What a week it’s been! With everything that my family and I have been through over the last few months I had decided to take some time to just be home with them without trying to squeeze in writing time or anything like that. I had also been avoiding the news as much as I reasonably could, but was pretty shocked on Wednesday when a co-worker came to me and asked if I’d heard about what was going on in Washington DC. Of course, I’m referring to the storming of the Capitol by a crowd of Pro-Trump protestors. I wanted to share my thoughts on it when it happened, but thought it wise to give it a few days for more details to come out, and to process my own perspectives before sharing them publicly. As a reminder, my goal here is not to cast my own personal views for the sake of them alone; the goal is to consider the events that transpired and to evaluate them in light of who we are as Christians so that we might encourage and/or convict the hearts of others to do the same.
With that said, I’ve been gathering bits and pieces of what happened from the establishment media, but also through photos, videos, and interviews released by independent journalists from across the country and here’s what I feel is important for us all to consider.
1. Violence is Never Tolerable in Protests
There is a time for war, and a time for peace; a time to build, and a time to tear down. The wisdom of Proverbs is true for us now, as it has been true for all of its readers throughout history. The question is, is it time for war or for peace? Is it time to build, or time to tear down? There are factions of the political and social right and left who are calling for war and conflict, while other factions on those same sides of the spectrum calling for peace and reconciliation. But as Christians, what should our respnse be. I would encourage each of us to consider what Jesus told Peter when his arrestors came to get him the night of his trials before his crucifixion.
“And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by it.'”Matthew 27:51-52 (ESV)
Now in that passage, Jesus was willingly being taken to fulfill the promise that God made back in the Garden (Genesis 3:15) but the application remains for us today. What we saw Wednesday was a crowd of people who were angry, who were scared, and who had responded in an emotionally charged act of violence toward the avatars of a culture that they feel have deeply wronged them. We’ll talk more about this later.
Now if you are getting your news from the mainstream outlets (CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Huffington Post, Slate, Salon, etc) – which for the record you really shouldn’t – then you’re going to be met with the narrative that this is potentially the worst thing to ever happen to America. There were comparisons made by politicians and news actors to both the attacks on Pearl Harbor (2,403 dead, 1,246 wounded) and 9/11 (2,977 dead, unknown wounded) which to say is hyperbolic doesn’t go far enough. Did it have the potential to be as bad as those? Sure in terms of the fallout. When you see the photo of the guy in tactical gear walking through one of the congressional chambers with zip-tie handcuffs (presumably to take hostages or “arrest” members of congress) or the video of people chanting “Hang Pence, hang Pence!” you get the idea that these weren’t all harmless protestors who walked in, took selfies, then left; and clearly some of the people had something very dark in mind.
When it comes to the storming of the Capitol itself, I can understand why they did it. With that said, it doesn’t make it okay any more than it was okay for leftist protestors to riot all summer breaking windows, burning down businesses, assaulting police and bystanders, and terrorizing neighborhoods. If we condemned those actions (and rightly so), then we MUST be consistent in condemning what happened at the Capitol. The 1st Amendment does not allow for “a diversity of tactics”, but rather enshrines the “right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
2. We Need to be Understanding and Listen to their Voices
Just by writing that point I feel like I am at risk of having this post flagged or being targeted for cancellation, because the new norm is to conform to the whims of the woke movement. However, that is not how healthy conversation and conflict resolution work. When the George Floyd protests started last spring I made a point to listen to what the protestors had to say.
They were angry at what happened, and so were myself and millions of other people across America and around the world. Regardless what was or was not in his system, his treatment at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department (i.e. the knee on the neck) was completely unacceptable and should not be tolerated by any of us. They said they felt unjustly targeted by police and disproportionately effected by laws that criminalize non-violent drug offenses and wanted things to change. Not one of those points are unreasonable, and even if you disagree on particulars (like the drug thing) it’s still a conversation we should be having to see what kind of solutions can be found together. Of course once the organizational elements got involved things went downhill very quickly and they hijacked the movement (which is what always happens) leading to the summer of rage and the expectation that we allow the woke left movement to do whatever they want while holding a double standard to the rest of the country.
From the interviews I’ve heard through podcasts and other independent media sources, as well as my own interactions with conservatives, republicans, and Trump supporters, they’re upset about a lot of things and they’ve been patient up until now.
- They feel like they are trying to be good people and do the right things to make a living and be left alone but are faced with a media and culture that insists on taking more and more of the societal norms which inevitably puts these people outside of the Overton Window (or the realm of acceptable political thought and discourse).
