Christian Chronicle

Flags, faith and fury

Christian nationalism on display in U.S. Capitol riot.

By Bobby Ross Jr. and Hamil R. Harris | The Christian Chronicle

WASHINGTON — “Jesus Saves.” 

“For the Glory of God.” 

“God, Guns and Trump.”

As thousands rallied to support President Donald Trump’s unproven claim of a stolen election — a protest that turned deadly as an insurrectionist mob stormed the U.S. Capitol — many waved signs linking the Republican political leader to their Christian faith.

February 2020 front page

“Trump 2020” and “Make America Great Again” flags flew alongside banners with Christian symbols. Some of the mostly White demonstrators — both in the nation’s capital and at other pro-Trump events across the U.S. — carried large wooden crosses. 

“I wanted to be here because I feel like the Democrats are slapping our Creator in the face: God Almighty,” said Diane McMichael, an evangelical Christian from California.

Related: What is Christian nationalism?

“We are certainly founded on ‘one nation under God,’” said her husband, Bob. “Our roots were there, and we’ve turned our backs on it. … I pray that through this, the light will shine through the darkness.”

“Also,” his wife added, “my Lord wants me here to fight for the unborn.”

Plenty of disturbing scenes characterized the Jan. 6 chaos, from gunfire and gas masks in the citadel of U.S. democracy to rioters chanting “Hang Pence” after Vice President Mike Pence refused to stop Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s Electoral College win. That’s not to mention the Confederate flags, the antisemitic T-shirts and the nods to QAnon conspiracy theories.

But to many faith leaders, the Christian nationalism on display amid the mob violence that resulted in five deaths was most alarming — and appalling.

“We have too many people in the church who aspire to be Christian Republicans, Christian Democrats, Christian something else. Their alliances and their allegiances are not first and foremost to Christ. People are compromised in their faith,” said Melvin Otey, a minister and law professor at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Ala.

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This story appears in the February edition of The Christian Chronicle.

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