capitol insurrection christianity prayer congress donald trump
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capitol insurrection christianity prayer congress donald trump
Jake Angeli (aka the “QAnon Shaman”) attends a protest event in October. As part of the Jan. 6 insurrection mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol, Angeli led a prayer on the floor of Congress after representatives had fled. (TheUnseen011101, Flickr, Public Domain)

Insurrectionists who invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, bent on mayhem and murder, seemed to have been supremely deluded in multiple ways.

First, they believed the Nov. 3 election that elected Joe Biden to succeed Donald Trump as U.S. president was fraudulent (as Trump endlessly told them). It wasn’t. Not by a country mile. Facts don’t lie.

Second, they believed they were there to hold congressional representatives and Vice President Mike Pence accountable for formally certifying the election results that every state, more than 60 failed legal complaints by Trump and even a suit refusal by the U.S. Supreme Court determined were valid. They were valid. In fact, the Constitution required them to certify.

And, third, these hare-brained insurgents believed — as a commentor on one of my blog posts this week vehemently insisted — that Christianity had little to do with the whole shebang. Despite the thickly sprinkled Christian signs and flags held aloft by insurgents during the Capitol attack, and the loud God and Jesus exhortations attesting otherwise.

YouTube video

And despite the reality that President Trump has been aggressively playing nice and pussyfooting with evangelical, white supremacist, violence-prone Christian extremists since even long before he walked down that elevator at Trump Tower in 2015 to begin his unlikely candidacy for president. So, guess who showed up to invade the Capitol?

Not atheists, for instance.

Need more evidence of the God-iness of this crowd? When the invaders finally breached the doors of Congress and disrespectfully swarmed about in that august arena of American Democracy, among them was the now-ubiquitous, tattooed, furry-horned-hat guy with a six-foot spear, the so-called “QAnon Shaman.” Curiously — his real name is Jake Angeli, and he’s from Arizona — this cartoonish guy also appears to be a fundamentalist Christian.

As his fellow criminals walked about the floor of Congress, opening private desks, thumbing through papers and shouting revolutionary epithets, Angeli, who reportedly was kicked out of the U.S. Navy for refusing an anthrax vaccination, gathered around his pious co-conspirators and said this (watch embedded video) while standing next to House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi ceremonial high chair:

“Let’s all say a prayer in this sacred space thank you, Heavenly Father, for gracing us with this opportunity. Thank god. Amen for this opportunity to stand up for our god-given, unalienable rights.”

Of course, it would be news to Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and a host of other American Founding Fathers that the seat of the experimental government they crafted would be sacred in any religious sense. In fact, they would likely be appalled if they experienced this crime today, if not apoplectic. What made American democracy, as they created it, special, was it’s secular nature. In fact, the words of the Constitution’s First Amendment specified that religion should be kept strictly separate from the federal government, because the Founders were extremely apprehensive that religion, if left unrestrained, would try to take over the government (as it had all over Europe in the Middle Ages).

So, what Mr. Angeli did on the floor of Congress on Jan. 6 was not an honoring paean to American democracy but a befouling blasphemy — a false excuse for sedition. His civil disobedience was exactly the kind of un-democratic insult the Founders disdained, and feared.

To give you a sense of how alien religion poured into Congress on Jan. 6, envision Angeli’s fellow insurgents lining up adjacent to him, heads bowed, as the QAnon Shaman added this:

“Thank you, Heavenly Father, for getting the inspiration needed to these police officers to allow us in this building to allow us to exercise our rights, to allow us to send a message to all the tyrants, the communists and the globalists that this is our nation not theirs … We will not allow American way of the United states of America to go down. [boldface mine]

“Thank you to buy an audition on the present Creator God for filling this chamber with your white light of love with your right line of harmony.

“Thank you for filling this chamber with patriots that love you and then love Christ.

“Thank you, Divine, our mission omnipotent, and I’m in the present, Creator God, for blessing each and every one of us here and now.

“Thank you, Divine Creator God, for surrounding … us with the divine on the present white light of love, protection, peace and harmony.

“Thank you for allowing the United States of America to be reborn. Thank you for allowing us to get rid of the communists the globalists and the traitors within our government.

“We love you and we thank you. In Christ’s holy name we pray.

The irony is that they only “tyrant” in government residence on the day of the attack was Donald Trump, the wannabe Vladimir Putin. And supposed U.S. government “communists” the insurrectionists demonized and sought “get rid of” are actually just progressives — people who are following Jesus’ words far more than the insurrectionists are to feed the hungry, quench the thirsty, clothe the naked and nurse the sick. Read the New Testament. It clearly shows Jesus as a small-c communist, without the Marxist economic dogma and brutal Lenin- and Stalin-esque authoritarianism. As you recall Jesus told a rich man the path to everlasting life was to give all his wealth away and follow him. How Republican is that?

When did supposedly true Christians begin to forget that important ideal as they venomously spew ad nauseum against “socialism” and “communism,” political ideas that evolved because humanitarians saw the need to relieve vast human suffering caused by ethnic and economic inequality.

If people are going to invade our government — although they shouldn’t — I wish they at least knew what they were invading for.

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Rick Snedeker is a retired American journalist/editor who now writes in various media and pens nonfiction books. He has received nine past top South Dakota state awards for newspaper column, editorial,...

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