During the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police officer Daniel Hodges was overcome by a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump. Video taken at the scene shows him being crushed against a door while a rioter pried off his gas mask. Blood began pouring from Hodges’ mouth, and he cried out in pain.
Last week, Hodges testified before the congressional committee investigating the insurrection. He was clear about one thing: Many of the people who took part were hoisting the symbols of white Christian nationalism.
“It was clear the terrorists perceived themselves to be Christians,” Hodges remarked. “I saw the Christian flag directly to my front. Another read, ‘Jesus is my savior, Trump is my president.’ Another: ‘Jesus is king.’” Hodges said he saw one man wearing a T-shirt reading, “God, Guns, and Trump.”
In the days after the insurrection, several news outlets noted the heavy presence of Christian nationalists among the mob. As Religion News Service (RNS) reported recently, “Images from Jan. 6 back up Hodges’ recollection, showing pervasive examples of Christian nationalist sentiment. A flag that waved above the first crowd to attack and overrun police officers was adorned with a fish painted in the colors of the American flag, positioned beneath the words ‘Proud American Christian.’”
During the attack, a man named Jacob Chansley, who is known as the “QAnon shaman,” joined a mob invading the Senate chamber; once inside, Chansley shouted a prayer from the balcony expressing thanks to God for “allowing us to get rid of the communists, the globalists and the traitors within our government.”
The majority of American Christians deplore the events of Jan. 6, and countless religious leaders have condemned the assault, But, as has been noted on this blog previously, the sympathies of Christian nationalist organizations clearly lie with the men and women Hodges didn’t hesitate to label “terrorists.”
After attempting, unsuccessfully, to blame the insurrection on Antifa and Black Lives Matter, Christian nationalists have shifted their argument and are now insisting that the attack wasn’t terribly serious and are demanding that some insurrectionists who remain in jail pending trial – because judges have determined that they’re a danger to the community – be released.
This is where we are: On Jan. 6, 2021, an out-of-control mob of insurrectionists, fueled by lies spoon-fed to them by Trump, stormed the U.S. Capitol, overran barriers, assaulted more than 140 police officers and vandalized our nation’s most visible symbol of democracy to the tune of at least $30 million.
Christian nationalists could have denounced this. They could have sided with simple decency and the rule of law. Instead, they’ve deployed a fusillade of lies as they stand shoulder to shoulder with domestic terrorists.
That tells all you need to know about the clear threat Christian nationalism presents to our democracy, our values and even our very existence as a nation.
Photo: D.C. police offer Daniel Hodges. Screenshot from C-SPAN.