On Jan. 6, a horde of Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and QAnon cultists stormed the Capitol. But not just these. Many in the crowd were white Christian nationalists, carrying Christian flags, praying with Proud Boys, and carrying signs proclaiming “Jesus is my Savior, Trump is my President.”
Early analysis suggests that most of the crowd were white middle-aged, middle class people: business owners, accountants, realtors. These are regular church-goers, leaders of small group Bible studies, Sunday school stalwarts who do not have clear ties to the far right. They sought to align the cause of Christ with one political party and its leader, erasing the line between Church and state. They fought for a man of questionable moral integrity with scant Bible knowledge who, by his own admission, has never asked God for forgiveness.
During the recent Williams and Money lectures on campus, Jemar Tisby suggested that white Christian nationalism is contrary to the will of God. We agree. Conflating the two is a grave error and contrary to the Gospel message. The Kingdom transcends national and racial boundaries.
Let’s be clear: there aren’t two equal sides here. Sacking the Capitol, chanting about hanging the Vice President, and hunting down members of Congress, among other acts of violence isn’t the same as this past summer’s protests against police killings and ongoing racial injustice. The former aimed to nullify the will of over 81 million voters and perhaps start a new Civil War. The latter aimed to build a more perfect union, where Black and Brown citizens can walk as freely in their communities as whites, enjoying equal protection under the law.
We hope that many eyes have been opened, and that many white Christians, from Presbyterians, to Catholics, to southern Baptists, to members of the Churches of Christ will reject this form of nation-worship. If you are a person of faith, do you want to be aligned with Christians who stormed the Capitol and the party that fed those folks lies about the election?
You have an alternative for politics and for faith. People are ready to receive you, where your devotion to Christ and a more perfect union is welcomed: the Christian Left.
The Christian Left has a long history in the U.S., including among Evangelicals. You might be surprised to know that in the past, Evangelicals were some of the most prominent social justice warriors in our country.
Some may think, “I don’t agree with storming the Capitol, but I vote GOP because Christians are pro-life, and Republicans are the pro-life party.” It is true that some Christians, namely Catholics, have held this position. Most Protestants, however, didn’t. Southern Baptists affirmed a woman’s right to choose for years after the Roe v. Wade decision. It wasn’t abortion that aligned evangelicals and the GOP: it was racial integration of public schools. Christians are not inherently pro-life, Democrats are not inherently pro-choice, and abortion cannot be the only issue we vote on. If you are concerned about racial justice, abhor the violence of Jan. 6, and desire to help bring the beloved community into being here and in the next life, then the Christian Left has a place for you.
At the national level, a range of allied Christian Left groups are at work today. These include the Institute for Christian Socialism, Christians Against Christian Nationalism, the Poor People’s Campaign, and the venerable Sojourners.
On campus, we invite you to join the ACU Democrats. Our group is inclusive: members disagree on many issues. What unites us is our concern for the health and vitality of our democracy, and the safety and security of all our country’s residents, particularly the poor, the marginalized and the immigrant. You know, the kind of people Jesus spent time with.
ACU Democrats Leadership team writes this in response to “Meeting all forms of violence with condemnation,” a column by editor-in-chief Owen Simpson.
ACU Democrats is an on-campus organization affiliated with Texas Democrats and Taylor County Democrats aiming to foster political community on campus by encouraging students to vote, hosting registration drives, informing voters and hosting engaging speakers on campus. Their leadership team consists of Dr. Dan Morrison, faculty sponsor; McKenzie McPherson, president; Trevon Hardy, vice president; Elizabeth Holland, political director; Andrea Ezquerra, secretary; and Shaden Lopez, communications director and treasurer.