Ed. Note: Johnny Zokovitch, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA, signed onto this statement.
In the face of mob violence and political insurrection, we as followers of Jesus are called to be peacemakers. He didn’t instruct us to merely be peace lovers who call for unity and healing, but rather to act; and do the things that make for peace. Faith leaders know, as Pope Paul VI said, “If you want peace, work for justice.”
President Donald Trump incited a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. His supporters invaded and desecrated the Capitol building, threatening the lives of all Capitol Hill personnel and members of Congress, and five people have now died. With Trump flags and Christian symbols, along with the Confederate flag, the violent mob forcefully attempted to stop the process of confirming the Electoral College vote. At Trump’s urging, this ceremonial event became the occasion for a violent attempted coup that turned the eyes of the world toward Washington. Thankfully due to the resilience and fortitude of many bi-partisan representatives, Congress was able to complete the presidential certification and this attempted coup failed.
Trump led his followers to seditious violence against our democratic institutions based on his continual lies about the outcome of the presidential election. And the underlying lie of all of Trump’s lies is that of white supremacy, which Trump has embraced since the beginning of his presidency.
Over the past four years, Trump has radicalized many of his followers, calling them to violence often fueled by white nationalism. The President of the United States has poisoned the minds and hearts of his supporters with his lies–painfully too many of them white Christians. Now, Trump’s supporters’ objection to the rule of law and an opposition to an increasingly multiracial democracy has placed our nation in moral peril. With America’s demons on display, we must clearly see our original sin of racism and how it has been perpetuated and enabled by too many white Americans, white Christians, and white elected officials, including the current President of the United States…