- They’re tired of being portrayed as stupid, backward, and lesser-than people
- They’re tired of being called the worst names in the book just because their worldview differs from what is being pushed from the power structures of society.
- They’re tired of electing politicians to represent them, who end up in bed with the establishment politicians within a few years and who get rich off of “public service” while they eek out a meager living with their manual labor and blue collar jobs.
- They felt like they finally had a voice in Donald Trump, and while some of the more cult-of-personality types stick by him even today, many of them feel betrayed by Trump’s response after what happened (i.e. throwing his supporters under the bus to save his own skin).
- And now they’re angry at the purge of “right wing” users that is happening on social media and other outlets.
I’m not justifying the storming of the Capitol, quite the opposite. I think it was stupid and will ultimately cause the rest of us a lot more headaches and loss of liberty along the way. What I am saying is that I understand why they felt compelled to do it, just like I understand why people came out to protest last spring and summer. The problem is that people in media/politics, or on social media are not showing a willingness to stop and listen to their grievances and to try to make the situation better.
- AOC called for Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley to resign because they objected to the certification vote, blaming them for the deaths that occured.
- Cori Bush is submitting a bill to expel republicans from Congress claiming they incited violence.
- Joe Biden himself compared Ted Cruz (again) and Josh Hawley to Hitler’s propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
- According to the Pentagon Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called them asking for them to disobey lawful orders from the President which they said amounted to a military coup request.
- Twitter and Facebook have been purging their platforms of people who they said are promoting violent rhetoric despite doing nothing of the sort all of last year.
- Apple and Google removed conservative-preferred platform Parler from their app stores, and now Amazon is banning it from hosting their site on their AWS servers.
These are all just some of the bigger things I’ve seen. Of course there is the usual doxing of people who went to Washington in order to destroy their lives which is never okay. All of this is throwing gasoline (petrol for my friends around the world) on the fire and is making everything worse rather than de-escalating the situation.
As believers, this is an opportunity for us to come out as mediators and peacemakers in our communities both online and off. Don’t engage in the tribalist rhetoric. Rise above it and keep your eyes on Jesus. I believe that we are coming into a season where we will need to lean on Him more than ever before.
3. Do NOT Use Jesus or Christian Symbols for Your Politics
One of the videos I saw that upset me the most about the storming of the capital, is that a group of the protestors proceeded to erect a giant cross on the steps (I think it was on the steps, but that could be wrong) with MAGA hats and Trump 2020 flags flying behind it. Now, when people look back at or discuss the events of that afternoon there is an image of people who are being referred to as insurrectionists, revolutionaries, white nationalists, and fascists raising a cross in front of the Captiol building. It’s not that far of a reach to write the headlines about Christian white nationalists staging an insurrection against the seat of American democracy. In truth, the video was from a year earlier (January 6, 2020), but it had been circulated as if it was from the massive protest this week, which goes to show that you never know when something you say or do might be taken out of context later on.
To be fair, it’s not just that image that I find upsetting. It’s the woke “christians” who are more tolerant than God, who water down His Word, and encourage their followers to remain in their sin instead of repenting and submitting themselves to His authority. Yet there is this tendency that many of us have to wear our faith on our sleeve. That’s not a bad thing but when we do so, it is incumbent upon us to set an example that is above reproach. For example, I made a choice years ago to get a tattoo on my arm with the reference to Galatians 2:20. It’s an important verse to me and a great conversation starter for a lot of people. While most people don’t know the verse off hand, many of them recognize that is a Bible verse and they know that I’m serious about my faith. Therefore, it is my responsibility to present myself in a way that exemplifies Christ and provides a good witness to others. Do I always do a good job at that? No. In fact over the couple of years it’s been difficult. I’ve struggled with being angry over circumstances outside of my control and with desiring to do the right thing all of the time, but that’s my sin that I have to contend with and repent from.
If you’re going to haul a giant cross out to the National Mall for a pro-Trump rally, you need to recognize that the optics are doubly against you. Don’t raise it on the Capitol grounds, raise it in one of the quads or near one of the monuments and spend your time praying and invite others to talk and pray with you.
Maybe you were there in DC on Wednesday, or like me maybe you were going about your business when you found out about it. Regardless of what you were up to when the Capitol was stormed, we’re all going to have to deal with the fallout. I pray that we would each handle whatever comes with grace, and that 2021 would be a year of revival within the Remnant Church.
I personally am troubled at what I saw Wednesday, and what I have seen since, but I also recognize that there isn’t much I can do but share my thoughts with you wonderful people. Let this year be one where we all draw closer to Jesus and practice walking in complete obedience to Him. Let us all be mindful of the world we live in and how we can best share our faith and mediate with those around us.