, are the ones who are most godless and devoid of Jesus’ teachings.
Trump has called himself ‘the chosen one.’ He has proclaimed that ‘God is on our side.’ He has said that the Bible is his favorite book, that ‘Nothing beats the Bible!’ His son, Eric, declared that his father ‘literally saved Christianity.‘ And Christians are eating it up.
Franklin Graham – president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association – has said, ‘President Trump has been defending Christians. I find [it] refreshing to have a president who’s not afraid to say Jesus…He defends the Christian faith more than any president in my lifetime,’ he said.
Father James Altman, pastor of St. James the Less Catholic Church, said, ‘You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat. Period. The party platform absolutely is against everything the Catholic Church teaches…Repent of your support of that party and its platform or face the fires of hell.’
Trump’s base may claim that Trump represents Jesus, yet they forget or perhaps ignore the fact that Jesus would never condone of his actions or of the attack on the Capitol. Jesus said, ‘Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.’ (Hebrews 12:14)
Again, Jesus declared, ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.’ (John 14:27)
Wednesday’s siege must serve as a wake-up call for all good-natured and God-fearing Christians. The far-right is not your friend, and it certainly is not a friend of Jesus.
Although your Christian counterparts claim to represent Jesus, they have replaced the peace that Jesus embodied with godless acts of sedition.
Of course, this does not mean that all Christians are violent war-mongers who have lost the way of Jesus. Nor does it negate the fact that there are millions of peace-loving Christians (and Trump Supporters) who were utterly horrified at the Capitol riots.
Yet, that small but highly visible minority of Christians who did attack the Capitol have hijacked the pristine peace that Jesus embodied and that many Christians practice today.
So, my God-fearing Christian friends, you find yourselves at a crossroads. Do you continue to conflate your religious beliefs with a corrupt political governing system? Do you continue to support a broken party, thinking that the life of your religion is dependent upon men like Donald Trump?
Or do you realize that as Jesus did not need a government to propagate his faith, you don’t either?
Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s