By Cam Lawrence
Art by Hallie Anderson
As a Christian, I was highly disturbed by the use of biblical references at the pro-Trump rally called the Jericho March on Jan. 6. Trump supporters used Bible verses out of context in order to justify and excuse their violent actions.
First and foremost, it is crucial for me to preface this article by acknowledging my own bias from personal experience. I have my own individual interpretations of the Bible and its verses. By using context from the stories and my opinion on what the verses mean, I aim to show my view of the pro-Trump rally and how I believe the Trump supporters misused biblical references and created a disturbing image of Christianity.
Jake Angiel, a rioter in the march, displayed a sign that said “Hold the line, Patriots. God wins,” suggesting that the protesters-turned-rioters’ actions were the will of God.
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Romans about how and why Jesus is salvation for humans, along with advice for how to act as a Christian. Romans 13:1-2 reads, “Let every person be subject to governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement.”
From my perspective, Romans 13:1-2 condemns riots and open disobedience to government authority.
Furthermore, Isaiah 1:17 demonstrates God’s support of peaceful protest against social and political injustice. It reads, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
Rather than demonstrating against injustice as I believe Isaiah 1:17 would support, the Jan. 6 rioters were disputing just and fair policy and thereby disobeying God’s law set in Romans. I perceive this to be against what the Bible tells Christians to do.
This was not the only example of rioters’ inaccurate representation of Christianity to further their complaints. Many flags during the attack read “JESUS 2020,” directly disregarding one of what I believe to be the core values of Christianity: condemnation of idolatry. Using God’s name in connection to a politician or to politics generally goes against one of the Ten Commandments, Deuteronomy 5:3, which states “You shall have no other gods before me.”
In the Bible, I believe Jesus supported the separation of church and state, most notably in Mark 12:17 when he responds to his disciples on the ethicality of paying taxes, “Render to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and to God the things which are God’s.” On Jan. 6, rioters, in my opinion, dishonored this central Christian principle by using Biblical language and references in their protest.
As if these phrases were not enough, the name “Jericho March” itself is disrespectful. In the Bible, Jericho was a city full of false gods and wickedness (Deu. 9:3-5); God called upon the Israelites led by Joshua to march around and take the city. The truth, however, is that Jericho was actually uninhabited at the time of the attack, unlike the Capitol building at the time of the Jan. 6 attack. Rioters put both themselves and our nation’s leaders in danger as they stormed the building.
These protesters spread falsehoods of my faith, creating a negative stereotype surrounding my religion and values. As both a Christian and an American citizen, I find it critical to correct these misconceptions and stand firm in my own perceived truth: Jesus would condemn the idolatry of these rioters’ support for former President Trump. Jesus would condemn the storming of the Capitol. Most importantly, Jesus would condemn the use of Christianity to advance a political agenda.
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