A recent report by the US National Radio (NPR) touched on the phenomenon of media disregard for the role of extremist Christian militias that participated in the storming of the Capitol (Congress compound) during the joint session of the House and Senate to ratify the results of the presidential elections on the sixth of last January.
After the storming incident, statements came out from many church leaders condemning what happened, and trying to distance themselves from the “mob” who stormed Congress, and their statements stressed that the intruders had radically misunderstood the true message of American Christianity.
For her part, Kerry Wallace, an expert on religious affairs – in an article for TIME magazine – saw that the belief in the supremacy of the white race had infiltrated over the years to the churches, especially the southern states.
And she considered that the congressional storming “came as a completely logical conclusion to white American Christianity. The Church has for decades justified the enslavement of Africans and indigenous people, and justified centuries of white brutal colonialism around the world, and land usurpation was justified and the denial of freedom for millions of people who were not Christians.” .
The religious affairs expert believes that the racist Ku Klux Klan (KKK) movement, which believes in the supremacy of the white race, is rooted in the church in the states of the North and South.
Returning to the National Radio report, it indicated that some Christian clerics justified the necessity to resist the election results and the necessity to change them because they say they weaken the faith in general, and change the conservative values of society through the new administration adopting progressive social policies that contradict some religious teachings, especially with regard to the form of Traditional Family, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Abortion Issue.
The radio stated in the report that some churches and priests have contributed to fueling anger, which paved the way for the storming of Congress, and the outbreak of violence and riots that resulted in the deaths of 5 people.
Christianity in the Electoral Landscape
The religious scene has emerged clearly in the presidential elections since the end of the 1970s. Since President Ronald Reagan came to power in 1980, white Protestant Christians have tended to vote for the Republican candidate, while the votes of non-white Christian minorities from black Africans and Hispanic Hispanics and the non-religious voices mostly go to the Democratic candidate.
The arrival of Donald Trump to power four years ago wrote a new birth certificate for the far-right conservative movements, some of which encapsulate themselves in a strictly Christian religious framework.
These currents are striving and trying to reconfigure the movement of community development as if they were unending attacks on the American version of Christianity, specifically the Protestant doctrine.
An Associated Press poll showed that 81% of white Evangelical Protestant voters went for Trump in the 2020 election, compared to 18% who voted for Joe Biden.
Hostile to Biden’s agenda
During Al Jazeera Net’s coverage of the pro-Trump demonstration on January 6, which led to the storming of Congress, it was evident that many of the participants carried paintings and slogans of a Christian religious nature.
The National Radio report indicated that “the speech of many evangelical leaders was a catalyst for a number of those who invaded the Capitol.”
In a radio interview aired on December 9th, Eric Metaxas, a right-wing Christian writer, said that he does not care about the difficulty of canceling Biden’s election. A drop of blood, because it is worth it. “
Three days later, Metaxas attended among Trump supporters on their second march during December in the heart of Washington, DC, where he and others prayed to God to keep Trump in office.
Reverend Robert Weaver, one of the organizers of the demonstration, also referred to the gathered crowd, saying that God had “manifested” to him in his sleep after Biden was announced winning the election, and told him, “It’s not over yet.”
Professor Andrew Whitehead of Indiana University believes that “the idea that God is directly interested in the American elections is an expression of a militant Christian nationalist ideology.”
Hardcore Christian Violence
Whitehead describes some of the participants in the pro-Trump demonstrations as “believing in the idea that God has a plan for this nation, that he wants a certain outcome in the elections, and (has) given these ideas additional power to efforts to support Trump’s attempts to reverse his assured defeat in the elections.”
He asserts that the previous view “can be seen as justifying the resort to violence. There are many Americans who see a merging and congruence between their religious and national identities.”
One of the exciting clips – in a video broadcast by The New Yorker magazine of the events that took place inside the Capitol during the storming operation – was that Jacob Chansley, one of the leaders of the stormers, asked his followers of the rioters to stop for a few minutes and join him in praying to God.
“Thank you for allowing the United States to be revived. We love and thank you, and in the holy name of Christ, we pray,” said Chansley, standing on the stage dedicated to Vice President Mike Pence.
Developments in the weeks following the elections, and even the storming of the Capitol, indicate that right-wing Christian protest, which sometimes springs from Christian militancy, can lead to political extremism and violence.
I spoke to Al-Jazeera Net, historian Christine de Maes, who specializes in the relationship of American Christian currents with political affairs, and is currently studying at Kavin University, one of the most important Christian universities. She said that there is a traditional utilitarian relationship between the religious and Trump, as he has appointed conservative judges in various courts, especially the Supreme Court, He defended their religious freedom and promoted their interests, and in return they offered him their electoral support. “
Professor Whitehead returns, confirming that the protests – which were led by Christian hardliners in the wake of Trump’s election loss – show that Christian ideas can be dangerous when they question “the idea of sharing power with an opponent they see far from their church.” And the professor adds, “What is worried that these ideas will not be.” Soon disappear. “