By Bobby Ross Jr. | Religion Unplugged
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“Is it possible to be astonished and, at the same time, not surprised?”
A colleague recalled that quote — by fictional President Josiah Bartlet on a 2005 episode of the Emmy Award-winning political drama “The West Wing” — as a real-life mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
A Capitol Police officer this morning became the fifth person to die as a result of the insurrection.
How does religion figure in the tragic last stand of the nation’s conspiracy theorist-in-chief?
Let us count the ways, as highlighted by Religion Unplugged correspondents:
• As thousands of protesters gathered outside the Capitol building claiming election fraud, some carried a wooden cross, Hamil R. Harris notes.
• Others in the crowd carried flags and banners with Christian symbols and messages such as “Jesus Saves.” Kimberly Winston explains the history behind the array of flags.
• Christian leaders — some of whom have backed President Donald Trump because of his anti-abortion stance — condemned the pro-Trump mob and called for peace, Jillian Cheney reports.
In other noteworthy coverage, Religion News Service’s Jack Jenkins explores the “two forms of faith on display” amid the chaos. The Atlantic’s Emma Green weighs in on “Storming the Capitol for God and Trump.”And Houston Chronicle religion writer Robert Downen interviews Southern Baptist leader Albert Mohler, who says he’s “genuinely shocked and horrified” by what happened Wednesday but stands by his Trump vote.
This column appears in the online magazine Religion Unplugged.